Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a very interesting presentation in Sacramento by the Edelman public relations firm on its annual “Trust Barometer” survey.
For the past 18 years, the firm’s research arm has conducted a global survey measuring the public’s trust in key institutions and organizations. You can read the full results here.
Nationally, this year’s Barometer shows that trust in the U.S. dropped 9 points, placing the US in the lower quarter of the 28 global markets surveyed. Faith in government and the media suffered significant drops, which is not surprising in this time of hyper-partisanship and division.
The presentation I attended focused on the findings of its California supplemental survey, which can be found here. Much of the California survey focused on agriculture – and the high trust that Californians have in the farmers and ranchers that grow the food that feed the world. In fact, agriculture is the third most trusted industry in California.
But two other findings in the survey I believe confirm what we have long known – California is marching to the beat of its own drummer during the Trump era.
70 percent of those surveyed feel that California is fundamentally different than the rest of the nation. Astonishingly, 42 percent said that they identified more as Californians than as Americans. No doubt, this rising sentiment is what’s giving rise to the Calexit movement that PRI’s Kerry Jackson has written about in the past.
My other key takeaway from Edelman’s California results mirrors what PRI and other organizations have found – quality of life and high costs of living are making it hard to attract and retain employees and employers alike. Edelman found that nearly half of those surveyed are considering leaving the Golden State – including 58 percent of millennials and 65 percent of parents.
These results should be taken as a warning sign for policymakers in Sacramento and at city halls across the state. Unless action is taken soon to make California a more affordable and opportunity-rich state again, we risk losing the future generations whose creativity and enthusiasm we are relying on for the Golden State’s continued prosperity.
Tim Anaya is communications director for the Pacific Research Institute.