SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Most Californians are downright gloomy about the state's economy and very few voters think the job market will improve this year, according to a Field Poll released Friday.
The survey found that 72 percent of California voters think the state is still experiencing bad times. While the percentage of people who say times are tough has dropped from 88 percent last year, it's the sixth consecutive year where pessimism runs high.
Six in 10 voters described the state's unemployment situation as very serious and another 34 percent say it's somewhat serious. Just 4 percent told the poll that the state's 9.8 percent jobless rate is not serious.
The survey is being released just as federal spending cuts begin to take effect Friday. Workers also saw a 2 percent increase on their Social Security payroll tax because Congress allowed that tax holiday to expire as part of the "fiscal cliff" deal at the end of last year.
Looking ahead, only one out of three say the job market will improve this year and a majority of voters don't expect to see any changes in their personal finances.
In fact, 44 percent say they are worse off now than they were last year, compared to 33 percent who say they are better off.
Field interviewed 834 registered voters by telephone from Feb. 5-17. The poll has a sampling margin error rate up to plus or minus 5 percentage points.