Press Release: 84% of California Democrats favor ‘special autonomous status’ for California


Coyote Codornices Marin (they/them)
Independent California Institute

84% of California Democrats favor ‘special autonomous status’ for California

Carlsbad, CA: A YouGov poll taken in February found that a clear majority of Californians (58%) think they’d be better off if California were an independent country.

If Californians want more independence from the U.S., what should they do to get it? Newly released crosstabs point to one obvious answer: organize within the California Democratic Party.

Not only did nearly three-fourths of California Democrats polled say California would be better off independent, an even higher percent (84%) favored California negotiating a ‘special autonomous status’ within the U.S. The wording of that poll question suggested that Californians might negotiate more autonomy over health care, the environment, and how their own federal tax dollars are spent.

‘Pro-autonomy Californians could organize with Democratic party clubs, form a “Nation-State” Caucus, vote for changes to the party platform, and run for ADEM and country central committee seats,’ said Coyote Marin, Executive Director of the Independent California Institute, the non-profit think tank that commissioned the poll. ‘Organizing around autonomy would allow activists to focus on concrete policy changes without having to field irrelevant questions about the Civil War and so on.’

California has a kind of special autonomous status already: its ability to set its own clean air and climate change standards. But even that little bit of autonomy can be nullified by a hostile presidential administration, if federal courts allow it.

California is also less autonomous than most states in two very important ways: the federal government controls 45% of California’s land and about half of the water Californians use. In a separate poll question, 79% of Democrats (and 68% of Californians overall) said Californians would be better off if nearly all federal land and water infrastructure in California were transferred to state or local government.

Besides Democrats, other groups of Californians with a significantly more favorable view towards various forms of independence include: women, people under age 35, people with postgraduate degrees, Roman Catholics, and people who identify as “born-again”.

The group most hostile toward more independence for California? Californians who voted for Donald Trump in 2020. 

The poll did not find statistically significant differences on the basis of race, family income, home ownership, or marital status.

For more results, analysis, and the full poll methodology, see