Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Poll finds majority of Californians support water measure on fall ballot

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According to a new survey, most Californians support an $11 billion water bond measure on the November ballot. 

A year ago, only 44 percent of California adults and 42 percent of likely voters supported the water bond measure. Now the percentages are 60 percent for adults and half of likely voters.

“We see a record high number of Californians saying that they think that water is a big problem in their region,” says Mark Baldasarre with the Public Policy Institute of California, which conducted the poll. “The highest concern is being expressed by Central Valley residents.”

Baldassarre says the majority of Californians in all regions are now very concerned about the water shortage. According to the PPIC survey, the drought is second only to the economy among issues Californians care most about.

But the bond measure could be replaced on the ballot by a less expensive proposal that has even great support from poll respondents. The $8 billion proposed measure was approved by a key Senate committee. Its supporters maintain the more expensive measure is too flawed to pass. 

Most survey respondents also say they’ve been reducing their water usage.

The poll also asked about several other issues:

HIGH-SPEED RAIL: In 2008, voters passed a $10 billion state bond for planning and construction. Today, when read a description of the system and its $68 billion price tag, 53 percent favor it and 42 percent oppose it. Likely voters are less supportive — 45 percent in favor, 50 percent oppose.

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA: As proponents of marijuana legalization consider putting the issue on the ballot again, Californians are divided. Half of adults (49 percent) say marijuana should be legal, and 47 percent say it should be illegal. A slim majority of likely voters (53 percent) favor legalization (44 percent oppose). Last September, a slim majority of adults (52 percent) said for the first time that marijuana should be legal and 60 percent of likely voters said so.

GOVERNOR'S, LEGISLATURE'S JOB APPROVAL: Three months before the primary, 49 percent of adults and 52 percent of likely voters approve of the way Governor Jerry Brown is handling his job. This is somewhat lower than his record-high job approval in January — 58 percent of adults, 60 percent of likely voters. The legislature’s approval rating (36 percent) has also slipped among adults since January (42 percent). Among likely voters, it is similar to January (32 percent today, 33 percent in January).


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