Politics & Government

Field Poll: Majority support water bond

A majority of likely voters supports the $7.5 billion water bond on the Nov. 4 ballot, but most Californians still know nothing about it, according to a new Field Poll.

Likely voters by nearly 2 to 1 – 52 percent to 27 percent – support the bond, Proposition 1. Twenty-one percent are undecided, according to the poll.

Asked before giving an opinion if they had seen, read or heard anything about the proposition, nearly two-thirds of likely voters – 64 percent – said they had not.

The results reflect the low-profile nature of this year’s elections, with little advertising in lopsided contests at the top of the ticket.

“As we get closer to the election, voters are finally realizing that the election’s coming up and they haven’t really given it much thought,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.

On the water bond, he said, “Many are deferring judgment ... It’s just a recognition in this poll that many voters haven’t been paying that much attention and weren’t even really aware that an election was coming up.”

The water bond was a focus of this year’s legislative session, with Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers reaching a bipartisan agreement last month to put the measure on the ballot.

The proposition replaces an $11.1 billion bond that was previously scheduled for the ballot. It includes money for dams and reservoirs, watershed restoration and projects to increase access to clean drinking water.

Brown, who is seeking re-election, is expected to campaign for the measure.

Public support for the bond was higher among likely voters who had seen or heard about it, 57 percent in favor to 25 percent opposed, according to the poll. Of likely voters with no prior awareness of the bond, the measure was ahead 48 percent to 28 percent, according to the poll.

The water bond is favored by two-thirds of Democratic voters but opposed by Republicans 49 percent to 35 percent, according to the poll. Independent voters favor the measure 47 percent to 23 percent, with 30 percent undecided.

Among poll respondents unfamiliar with the bond was Curtis Haney, a 28-year-old pilot from Oakdale. Haney, a Republican, said he has “major concerns” about the cost of the bond but favors improving the state’s water infrastructure.

He said he will have to research the measure before making up his mind.

At the moment, he said, “I’m not even sure what this is for.”