California's Not So Dreamy Anymore

California gleaning, on such a summer's day

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
    For many, the Golden State no longer shines.

    A new Field Poll shows the California dream has faded since the 1970s for many in the Golden State.

    Just 41 percent of registered voters agree the state is "one of the best places to live," a sharp drop from the 76 percent who thought so 30 years ago when Field first asked that question.

    The survey, released Wednesday, found that Republicans were the most likely to have lost that lovin' feeling about their state. Just 30 percent of GOP respondents said California remained a great place to live, compared with 80 percent in 1977.

    The decades after saw dramatic growth in the state's population, from 22.8 million in 1978 to the latest estimate of 38.3 million, a 68 percent increase.

    The Field Poll report compared Californians' attitudes on a range of social and lifestyle issues over the last 30 years. Findings were based on Field Polls taken from 1975 to 1978 and from 2006 to 2009.

    Among the biggest changes in attitude was the increasing support for gay marriage, now favored by 49 percent of Californians and opposed by 44 percent. In 1977, voters were opposed by a 62-to-31 percent ratio.

    Seven in 10 Californians now support abortion rights. While support has grown among Democrats and Republicans, there was a 30-point jump among Democrats in favor of abortion, while GOP support edged up only slightly over three decades, according to a 2006 Field survey.

    On euthanasia, the number of Democrats who favor allowing the practice increased from 60 percent to 80 percent between 1975 and 2006, while slightly smaller majorities of Republicans and nonpartisans reported approving the practice.

    Support for the death penalty remains strong across party lines, with two-thirds backing it, a slight drop from the mid-1970s, when three in four were in favor of it.