A small pool of water is surrounded by dried and cracked earth that was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose in late January. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A small pool of water is surrounded by dried and cracked earth that was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir in San Jose in late January. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Almost all of the state’s residents have cut their water use because of the drought, half of likely voters will support an $11.1 billion bond for state water projects and a record-high share of Californians, 55 percent, say the water supply is a big problem where they live.
These were among the highlights of a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, released Wednesday.

The Legislature is considering several new water bond measures for the November ballot, all of them pared back from $the 11.1 billion proposal, which has been pulled from the ballot twice because of the state’s fiscal problems. The revised bond measures are more limited than the expansive 2010 measure and would cost less, with proposals ranging from $5 billion to $9 billion. The PPIC survey found that support for a water bond would increase to 59 percent of likely voters if the measure was for a lower amount.

Other key findings from the poll, based on a phone survey of 1,702 adults in California interviewed from March 11-18 in English or Spanish: Most people believe the gap between the rich and poor is growing; a record-high 65 percent of residents say immigrants are a benefit to the state rather than a burden; a slim majority support high-speed rail; 75 percent of the uninsured say they’ll get health insurance by the deadline while 21 percent will stay uninsured; and 63 percent favor raising income taxes for the rich.

The survey also found that 53 percent of likely voters support legalization of marijuana. A record 60 percent of respondents say they pay more taxes than they should. Fifty-six percent believe the government doesn’t do enough to regulate access to guns, while 37 percent say it goes too far in terms of restricting citizens’ rights to own guns.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents say the government shouldn’t interfere with access to abortion; 55 percent say stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost.

President Obama’s approval rating was 52 percent, while Congress got only an abysmal 19 percent. Forty-nine percent of likely voters like how Gov. Jerry Brown is handling his job, lower than the 58 percent rating he got in January. With the primary only three months away, 47 percent of likely voters picked Brown, 10 percent chose Republican Tim Donnelly, and 2 percent apiece selected Neel Kaskari or Andrew Blount.


Patricia Yollin

Pat Yollin has written about all kinds of stuff, including wayward penguins at the San Francisco Zoo, organ transplants, the comeback of the cream puff, New York on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, a Slow Food gathering in Italy and the microcredit movement in Northern California. Among her favorite stories: an interview with George Lucas at Skywalker Ranch, a profile of Italy's consul general in SF, and a pirate Trader Joe's operation in Vancouver that prompted the grocery chain to sue -- and lose.

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