California voters say the judiciary is No. 1. But that’s not a good thing.
Asked where state leaders should cut funding to help reduce the $25 billion budget deficit, 59 percent of registered voters told the Field Poll “the courts and state judiciary,” according to a survey released today.
Courts tied with prisons as the most popular budget targets among poll respondents. They were the only two program areas among 14 where a majority of voters supported cuts. By comparison, large majorities want schools and police shielded from cuts, according to the survey.
The results aren’t a complete surprise. The judicial branch doesn’t always fare well in public polls. A 2006 Public Policy Institute of California survey found that just 2 percent of respondents thought courthouses should be the top priority for infrastructure spending – far below the 48 percent who ranked schools No. 1.
The Alliance of California Judges has a more critical take on the Field Poll’s findings.
“Coming on the heels of the scathing Bureau of State Audits report detailing mismanagement and an abysmal record of failure, this is yet another wake up call we must take seriously,” the group wrote in a press release. “Our judicial leaders must take appropriate action now to restore the confidence of the public in our branch of government".