Independent, objective, nonpartisan research
Fact Sheet · August 2022

California’s Likely Voters

Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Rachel Lawler, and Deja Thomas

Supported with funding from the James Irvine Foundation

More than eight in ten eligible Californians are registered to vote—one of the highest registration rates on record for a primary election year.

  • As of May 2022, 21.9 million of California’s 26.9 million eligible adults (82%) were registered to vote.
  • The current registration rate is 6 percentage points higher than it was in May 2018 (76%), six months prior to the last gubernatorial and midterm elections.
  • Voter registration and enthusiasm will play a big role in the election for governor, as well as in California’s competitive races for the US House of Representatives.

 Likely voters lean Democratic and are ideologically mixed.

  • Among likely voters in our surveys over the past year, 47% are Democrats, 26% are Republicans, 22% are independents, and 5% are registered with other parties. Of those we consider infrequent voters, 44% are Democrats, 33% are independents, 19% are Republicans, and 4% are registered with other parties.
  • Ideologically, 39% of likely voters are politically liberal, 31% are moderate, and 31% are conservative. Among infrequent voters, 28% say they are liberal, 42% are moderate, and 30% are conservative.

Independent likely voters and unregistered adults lean Democratic.

  • Among independent likely voters, 52% lean toward the Democratic Party, while 37% lean toward the Republican Party and 11% volunteer that they lean toward neither major party or are unsure.
  • Among independent infrequent voters, 46% lean Democratic, 32% lean Republican, and 22% lean toward neither party or are unsure.
  • Among unregistered adults—including noncitizens—57% lean Democratic, 22% lean Republican, and 21% lean toward neither party or are unsure.

Likely voters are disproportionately white.

  • Whites make up only 40% of California’s adult population but 55% of the state’s likely voters. In contrast, Latinos comprise 35% of the adult population but just 22% of likely voters. Asian Americans make up 16% of adults and 13% of likely voters, while 6% of adults and 5% of likely voters are African American. “Other race” and multiracial adults make up 3% of the adult population and 4% of likely voters.
  • About six in ten unregistered adults, including noncitizens, are Latino (62%); fewer are Asian American (18%), white (15%), or African American (3%).

Likely voters tend to be older, more educated and affluent, homeowners, and US born.

  • Californians age 55 and older make up 34% of the state’s adult population but constitute 47% of likely voters. Young adults (age 18 to 34) make up 32% of the population but only 23% of likely voters, while adults age 35 to 54 account for 34% of the population and 30% of likely voters.
  • Eight in ten likely voters either have some college education (40%) or are college graduates (41%); 19% have no college education.
  • Fifty-one percent of likely voters have annual household incomes of $80,000 or more, while 28% earn between $40,000 and $79,999 and 21% earn $40,000 or less.
  • A strong majority of likely voters are homeowners (67%), while 33% are renters. In contrast, 71% of unregistered adults and 61% of infrequent voters are renters.
  • Eighty-two percent of likely voters were born in the United States.
  • Women (51%) and men (49%) make up similar shares of California’s likely voters.


Political Landscape Population Statewide Survey