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Field Poll: Little love for counties’ secession plan

Ah, Jefferson – we hardly knew ye.

Only one in four California voters support Siskiyou and Modoc counties’ calls to secede from the state, and join with other California and Oregon counties to form a new, 51st state called Jefferson, the Field Poll finds; 59 percent disapprove.

The idea of designating these counties as a special territory technically still within the existing states also met with a chilly 27 percent approval and 58 percent disapproval.

Opposition to both proposals is bipartisan, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and nonpartisans disapproving. The poll found slightly greater support for the proposals in inland counties and parts of Northern California outside the Bay Area and Central Valley, yet even in these areas, more disapprove than approve.

With secession requiring approval of both houses of the state Legislature as well as Congress, it surely seems the northern folk can kiss this dream goodbye.

Designating the counties as a special territory called “Jefferson Republic” wouldn’t require these legislative approvals, and could be granted if voters in the affected counties opt to do so. Petitions to that effect already are circulating up there.

The Field Poll surveyed 1,002 registered California voters from Nov. 14 through Dec. 5; the overall poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRSenileColumnist

    Another citified slander on the country folk! We don’t need no Hollywood/San Frannie hippie liberals telling us to spare the air and hug a tree!

  • JohnW

    Since nobody takes this stuff seriously, the ramifications of secession have not been explored. Among other things, it would mean yet another tiny ultra-conservative state with the same representation in the Senate as California, Texas, New York etc. Wyoming, with half the population of San Jose, gets two Senators and three votes in the electoral college. Conservatives would make a similar point about granting statehood to D.C.

  • Eric Maundry

    I am for it myself. Anything to help people escape the bizarre goings on in Sacramento.

  • Elwood

    I’ve spent some time up there, vacationing, and I can see their point. We Bay Area denizens have grown accustomed to bugnuts loony craziness locally and in Sacto. They haven’t.