In worrying sign for Dems, strong majority of California voters say taxes still too high

Nearly 40 percent say they’re financially worse off than a year ago.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom
(San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images)

A sizable majority of California voters say their state and federal tax burdens are too high, polling that sends a troubling signal to Democratic politicians scrambling to shore up votes during a midterm election year that could change control of Congress and state governments across the country. 

Polling by the Los Angeles Times and the University of California, Berkeley shows that “nearly two-thirds of California voters say the state and federal income taxes they pay are too high,” a number that has increased by 10 percentage points relative to a similar poll conducted a decade ago. 

About four in 10 voters in the poll also claimed that their financial situations are worse off now than they were a year ago.

To be sure, high taxes and affordability have long been concerns for Californians, who have largely put the blame on the leaders of their Democrat-run state. 

The broad discontent with taxes and finances comes as Democrats prepare for what may be a brutal midterm election in California, a state in which Democrats have enjoyed assumed electoral victories for decades. 

Democratic President Joe Biden’s cratering voter-approval numbers, combined with a backlash to heavy-handed COVID policies, have created fertile grounds for Democratic losses across the country in the November elections. 

Midterms have historically thrown control of either the House or the Senate or both to the party opposite of that in the White House. 

The last president to see wins for his party in both chambers during midterms was George W. Bush in 2002; the last Democrat to see such a victory was Jimmy Carter in 1978.