|February 6, 2001
Poll Finds Little Trust in Supes To Decide
Airport at Bottom of OC Voters' Priority List; Education,
Crime at Top
IRVINE, CA - Voters in Orange County say education,
crime and traffic should be the top priorities this year for
local officials and put a new County airport at the bottom
of the list, according to a new independent poll released
The poll, of 540 registered voters in Orange
County, finds 53% of voters saying improving local schools
should be a "top priority". Forty-eight percent
say "fighting crime" and 44% say "relieving
highway congestion" should be "top priority"
issues. Improving the quality of health care also received
In the face of the energy crisis, voters place
programs for energy conservation fifth in importance, with
voters in North County giving the issue the most prominence.
Just 12% of voters say building a new international
airport in the County is a "top priority" concern,
as the issue ranks last of all 13 issues tested in the survey.
The next lowest issue, maintaining good relations with Mexico,
was considered "top priority" by 21%.
Mixed Views Overall on Supervisors
The poll finds mixed views toward the Orange
County Board of Supervisors. Overall, 42% of OC voters have
a favorable view of the Supervisors, while 35% have an unfavorable
view. Nearly 1 in 4 voters do not have an opinion.
Unfavorable views are particularly high in South
County, where just 29% have a positive impression of the Supervisors
overall. Forty-five percent have a negative impression.
The Supervisors are viewed more favorably by
Republican and Latino voters than by Democrats, Independents
The poll also finds high percentages of young
voters saying they could not identify the Board of Supervisors.
While 82% of all voters said they had heard of the Board,
42% of voters under the age of 35 say they had not.
Voters Do Not Trust Board to Decide Fate
of El Toro
The poll asked voters about specific issues
facing the Supervisors and whether they trust them to make
decisions about these issues. Concerning the future of El
Toro, 54% say they do not trust the Supervisors to decide
this issue, with nearly 1 in 3 voters saying they do not trust
Supervisors "at all." Male voters and voters in
South County are particularly distrusting of the Supervisors
on El Toro.
On other issues, the poll finds more trust. Two-thirds say
they trust the Supervisors to handle oversight of the election
process and ballot counting. On development issues and managing
the county's finances, however, just 1 in 10 say they have
"a lot" of trust in the Supervisor's decisions.
While trust is higher in North County - where
the Supervisors are generally viewed more favorably -voters
in South County are almost equally divided on the Supervisors'
ability to make planning and financial decisions.
"The poll suggests voters - at least those
who pay attention to local government - are of two minds,"
said Dr. Christian Collet, director of the poll. "On
one hand, they trust the Supervisors to oversee ballot counts
and, to a lesser degree, the county's finances and planning.
On the other hand, voters strongly believe they cannot handle
"The numbers indicate that the more focus
that is put on the airport - which voters believe is less
important than almost every other issue in Orange County -
the more risk there is in alienating the public," Collet
said. "If voters already believe there is a disconnection
between their concerns and those of politicians, it may get
worse as the Supervisors attempt to tackle this issue."
About The Pacific Poll and Pacific Opinions
The Pacific Poll, of a random sample of 540
registered voters in Orange County, was administered by telephone,
in English and Spanish, between January 14th and 23rd, 2001.
The margin of sampling error for the entire sample is approximately
+/- 4.5 percentage points. It is important to recognize that
sampling error is just one potential error in opinion surveys;
results can be affected by other factors such as question
wording, order and timing of the interviews.
Pacific Opinions is an independent research
company based in Irvine that conducts polls and survey research
for private-sector clients, media and non-profit organizations.
Christian Collet, Ph.D., a political scientist at University
of California, Irvine, is the senior partner in the company.
Dr. Collet serves as the director of The Pacific Poll.
The Pacific Poll is a public-interest research
project funded by Pacific Opinions. It is conducted regularly
on social and political issues in the diverse communities
of San Diego and Orange County.