PPIC survey: Californians angry, and ready to take it out on politicians this fall at the polls

The Public Policy Institute of California released a study of some new polling data today, and their data indicates that California’s voters are angry and ready to take out that anger when they go to vote this fall.

The good news is that the PPIC study notes that “If trends persist, California should have historic highs in voter registration and turnout in November 2008.”

But here’s the bad news:

California voters are distrustful of government, divided by partisanship, and poised to express their frustration at the ballot box, according to a report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) … The report looks at state voters’ growing political involvement and their simultaneous disaffection with party politics. It also examines sources of voter discontent, painting a picture of a volatile and divided electorate.

The report, The State of California Voters, says that despite their political involvement, voters are unhappy with party politics. It also notes several sources of voter dismay. Among them:

* Direction of the nation: Fewer than one in four voters believe that the nation is headed in the right direction, marking the lowest point since the PPIC survey began asking the question in 2003.
* Performance of elected officials: Over the last five years, President George W. Bush’s approval ratings have fallen steadily from one in two to one in four voters.
* Distrust of government: Only 23 percent of Californians say that they trust the federal government to do what is right always or most of the time.

Voters are deeply concerned about the economy, Iraq, immigration, health care, and the way their state government is run. They have little faith that their government can rise above partisan differences to address these issues. At the same time, voters are as polarized as their representatives over how to handle the economy, immigration, and Iraq.