Berkeley IGS Poll Finds Majorities Perceive Changing Climate as Serious Health and Safety Threats

A recent poll from the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) found that a two-thirds majority describes both extreme heat (64 percent) and air pollution (63 percent) as serious threats to their own and their family’s health and safety.

Relative to extreme heat, wide partisan differences in opinions about the seriousness of the threat exist, with eight in 10 Democrats perceiving the threat as serious compared to just 35 percent of Republicans. Latinos, lower-income voters, and residents of inland counties, especially the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire, are more likely than others to consider extreme heat as a “very serious” threat. Similar trends were present relative to air pollution.

The IGS poll further finds broad support for two environmental policies that have been or currently are under consideration in the state. To reduce wildfire threats, a three-to-one majority (65 percent to 23 percent) favors a proposal to restrict new housing construction in high fire risk areas. Support is broad-based and spans all major regions of the state. There is also majority support for the recently enacted law requiring residents to compost food waste to reduce the amount of pollution in landfills, with 68 percent of residents favoring the new law compared to just 24 percent who are opposed.

The Berkeley IGS Poll was administered online in English and Spanish in late March and early April among nearly 9,000 California registered voters. The full poll report is available here.