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California 100, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley Release California Considers Deliberative Poll®

All Issue Areas

Deliberative Poll® engaged a representative sample of 719 Californians over several days to deliberate on the future of the state across 56 diverse policy proposals

First Deliberative Poll conducted by Stanford to focus on the further future 

The California 100 Initiative, in collaboration with the Stanford University Deliberative Democracy Lab and the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy released results today from their new California Considers Deliberative Poll® which engaged a representative sample of 719 Californians virtually over several days in February and March to deliberate 56 diverse policy proposals for the future of California. Key findings show strong support (greater than 60% both pre and post deliberation) for the state to provide universal mental healthcare, institute a strengthened high school civics course, develop a “one-stop-shop” for easier access to government programs, reform for the state’s CEQA law, and increase its support for K-12 education, among others. 

Click here to read the full California Considers Deliberative Poll®

Most polls represent the public’s surface impressions of sound bites and headlines. Deliberative Polling® takes a different approach. After a random sample is provided a baseline poll on critical issues, participants review balanced briefing materials, engage in dialogue in small groups with each other as well as ask questions of competing experts through moderated panels. After deliberations, participants are asked the original questions again to track changes in opinions. In many instances, deliberation moves some participants to adjust their thinking. For example, support for the suggestion that California should encourage more “one stop shops for local business permits…including water, sewer, electricity, parking, land use” soared from 62% to 76% after deliberations, while those in favor of “one-stop shops for easier access by the public to government services dealing with unemployment and poverty” increased from 68.5% to 78% of participants.

Top Supported Proposals (pre-deliberation% → post-deliberation%)

California should strengthen its high school civics requirement to include experiences with participation, discussion, negotiation, and compromise in a democracy.

(68.9% → 80.4%)

California should provide universal, free mental healthcare.

(73.3% →77.0%)

California should require plaintiffs and defendants in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits to identify every person or entity who contributes $1,000 or more to either the plaintiff or the defendant in the lawsuit.

(61.4% →67.2%)

California should develop a “one-stop shop” for easier access by the public to government services dealing with unemployment and poverty. 

(68.5% → 78.0%)

California should require companies to pay users for the use of their data.

(64.7% → 69.6%) 

California should invest in rural areas to ensure that they have adequate funding for infrastructure, such as roads and digital broadband.

(70.8% → 73.7%)

California should ban home sales to foreign purchasers who do not reside in them.

(67.1% → 67.3%) 

The California Considers Deliberative Polling Process

The California Considers Deliberative Poll was conducted by the Stanford Deliberative Democracy Lab (DDL) (housed within the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University), in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and the California 100 Initiative. DDL has been involved in more than 120 Deliberative Polls in 50 countries around the world, but never to probe the public’s considered judgments about the policy challenges of the further future. The deliberations took place on the Stanford Online Deliberation Platform, an AI assisted form of moderation designed in collaboration with the Crowdsourced Democracy Team at Stanford and its director Professor Ashish Goel of Management Science and Engineering. The deliberations took place over four sessions during either the weekend or weekday, in the months of February and March. Participants met in moderated small group discussions on video in groups of 10 for periods of equivalent length. The Deliberative Poll used YouGov America, a national polling firm, to find candidates for the group discussions. Chosen participants were assigned to either the discussion groups or one of two control groups, which were weighted by demographics, income and 2020 Presidential vote. The participants in all groups were diverse and demographically representative of California. 

From the California Considers Deliberative Poll® Researchers:

“The California Considers Deliberative Poll® presented a representative sample of over 700 Californians with policy ideas that could transform our state’s direction in the long-term,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, executive director of California 100. “Rather than simply getting their initial perspectives and taking them at face value, participants read briefing materials, deliberated with each other and experts, then revisited their positions to see if they were swayed after becoming better informed. What we found is that, in many instances, Californians from different backgrounds coalesced around common ideas seen as helping our state become more transparent, efficient, and innovative.”

“There have been 120 Deliberative Polls® around the world. But this is the first to focus on the policy challenges of the further future,” said Professor James Fishkin, Director of the Stanford Deliberative Democracy Lab. “The deliberators weighed many difficult trade-offs and came up with thoughtful judgments about what needs to be done. They clearly envisioned a future for California that is more sustainable, equitable and governable—and they thought about how to get there.”

“California Considers shows that Californians are worried, upset, and unsure about California’s future, but they also felt more hopeful, curious, and energized about the future following deliberations where they got a chance to make concrete proposals to solve California’s problems. There are many novel findings from this exercise that merit deeper exploration, to help California address its looming challenges,” said Henry Brady, Director of Research for California 100. 

“This Deliberative Poll allowed Californians from across the state to listen to each other and learn from each other’s experiences. Participants found that even though they may live in different parts of the state, have different jobs, or different lifestyles, their opinions on many of the policy issues are not so different. And, that they share the same concerns and worries for the state,”said Alice Siu, Associate Director, Stanford Deliberative Democracy Lab.


About California 100

California 100 is a transformative statewide initiative focused on inspiring a vision and strategy for California’s next century that is innovative, sustainable, and equitable. The initiative is incubated at the University of California and Stanford, and is guided by an expert and intergenerational Commission.

The mission of California 100 is to strengthen California’s ability to collectively solve problems and shape our long-term future—through research, policy innovation, advanced technology, and engagement—by identifying,  mobilizing, and supporting champions for innovative and equitable solutions.

About the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy

The Goldman School of Public Policy is a graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley that prepares students for careers in public leadership. As a professional school of public policy grounded in scholarly practice, the Goldman School mobilizes the rich intellectual resources of the UC Berkeley campus to provide a transformational academic and cultural experience that instills standards of excellence and a deep sense of pride in one’s work, learning community, peers, and academic home. It is ranked one of the top three public policy schools in the world according to U.S. News and World Report.

Goldman School faculty represent the top researchers in their respective fields, which include economics, political science, law, social psychology, and engineering. Their expertise ranges from education policy to racial profiling to clean energy. As teachers, they are dedicated to training tomorrow’s policy leaders. As researchers, their work is shaping public policy today.

About Stanford’s Deliberative Democracy Lab

The Deliberative Democracy Lab at Stanford University is housed within the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, part of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. DDL is devoted to research about democracy and public opinion obtained through Deliberative Polling. The method of Deliberative Polling has been used in over 50 countries and jurisdictions around the world through over 120 projects, at varying levels of government and society. To learn more about DDL, visit: