New poll finds majority of Californians oppose cash reparations for Black residents

The California Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom will have to decide on the issue of cash reparations for Black Californians. The majority of the state, however, does not want to see them move forward with that recommendation from the Reparations Task Force.

A few months ago the California Reparations Task Force recommended monetary reparations for the state’s Black residents. 

Despite that recommendation, the majority of Californians do not think that people descended from slaves should receive cash payments. 


The big picture: A poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that 59 percent of California voters oppose the recommendation for financial reparations. 

  • Only 28 percent of voters agreed with the task force and would like to see cash payments handed out to those whose ancestors were enslaved. 
  • Voters who were surveyed felt that financial reparations are not needed despite a majority agreeing that the legacy of slavery affects the position of Black Californians today at 60 percent. 
  • When asked if California is doing enough to ensure that its Black residents have a fair chance to succeed, 29 percent felt the state is doing too little, 26 percent felt the state is doing the right amount and 22 percent felt it is doing too much. 

Go deeper: Democrats favor cash reparations by a 43 percent to 42 percent margin. 

  • Only three percent of Republicans are in favor of payments, while 91 percent came in on the opposing side. 
  • Independent voters only supported reparations at a 24 percent clip, compared to 63 percent against. 
  • Black voters were the most supportive demographic at 76 percent. The majority of White, Latino and Asian voters all were opposed. 
  • Younger voters were most likely to support payments. In the 18-29 range, 34 percent are supportive, although 47 percent were opposed. In the 65 and older demographic, 23 percent of voters approved and 69 percent were against. 

What they’re saying: Of the voters who are opposed to cash reparations, 60 percent of them said, “It’s unfair to ask today’s taxpayers to pay for wrongs committed in the past.” 

  • Fifty-three percent of respondents said it is not fair to single out one group for reparations when other racial and religious groups have been wronged in the past. 
  • “The findings reveal the racial and political contradictions of California voters,” said IGS Co-Director Cristina Mora. “While many can empathize with the plight of Black Americans, not all of these feelings will translate into support for policies that address longstanding racial harms. And though this might be an information issue with some groups, the fact that even liberals are divided indicates that campaigns for racial redress will face a steep uphill climb.”
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