Dan Walters

By Dan Walters

10/28/2014 6:44 PM

While Republicans may make some legislative and congressional gains this year and have an outside chance at a statewide office, Democrats will continue their dominance of what has become a solidly blue state.

Blue though they may be, however, California voters are not all that liberal on specific issues, especially in contrast to the Legislature.

Jerry Brown, who is overwhelmingly likely to win a fourth term as governor, knows that, which is why he projects a cautious, quasi-conservative image, a far cry from the Gov. Moonbeam of his earlier gubernatorial incarnation.

Virtually his entire campaign is wrapped up in Propositions 1 and 2, and a message of “saving” – water and money. And during campaign stops this week, Brown took pains to differentiate himself from his more overtly liberal co-partisans in the Legislature.

They may want to extend the temporary taxes that Brown persuaded voters to enact in 2012, but he’s leery, saying, “I said when I campaigned for Prop. 30 that it was a temporary tax, so that’s my belief, and I’m doing everything I can to live within our means.”

And while campaigning for one Democratic Assembly hopeful, Brown quipped, “Don’t worry about having too many Democrats, because if they get out of hand, I’ll keep them in check.”

The fundamental moderation of California voters emerges in a new pre-election poll by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which surveyed not only how they are voting, but their attitudes toward specific issues.

By far, the poll found, voters believe that strengthening the state’s economy, which is emerging slowly from the Great Recession, should be the top priority, followed by improving schools and reducing the state’s long-term debt.

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