The poll found that 74 percent of Californians believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 19 percent who said it's doing okay, according to the Associated Press.
The state budget mess is what has most people down. California faces a $20 billion shortfall through June 2011.
While nearly everyone agrees the state budget deficit is a problem, Californians are divided over an approach to solve it - just like Republicans and Democrats in the state Legislature.
Among the adults surveyed, 41 percent favor a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, while 37 percent favor mostly spending cuts.
Likely voters who were surveyed are evenly split: 40 percent said they favor mostly spending cuts, while 41 percent favor a mix of cuts and tax hikes.
Just 11 percent of likely voters favor mostly tax increases, while 2 percent say it's OK to borrow money and run a deficit.
Californians agree their top spending priority is K-12 schools and said they are willing to pay more to stabilize public education.
Two in three adults say they would be willing to pay higher taxes to maintain current levels of school funding.
The poll found more negative views toward prisons and corrections spending, with 87 percent saying they would not pay higher taxes for those purposes.
The poll was based on a telephone survey of 2,001 Californians interviewed in English or Spanish from Jan. 12-19. It had a sampling error rate of plus or minus 2 percent for all adults and plus or minus 3 percent for likely voters.