Californians Support Seawater Desalination

May 9, 2017
Recent research shows nine out of 10 voters favor desalination

A new statewide poll released by Tulchin Research and commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute found that California voters support seawater desalination. Furthermore, the poll results show, across every demographic group, that Californians are more likely to vote for a candidate for elected office who supports seawater desalination projects.

According to the results of the survey, which reached 500 likely voters April 20 to 24, 2017, Californians are strongly in favor of water desalination and an overwhelming majority want to see the state approve more desalination plants. Notably, nine out of 10 voters favor desalination efforts, including a majority 56% that strongly favors these efforts. Conversely, only 5% of voters oppose desalination efforts while 5% of voters are undecided.

More specifically, support for water desalination in California also is felt across every key demographic group in the state.

  • 94% of men and 87% of women are in favor of desalination.
  • Democrats (90%), republicans (92%) and independents (89%) are in favor of desalination.
  • A majority of voters in every region of the state favors water desalination, including voters in Sacramento/North State and the Central Valley (93% favor in both regions) followed by voters in the Bay Area (91%), the Los Angeles area (90%), Los Angeles County (89%) and San Diego (85%).
  • There also is strong support for desalination efforts among every ethnic group in the state, including Caucasian and Asian voters (91%), Latinos (90%) and African Americans (81%).
  • Voters under age 50 (92%) and over age 50 (89%) favor desalination at nearly equally high levels.

“Very few issues show such overwhelming support as does desalination in California,” said Ben Tulchin, president of Tulchin Research. “Elected officials and candidates for elected office should certainly take note that their constituents clearly want seawater desalination as a source of drinking water in the state.”

“The results of this survey add to the mounting evidence that the majority of the state is in favor of desalination as a way to provide a secure source of drinking water for our communities,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president, the William C. Velasquez Institute. “The Huntington Beach Desalination Facility will be a blessing for the nearly 1 million Latinos living in Orange County.”

The survey also asked voters about their feelings toward local elected officials and their likelihood to vote for a candidate based on their position on water desalination. More than 3/4 of voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate for elected office who supports seawater desalination compared to just 6% who say they would be less likely, and 17% are unsure. This strong preference for a candidate who supports funding water desalination plants holds across both partisan and regional lines.

In addition, voters overwhelmingly support (87%) paying a few dollars more a month for desalinated water in the short term. When presented arguments from both sides of the debate, respondents favored desalination at 78%.

The survey was commissioned by the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) in Los Angeles. WVCI is a tax-exempt, non-profit, non-partisan organization chartered in 1985. The purpose of WCVI is t conduct research aimed at improving the level of political and economic participation in Latino and other underrepresented communities; provide information to Latino leaders relevant to the needs of their constituents; inform the Latino leadership and public about the impact of public policies on Latinos; and inform the Latino leadership and public about political opinions and behavior of Latinos.