New Poll Shows Majority of Californians Oppose Government-Run Public Banks

Press release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Bankers Association (CBA) released the results of a poll conducted by FM3 Research that shows the vast majority of Californians oppose government getting into the business of banking. Currently, there is a measure before the California Legislature, Assembly Bill 857, authored by Assembly Members David Chiu of San Francisco and Miguel Santiago from Los Angeles, which allows for the creation of government-run public banks at the municipal level. Supporters of the legislation and the idea of government-run banks in general, have asserted strong public support for the idea as the basis for moving forward with the concept.

Key findings of the poll, conducted April 20-23, 2019, with 600 Californians likely to cast a ballot in the November 2020 election, include:

  • Sixty percent are opposed to creating government-run public banks; Only thirty percent cited support for the concept
  • Nearly half of those opposed, are strongly opposed
  • When asked their reason for opposing, 70 percent cited concern over government involvement and lack of accountability

In making the case for government-run public banks, proponents have also inaccurately claimed that the private banking sector has failed California. However, the poll shows that nearly 90 percent of Californians are satisfied with their current bank or credit union. In fact, on nearly every dimension, those surveyed expect a private bank to outperform a government-run bank. Specifically:

  • Seventy percent think private banks would do a better job of providing high-quality customer service
  • Sixty-eight percent think private banks would operate more efficiently and cost effectively
  • Sixty-four percent think private banks would do a better job of making management decisions free from political influence
  • Sixty percent think private banks would do a better job maintaining the security of personal and financial data