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Just the FACTS

Californians and the Coast

    • Strong majorities say ocean and beach conditions are very important to California’s future.
      Seventy-three percent of Californians say the condition of the ocean and beaches is very important to California’s future economy and quality of life. Across age, income, and racial/ethnic groups, at least seven in ten hold this view. Additionally, more than two-thirds of Californians across all regions say ocean and beach conditions are very important to the state’s future. A similar share of Californians (71%) say the condition of the ocean and beaches is very important to them personally. Again, solid majorities across age, income, and racial/ethnic groups agree, though younger Californians are more likely than older adults to hold this view. When asked about rising sea levels as a possible impact of global warming, more than two-thirds of Californians are very (35%) or somewhat (34%) concerned. Democrats (49%) are far more likely than independents (29%) and Republicans (13%) to say they are very concerned.

Importance of the condition of the ocean and beaches for California’s future

Figure 1

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

Importance of the condition of the ocean and beaches to you personally

Figure 2

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

Concern about sea level rise

Figure 3

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

    • Most Californians visit the state’s beaches at least several times a year.
      Californians often go to the coast, with 72% saying they visit a beach several times a year, including 36% who visit a beach at least once a month. Half of Californians see limited public access to the coast and beaches as a big problem (18%) or somewhat of a problem (32%) in the part of the coast closest to them. Notably, wealthier Californians are more likely to visit the coast and are somewhat less likely to say limited public access is a big problem.
    • Majorities see ocean pollution and contamination of seafood as a problem.
      An overwhelming majority of Californians see ocean and beach pollution as a big problem (46%) or somewhat of a problem (37%). The share of adults who say this is a big problem today is similar to what we found in a 2006 PPIC survey (50%). Residents of the south coast (49%) and the north and central coast (45%) are about equally likely to say ocean and beach pollution is a big problem. Across racial/ethnic groups, African Americans (60%) and Latinos (52%) are more likely than Asian Americans (43%) and whites (41%) to say this is a big problem, and younger Californians are more likely than older adults to hold this view. When asked about contamination of fish and seafood along the part of the coast closest to them, a solid majority of residents say this is a big problem (46%) or somewhat of a problem (31%).

Seriousness of ocean and beach pollution along the California coast

Figure 4

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

    • Many Californians say it is important to have Marine Protected Areas.
      Most Californians say declining marine life is a big problem (45%) or somewhat of a problem (32%) along the part of the coast closest to them. Democrats (52%) and independents (48%) are more likely than Republicans (29%) to see declining marine life as a big problem. Three in four Californians (77%) say it is very important that California have Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which are managed by the California Fish and Game Commission to protect fish and marine species and habitats. An additional 18% say MPAs are somewhat important, while few (3%) say they are not important. More than seven in ten adults across age, income, education, and racial/ethnic groups say it is very important that California have Marine Protected Areas. Strong majorities of both inland (76%) and coastal (78%) residents hold this view.

Seriousness of coastal issues along the part of the coast closest to you

Figure 5

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

    • More Californians support renewable energy production than oil drilling in coastal waters.
      Only 25% of Californians favor allowing more oil drilling off the California coast—the lowest level of support since PPIC first began asking this question in 2003. An overwhelming majority of Democrats (81%) and a strong majority of independents (68%) oppose more drilling, while half of Republicans (50%) are in favor. However, when asked about allowing wind power and wave energy projects off the coast, more than seven in ten Californians—across political parties—support this proposal. Following the state’s historic drought, a strong majority (67%) also favor building desalination plants on the California coast, up from 56% in 2006.

Support for coastal energy and water projects

Figure 6

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

 

Source: PPIC Statewide Survey, July 2017. The margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.


Related Content

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment, July 2017

Authors

Mark BaldassareMark Baldassare
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dean BonnerDean Bonner
Associate Survey Director
Staffphoto KordusDavid Kordus
Research Associate
Staffphoto LopesLunna Lopes
Research Associate

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