Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, today released the findings of a large-scale public-opinion poll of residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties on a variety of issues affecting life in the region.
Conducted by the Social Science Survey Center/Benton Survey Research Lab at UC Santa Barbara, the Central Coast Survey featured telephone interviews with members of more than 1,000 households in the two counties, both English- and Spanish-speaking.
The results of the survey tap the public's attitudes on a wide range of important issues, from jobs, housing, traffic, and health care to the pace of growth and development, and the quality of public schools. This year's survey also gave special emphasis to issues of immigration, civic engagement, and quality of life.
Among its many conclusions, the survey found that:
· Although most respondents favor policies that would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to work in this country, they support the creation of some means by which undocumented immigrants can become legal workers.
· Community involvement is important to Central Coast residents, with a majority of respondents participating in at least one nonprofit organization or contributing money, property, or other assets for charitable purposes.
· Of the respondents who believe growth and development on the Central Coast is a serious issue, most prefer to alleviate it by limiting the housing supply.
· The region's residents are concerned about traffic congestion, but most survey respondents favor alternatives to new highway construction, such as improved mass transit and bicycle lanes.
The full text of the 36-page report is available as a PDF file as of mid-day today (May 9, 2007) on the Social Science Survey Center's Web site: http://www.survey.ucsb.edu/ccs.
The survey was directed and the report written by Jon Sonstelie, a professor of economics and the survey center's director; Paolo Gardinali, associate director of the center; and Jonathan Cowden, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.
"One of the issues we focused on this year is immigration policy," said Sonstelie. "It is a national issue, but any change in policy would have many local repercussions, so we were curious about the views of Central Coast Residents. The survey found strong support for prohibiting undocumented immigrants from working here, but also for creating a pathway for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status. People don't seem to be concerned about the presence of undocumented immigrants in their areas, per se, but they are concerned that these individuals don't have legal status."
The interviews for the survey were conducted in English or Spanish and lasted an average of 14 minutes. All survey respondents were at least 18 years old. A total of 1,657 households were contacted, and 1,023 interviews were completed.
The Social Science Survey Center plans to conduct this survey annually, so that the results can be tracked over time. Funding for the survey was provided by the Division of Social Sciences at UCSB.