Beset by high housing costs, crippling taxes, astronomical gas prices, wildfires, and rolling blackouts, Californians are heading for the exits. That’s sparking anxiety in places where these Golden State migrants are relocating. A mayoral candidate in Boise, Idaho, recently suggested building a wall to keep out Californians, who account for 60 percent of domestic migration into the growing state. The election of increasingly progressive candidates in Colorado sparked talk there of the “Californication” of the Centennial State.
Early last year, the Dallas News described the “California-ing” of North Texas, citing a study showing that 8,300 Californians move to the area yearly. Texas governor Greg Abbott launched a petition titled “Don’t California My Texas.”
Much of this anxiety revolves around fears that the migrants will transform the politics and culture of the places that they’re moving to—bringing an appetite for big, intrusive government.
But a new survey suggests that, while plenty of people are looking to leave California, many are fleeing the state’s high costs and politics and may not be interested in voting for the same things in their new homes.
The poll, by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, found that 52 percent of California residents are considering migrating. As these polls go, that’s exceptionally high, putting California in the same category as some other states with very unhappy residents. A recent poll in New Jersey, for instance, found that about 44 percent of its people are looking to depart, while 50 percent of Connecticut residents indicated a desire to leave the state in a 2014 Gallup poll, the highest figure among any state at that time.
Politicians in high-tax states claim that taxes don’t drive people out, but their constituents disagree: in the Berkeley poll, 58 percent of those considering leaving California said that high taxes were one reason—second only to the 71 percent pointing to the state’s astronomical housing costs. Also high on the list of reasons to go was the state’s political culture, which nearly half of those thinking of getting out cited as a consideration. Though the poll didn’t define “political culture,” Gallup ranks California—where the state legislature and elected officials in many of the state’s cities have turned increasingly progressive—as among the most liberal of states.