PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment

Questions and Responses

July 8–15, 2022
1,648 California adult residents; 1,132 California likely voters
English, Spanish

Margin of error ±3.4% at 95% confidence level for the total sample, ±4.1% for likely voters.
Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling environmental issues in California?

59% approve
39% disapprove
2% don’t know

2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling the issue of jobs and the economy?

59% approve
39% disapprove
2% don’t know

3. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling environmental issues in California?

55% approve
42% disapprove
3% don’t know

4. How much of the time can you trust the state government to do what is right when it comes to handling environmental issues in California? [rotate order top to bottom]

7% just about always
43% most of the time
49% only some of the time
– don’t know

5. Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times?

31% good times
68% bad times
1% don’t know

6. Thinking about the current rate of inflation, meaning rising prices, is this something you are upset about, concerned about but not upset, or not concerned about?

44% upset
53% concerned but not upset
3% not concerned about
– don’t know

7. Have recent price increases in gasoline caused any financial hardship for you or your household? (If yes, ask: “is that a severe hardship that affects your ability to maintain your current standard of living, or is it a moderate hardship that affects you somewhat but does not jeopardize your standard of living?”)

18% yes, caused severe hardship
37% yes, caused moderate hardship
45% no, have not caused hardship
– don’t know

8. Next, what do you think is the most important environmental issue facing California today?

30% water supply, drought, reservoirs
13% wildfires, loss of forests, forest fires
11% climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases
4% air pollution, vehicle emissions, smog
4% landfills, garbage, sewage, waste, recycling
3% government regulation—too much, overregulation, politicians, environmentalists
2% pollution in general
2% water pollution of ocean, rivers, lakes, streams, beaches
18% other (specify)
14% don’t know

Changing topics,

9. Some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in California?

74% yes [ask q9a]
26% no [skip to q11]

9a. Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or are you registered as a decline-to-state or independent voter?

47% Democrat [ask q10]
24% Republican [ask q10a]
2% another party (specify) [skip to q12]
27% decline-to-state/independent [skip to 10b]

[likely voters only]
48% Democrat [ask q10]
26% Republican [ask q10a]
3% another party (specify) [skip to q12]
24% decline-to-state/independent [skip to 10b]

10. Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat?

53% strong
47% not very strong
– don’t know

[skip to q12]

10a. Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican?

56% strong
44% not very strong
– don’t know

[skip to q12]

10b. [decline-to-state /independents only] In a few words, can you tell me the main reason why you are registered as a decline-to-state or independent voter and not as a member of a political party?

38% parties don’t reflect my views, not satisfied with parties
11% I vote for candidates, not parties
10% corruption
3% I vote for both Democrats and Republicans
2% don’t want political mailings or phone calls
1% privacy/confidentiality
27% other (specify)
7% don’t know

10c. Were you previously registered with a major party or have you always been a decline-to-state or independent voter?

44% previously registered [ask q10d]
56% always been a decline-to-state or independent voter [skip to q10e]
– don’t know [skip to q10e]

10d. What party were you previously registered with?

49% Democratic Party
37% Republican Party
9% American Independent
1% Libertarian
4% other (specify)
– don’t know

10e. Would you join a political party if it was a good reflection of your political views or do you prefer to be unaffiliated with any specific party?

26% join a political party
72% remain unaffiliated
1% don’t know

11. Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party?

28% Republican Party
64% Democratic Party
7% neither (volunteered)
1% don’t know

On to another topic,

12. [likely voters only] In thinking about the California governor’s election in November, how important to you are the candidates’ positions on the environment in determining your vote?

45% very important
42% somewhat important
13% not too important
– don’t know

13. [likely voters only] Regardless of your choice in the 2022 election for US House of Representatives, which of these candidates would do a better job handling environmental issues in the U.S.: [rotate] the Republican candidate in your district or the Democratic candidate in your district?

34% the Republican candidate in your district
65% the Democratic candidate in your district
1% don’t know

14. Next, would you say that the supply of water is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?

68% big problem
24% somewhat of a problem
7% not much of a problem
– don’t know

[rotate questions 15 and 16]

15. Overall, do you think that the state and local governments are doing too much, the right amount, or not enough to respond to the current drought in California?

4% too much
27% the right amount
68% not enough
1% don’t know

16. Overall, do you think that the people in your part of California are doing too much, the right amount, or not enough to respond to the current drought in California?

4% too much
26% the right amount
69% not enough
1% don’t know

17. Do you think climate change has contributed to California’s current drought or not?

77% yes, has contributed
22% no, has not contributed
1% don’t know

18. Would you say that you and your family have taken steps to reduce water use recently in response to the current drought? (If yes, ask: “Have you done a lot or a little to reduce water use?”)

45% yes, done a lot to reduce water use
39% yes, done a little to reduce water use
16% no, have not taken steps
– don’t know

19. Do you think that pollution of drinking water is a more serious health threat in lower-income areas than other areas in your part of California, or not?

69% yes
29% no
2% don’t know

20. How serious a health threat is pollution of drinking water in your part of California to you and your immediate family?

16% very serious
31% somewhat serious
52% not too serious
1% don’t know

21. Next, would you say that air pollution is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not much of a problem in your part of California?

31% big problem
47% somewhat of a problem
22% not much of a problem
– don’t know

22. Do you think that air pollution is a more serious health threat in lower-income areas than other areas in your part of California, or not?

59% yes
40% no
1% don’t know

23. How serious a health threat is air pollution in your part of California to you and your immediate family?

16% very serious
43% somewhat serious
40% not too serious
1% don’t know

24. Next, how much of a problem is the threat of wildfires in your part of California? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not much of a problem?

45% big problem
37% somewhat of a problem
18% not much of a problem
– don’t know

25. How serious is the threat of wildfires in your part of California to your personal and economic well-being?

27% very serious
41% somewhat serious
32% not too serious
– don’t know

26. Do you think that climate change has contributed to California’s recent wildfires or not?

76% yes, has contributed
23% no, has not contributed
1% don’t know

27. How much confidence do you have in the government in terms of its readiness to respond to wildfires in your part of California?

30% a great deal
57% only some
13% hardly any
1% don’t know

Recently, there have been wildfires in California and utility providers have had power shutoffs when there have been high winds in their service areas to prevent wildfires.

28. How concerned have you been about the threat of power shutoffs to prevent wildfires where you live? Have you been very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned?

18% very concerned
38% somewhat concerned
32% not too concerned
12% not at all concerned
– don’t know

29. On another topic, which of the following statements reflects your view of when the effects of climate change will begin to happen? [rotate order top to bottom]

69% they have already begun to happen
4% they will start happening within a few years
11% they will start happening within your lifetime
8% they will not happen within your lifetime, but they will affect future generations
8% they will never happen
– don’t know

And thinking about issues and activities that some people care deeply about and others do not…

30. Compared to other issues, would you say addressing global climate change is… [rotate order top to bottom]

24% a top concern to me personally
57% one of several important concerns to me
19% not an important concern to me
– don’t know

31. How serious of a threat is climate change to the economy and quality of life for California’s future?

47% very serious
33% somewhat serious
11% not too serious
8% not at all serious
1% don’t know

Following is a list of a few of the possible impacts of climate change in the future in California. Please answer whether you are very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned about each one. 

[rotate questions 32 to 35]

32. How about increased rising sea levels? Are you…

26% very concerned
37% somewhat concerned
25% not too concerned
12% not at all concerned
– don’t know

33. How about heat waves that are more severe? Are you…

49% very concerned
34% somewhat concerned
13% not too concerned
4% not at all concerned
– don’t know

34. How about droughts that are more severe? Are you…

65% very concerned
25% somewhat concerned
8% not too concerned
3% not at all concerned
– don’t know

35. How about wildfires that are more severe? Are you…

57% very concerned
30% somewhat concerned
10% not too concerned
3% not at all concerned
– don’t know

36. Next, to address climate change, do you favor or oppose the state law that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030?

72% favor
26% oppose
2% don’t know

37. Do you favor or oppose the state law that requires 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by the year 2045?

72% favor
27% oppose
2% don’t know

Next, government officials are discussing other ways to deal with climate change. Please say if you favor or oppose the following plans to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

[rotate questions 38 and 39]

38. How about Governor Newsom’s executive order banning the sale of all new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

48% favor
50% oppose
2% don’t know

39. How about Governor Newsom’s plan that would ban the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing —or “fracking”—permits in California starting in 2024? Do you favor oppose this proposal?

59% favor
38% oppose
3% don’t know

40. Next, do you favor or oppose the California state government making its own policies, separate from the federal government, to address the issue of climate change?

66% favor
32% oppose
2% don’t know

41. When it comes to efforts to fight climate change, how important is it to you that California acts as a leader around the world?

41% very important
30% somewhat important
14% not too important
15% not important at all
1% don’t know

42. Next, do you think that California doing things to reduce climate change in the future would cause there to be more jobs for people around the state, would cause there to be fewer jobs, or wouldn’t affect the number of jobs for people around the state?

40% more jobs
26% fewer jobs
32% wouldn’t affect the number of jobs
3% don’t know

43. In order to help reduce climate change, would you be willing or not willing to pay more for electricity if it were generated by renewable sources like solar or wind energy?

44% willing
55% not willing
1% don’t know

On another topic,

44. Would you say that you have or have not seriously considered getting an electric vehicle the next time you buy or lease a vehicle, or do you already have one?

49% have considered
45% have not considered
6% already have one
– don’t know

Changing topics,

45. Do you think that ocean and beach pollution along the California coast is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem in California today?

40% big problem
49% somewhat of a problem
10% not a problem
1% don’t know

Following is a list of some specific problems that some people say affect our ocean and marine life in California today. After each, please indicate whether you think it is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem in the part of the California coast that is closest to you.

[rotate questions 46 and 47]

46. How about plastics and marine debris? Do you think this is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem in the part of the California coast that is closest to you?

58% big problem
37% somewhat of a problem
5% not a problem
– don’t know

47. How about limited public access to the coast and beaches? Do you think this is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem in the part of the California coast that is closest to you?

17% big problem
45% somewhat of a problem
37% not a problem
1% don’t know

48. Next, how important is the condition of oceans and beaches to the economy and quality of life for California’s future?

58% very important
33% somewhat important
6% not too important
1% not at all important
1% don’t know

Next, please say if you favor or oppose the following proposals.

[rotate questions 49 to 52]

49. How about allowing more oil drilling off the California coast? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

32% favor
67% oppose
1% don’t know

50. How about allowing wind power and wave energy projects off the California coast? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

81% favor
17% oppose
2% don’t know

51. How about expanding hydraulic fracturing, sometimes called “fracking,” for oil and natural gas? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

34% favor
63% oppose
3% don’t know

52. How about building desalination plants on the California coast? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

72% favor
23% oppose
4% don’t know

On another topic,

53. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that President Biden is handling environmental issues in the United States?

49% approve
48% disapprove
3% don’t know

54. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the US Congress is handling environmental issues in the United States?

25% approve
71% disapprove
4% don’t know

55. How much of the time can you trust the federal government to do what is right when it comes to handling environmental issues in the United States?

5% just about always
24% most of the time
69% only some of the time
1% don’t know

56. Right now, which ONE of the following do you think should be the more important priority for addressing America’s energy supply: [rotate] developing alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydrogen technology OR expanding exploration and production of oil, coal, and natural gas?

74% developing alternative energy sources
24% expanding exploration and production
2% don’t know

57. Overall, would you favor or oppose the US expanding natural gas production to export large amounts of gas to European countries?

35% favor
60% oppose
5% don’t know

58. As you may know, the Biden Administration has set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050, meaning the country would release no more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it removes. Do you favor or oppose the US taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050?

74% favor
23% oppose
3% don’t know

Changing topics,

59. How big of a problem is racism in the US today? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, small problem, or not a problem at all?

48% big problem
34% somewhat of a problem
12% small problem
5% not a problem at all
– don’t know

60. Thinking about your own experience, have you ever experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of your race or ethnicity? (If yes, ask: “would you say regularly or from time to time?”)

5% yes, regularly
33% yes, from time to time
62% no
– don’t know

61. In general, do you think the criminal justice system in the United States is biased against African Americans, or do you think the criminal justice system treats people equally regardless of race?

60% criminal justice system in the United States is biased against African Americans
39% criminal justice system treats people equally regardless of race
1% don’t know

Changing topics,

62. How concerned are you about the threat of a mass shooting in the area where you live? Are you very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, or not concerned at all?

29% very concerned
42% somewhat concerned
21% not very concerned
8% not concerned at all
– don’t know

63. In general, do you think laws covering the sale of guns should be more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now? [rotate options 1 and 2, keep 3 last]

73% more strict
10% less strict
17% kept as they are now
1% don’t know

On another topic,

64. As you may know, the US Supreme Court has ended the constitutional right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. Do you approve or disapprove of the Court overturning Roe v. Wade?

30% approve
68% disapprove
2% don’t know

65. Recently, the California legislature placed a constitutional amendment for voter approval on the November ballot that would prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom, including their right to choose to have an abortion and their right to choose or refuse contraceptives. Do you favor or oppose this constitutional amendment on abortion rights?

68% favor
29% oppose
2% don’t know

Changing topics,

[rotate questions 66 and 67]

66. Do you have a [rotate] favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party?

48% favorable
49% unfavorable
3% don’t know

67. Do you have a [rotate] favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party?

28% favorable
70% unfavorable
2% don’t know

On another topic, California uses the direct initiative process, which enables voters to bypass the legislature and have issues put on the ballot—as state propositions—for voter approval or rejection.

[likely voters only] In general, do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that a majority of voters can make laws and change public policies about environmental issues by passing initiatives?

71% good thing
26% bad thing
3% don’t know

69. [likely voters only] Proposition 20 is the 1972 ballot measure passed by voters that established the California Coastal Commission and regional commissions to plan and regulate the use of land and water in California’s coastal zone. Overall, do you feel that passing Proposition 20 turned out to be mostly a good thing for California or mostly a bad thing?

75% mostly a good thing
19% mostly a bad thing
1% mixed (volunteered)
5% don’t know

[rotate questions 70 and 71]

70. [likely voters only] In response to a citizen’s initiative eligible for the November ballot, the legislature passed and the governor signed into law a bill that requires state regulations to reduce plastic waste, tax producers of single-use plastics, and fund recycling projects. Do you favor or oppose this effort to reduce plastic waste?

83% favor
15% oppose
2% don’t know

71. [likely voters only] A citizens’ initiative on the November ballot provides funding for programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the tax on personal income over $2 million with the additional revenue used to support zero emission vehicle programs and wildfire-related activities. Do you favor or oppose this initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

63% favor
35% oppose
2% don’t know

[rotate questions 72 and 73]

72. [likely voters only] Overall, when it comes to environmental issues, overall how much would you say that the initiative process in California today is controlled by special interests—a lot, some, or not at all?

46% a lot
50% some
2% not at all
2% don’t know

73. [likely voters only] Overall, when it comes to environmental issues, overall how much would you say that the legislative process in California today is controlled by special interests—a lot, some, or not at all?

47% a lot
47% some
3% not at all
3% don’t know

74. Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom]

11% very liberal
20% somewhat liberal
41% middle-of-the-road
18% somewhat conservative
9% very conservative
1% don’t know

75. Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics—a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or none?

15% great deal
36% fair amount
36% only a little
13% none
– don’t know

[d1–d15 demographic questions]

Sherri Crump

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