Two-Thirds of State Residents Concerned About Water Supply, Wildfires: PPIC Poll

At least 69 percent of participants in each geographic region said they've taken steps to reduce their water use to some extent

Dry cracked earth is visible as water levels are low at Nicasio Reservoir on May 28, 2021 in Nicasio, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nearly two-thirds of state residents are concerned about the water supply in their region and the increase of wildfires and drought due to climate change, according to polling data released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

PPIC's 21st annual environmental survey polled 1,569 state residents, including 937 likely voters, earlier this month on environmental issues and concerns.

The survey found that one-quarter of participants said water supply and the state's ongoing drought are their top environmental concerns, followed by 17% saying wildfires, 13% saying climate change and 6 percent saying air pollution.

Water supply was also a concern for a majority of survey participants in each area of the state - the central valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties and the San Francisco Bay Area.

However, just under 60% of those polled in Southern California said their region's water supply was a big problem, while 67% of those in the central valley and 70% of those in the Bay Area said it was a big problem.

"It's also the most important issue for Democrats and independents while Republicans are equally likely to say the drought or wildfires are the biggest issue," said Rachel Lawler, a survey analyst with the PPIC.

At least 69% of participants in each geographic region said they've taken steps to reduce their water use to some extent, with 90% of Bay Area participants saying they've done so.

The survey found that 68% of all adults said the state is already dealing with the effects of climate change, including 82% of Democratic respondents.

Just 44% of Republicans, however, said the same and 20% of Republican respondents believe the state will never feel the effects of climate change, Lawler said.

"I think Republicans in California are different than, maybe, Republicans in other states or nationwide, but as far as that goes, I think a majority across the notion that it is happening, just to some different degrees," she said.

Republican survey participants were also far less likely than Democrats and independents to support three of the state's policies to combat climate change: banning new fracking permits by 2024, banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 and conserving 30% of land and water by 2030.

Only the land and water conservation received majority support from Republican respondents at 51% , while 93% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 76% of all adults said they supported it.

Democrats were the only partisan group with majority support for the gas-powered vehicle ban, which Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last fall. The survey found that 69 % of Democratic respondents supported the policy while 14% of Republicans, 42% of independents and 49% of all adults supported the ban.

A majority of respondents said they supported the ways in which both Newsom and President Joe Biden are handling environmental issues, with 59% approving of Newsom and 61% approving Biden.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
Contact Us