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Californians Feeling More Optimistic About State's Direction, Poll Finds

New poll gives governor record-high rating, suggesting residents are feeling better about fiscal future

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    Californians are more optimistic now about the state's outlook than at any time since before the recession.

    A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found Californians are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry's Brown's approach to fixing the budget, which included the voter approved tax increase, Proposition 30.

    Results suggest just over half of all adults believe California is moving in the right direction, with 40 percent believing the state is moving in the wrong direction and 9 percent not knowing which direction the state is headed.

    The most optimism was expressed in the San Francisco Bay Area. The least was expressed in the Inland Empire.

    Additionally, 51 percent of all adults approve of the job Brown is doing. That’s up 10 percent from last year at this time, the institute found.

    The optimism comes after about 10 years of deficit spending. In 2009, state tax revenues dropped 14 percent, forcing the state to make temporary tax increases, fee increases and budget cuts. Perhaps for that reason, residents are still wary about future increases and cuts to government services, the institute reported.

    Brown recently proposed a budget that would leave California with a surplus. He announced his vision for the state last week, declaring, “California is back.” Prop. 30 alone will provide $6 billion a year to the state budget for several years, according to state projections.

    "We have promises to keep," Brown said at the State of the State address a week ago. "The most important one is the one we made to the people if Prop 30 passed. This means living within our means and not spending what we don't have."

    Gov. Jerry Brown's Opening Remarks

    [LA] California State of State: Gov. Jerry Brown's Opening Remarks
    Gov. Jerry Brown looked back at what he called a "remarkable" year and outlined his vision for California in 2013. Raw Video from his Jan. 24, 2013 address. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    He urged lawmakers to remain prudent, but to consider approving a funding formula that would help lower-income schools and districts that teach a high volume of English-language learners.

    Brown’s cautious optimism reflected in the institute’s poll as well. Over 60 percent of the respondents said they still think California’s budget is “a big problem” – that has not changed much from a year ago this time.

    In addition to approval ratings, the poll also gauged interest in an assault weapons ban and found 65 percent of all adults would support the ban.

    About the same percentage of those polled said they were either a great deal worried or somewhat worried about a possible mass shooting in their community. About 18 percent are not worried at all.