Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chamber of Commerce poll

Turns out the Examiner's Will Reisman didn't make an addition error on the percentage of city voters opposed to an expanded congestion pricing zone (Divisadero on the west to 18th Street on the south); when you look at the Chamber of Commerce poll the story is based on, the Examiner simply got the "strongly oppose" number wrong in the table that accompanied the story; it should have been 56%, not 72%. That makes opposition to the expanded zone 62%, not the 88% I got by adding the incorrect numbers. 

Still, city voters oppose congestion pricing even in a more restricted downtown zone, 61% to 36%. In the expanded zone, opposition is larger with 72% against and 25% in favor of charging people to drive in a large part of their own city, not exactly an endorsement of the city's anti-car movement led by the SF Bicycle Coalition.

Some other interesting results of the poll of 500 city residents who voted in the November, 2008 election: Mayor Newsom was approved by 64% to 29%, and the Board of Supervisors was approved by only 47% to 40%.

Homelessness/panhandling was seen as the "major issue" facing the city by 35%, with no other issue even close. It will be interesting to see the results of last month's homeless count, since, given the dire state of the economy, that perennial city problem is bound to get worse.

Interesting to note that Muni was seen as the most important issue by only 13%, with traffic/parking seen as the most important issue by only 7% of city voters, which is why congestion pricing is a non-starter with city voters, even though they also think traffic congestion on city streets has gotten worse, 51% to 8%. Apparently it isn't so bad that it justifies soaking city drivers with congestion pricing.

When asked whether parking in the city in general has gotten better or worse, 58% said it is worse and only 5% said it's gotten better in the past few years, which is a danger sign for the city when it implements the latest version of the Bicycle Plan later this year. How far can the city and the bike people go in taking away traffic lanes and street parking to make bike lanes before city voters rebel? I guess we'll find out.

As we sink deeper into recession, city voters support "contracting out"---aka, "privatizing"---city services to save money, 64% to 29%, even if that means laying off city workers (53% to 41%).

52% of city workers drive or carpool
to work, 25% take Muni, 6% take BART, and only 5% ride bikes, which makes the SFBC's goal of "10% by 2010" unlikely to be attained.

The political demographics of Progressive Land: only 21% of city voters consider themselves "progressive," with 37% "liberal," 26% "moderate" and 11% "conservative," though no definitions of those terms were attempted. That means that 63% of city voters think of themselves as liberal/moderate here in Progressive Land.

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