By a wide margin, San Luis Obispo voters believe city government “is generally headed in the right direction” versus the wrong track, according to the results of a recent survey commissioned by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce.

The scientific survey was conducted Sept. 14-22 by the independent polling firm of Sacramento-based Smith Johnson Research. The random sample of 385 registered voters, reached via phone, online and text, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

“We commissioned the survey in order to gauge community sentiment on a range of policy issues that have long been priorities for the Chamber,” said Board Chair Geri LaChance. “It’s clear that the same issues that concern the Chamber – especially housing, water and environmental stewardship – are also top of mind for residents.”

Among the survey’s key findings, the largest group of respondents (more than 43 percent) agreed with the statement that “government in the City of San Luis Obispo is generally headed in the right direction.” By comparison, 28.5 percent said they were undecided and the fewest number of respondents (28 percent) disagreed with the statement.

“It’s noteworthy that about the same number of people disagree with the city’s direction, as are undecided,” said Governmental Affairs Director Molly Kern. “Those numbers point to a need for more education and community discussion on the policies that affect all of us. It’s part of the Chamber’s mission to help educate and to invite spirited debate on these critical issues, all of which will help make us a better community.”

Water, affordable housing and the City’s unique character topped the list of voters’ key priorities followed by transportation, traffic, business growth and climate change, according to the survey results.

Issue Important   Not important
Water 97.1 2.6
Affordable housing 92.6 7.2
SLO’s unique character 91.8 8.1
Transportation 87.2 12.8
Traffic 84.9 15.1
Business growth 82.7 17.2
Climate change 82.1 17.9

“The survey reveals considerable consensus about where the city is headed and what the key issues are, certainly more than we would have expected based on the comments being made on social media and opinion pages this election season,” said Kern.

“For example, the Chamber continues to advocate for the construction of more housing and more types of homes, including affordable and workforce housing,” Kern said. “The survey shows that residents agree this is a need.”

By more than a two-to-one margin, respondents agreed with the statement that “Local government must work harder to allow the construction of more types of housing.”

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