Sharon Bernstein, Reuters, January 23, 2017
The election of Republican businessman Donald Trump as president of the United States has some Californians dreaming–of their own country.
One in every three California residents supports the most populous U.S. state’s peaceful withdrawal from the union, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, many of them Democrats strongly opposed to Trump’s ascension to the country’s highest office.
The 32 percent support rate is sharply higher than the last time the poll asked Californians about secession, in 2014, when one-in-five or 20 percent favored it around the time Scotland held its independence referendum and voted to remain in the United Kingdom.
California also far surpasses the national average favoring secession, which stood at 22 percent, down from 24 percent in 2014.
The poll surveyed 500 Californians among more than 14,000 adults nationwide from Dec. 6 to Jan. 19 and has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of one percentage point nationally and five percentage points in California.
“There’s such hostility towards Trump that many citizens believe it would be smarter to leave than fight,” said Democratic political consultant Steve Maviglio, who last year ran the campaign against a proposed ballot initiative to break California into six states.
With 39 million residents and the sixth-largest economy in the world, California is already a nation-state, Maviglio said. In November’s election, the state broke nearly two-to-one in favor of Trump’s Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s election gave a huge boost to the quixotic campaign to remove California from the United States called Yes California, run by a former conservative turned progressive who now lives in Russia.
Dubbed “Calexit” by pundits comparing the effort to “Brexit” — Britain’s vote to withdraw from the European Union — Yes California’s email list jumped from fewer than 2,500 before the election to 115,069 currently, the group’s president, Louis Marinelli, said in a telephone interview.