Most Californians believe air pollution and extreme heat are serious threats to their health, a recent survey found.
In fact, 64% of voters surveyed by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies pointed to extreme heat as a serious threat to their safety as well as to their family’s health. And 63% listed air pollution.
The poll found Democrats were significantly more likely than Republicans to cite extreme heat or air pollution as serious health threats.
Latinos, especially in the Inland Empire and San Joaquin Valley, were also more likely to say extreme heat is a “very serious” health threat.
Whether California should place new limitations on the agriculture industry’s use of water was more evenly divided: 47% of voters overall favored this idea, and 42% were opposed.
The split was greater regionally, however. The majority of voters in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area (more urban areas) supported this idea, but the majority of voters in the Central Valley regions opposed it.
The poll also found 68% of California voters favored a new law requiring residents to compost their food waste. In comparison, only 24% of those surveyed opposed it.
“The poll’s findings suggest that growing concerns about the impact of climate change are leading Californians to reconsider some of their long-held policy views about nuclear power as a potential energy source, although considerable uncertainty persists among many voters,” said Eric Schickler, the Berkeley IGS co-director.
The poll found 44% of those surveyed were in favor of building more nuclear power plants whereas 37% opposed the idea and 19% were not sure. According to the Berkeley IGS Poll, this result is in contrast with other statewide surveys following the nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979.
Additionally, 39% of those surveyed said they are now opposed to shuttering the Diablo Canyon power plant in 2025 whereas 33% are in favor of closing it. And 28% of voters are still undecided.
Republicans were most likely to signal support for building more nuclear plants. Democrats and nonpartisan voters were more evenly split, although Democrats leaned more toward opposition and no-party voters were more supportive.
The survey was conducted online in English and Spanish from March 29-April 5. It polled 8,676 registered voters in California with funding provided by the Los Angeles Times.
The poll has a margin of error of about 2 percentage points.
The survey and its results can be found at escholarship.org/uc/item/73c708p0.