Querying issues ranging from life satisfaction to immigration laws, UCSB researchers found out what area residents really think during its annual telephone survey.
The findings of the Central Coast Survey — which includes opinions from 1,023 Ventura and Santa Barbara county residents — were released last week by UCSB’s Social Science Survey Center/Benton Survey Research Lab. Although a significant portion of the questions in the survey focused on immigration laws, there were also inquiries about health care, public schools and other issues relevant to the community.
Survey Center Director and economics professor Jon Sonstelie said they focused on immigration due to the current national debate on how to revamp relevant policies. When asked if the U.S. should prohibit undocumented immigrants from working, 69 percent responded “yes.” However, 69 percent also voiced support for a method that would help undocumented immigrants gain legal working status.
The local quality of life — especially for high-income households — is reported to be relatively high. When questioned about their life in general, 73 percent of Central Coast residents said they are very satisfied, 24 percent said they are somewhat satisfied and only 3 percent reported dissatisfaction.
The survey showed that many citizens are highly involved in their communities. About half of the respondents said they attend religious services, and 17 percent said they participate in a nonprofit organization or service club.
In terms of traffic problems, only 33 percent of residents support highway expansion, but over 60 percent support improvements for alternative modes of transportation, such as bicycle lanes.
In the past few years, Santa Barbara’s popularity has resulted in an increase in housing construction. Nearly half of the respondents said development is happening at about the right rate, whereas 43 percent said it is happening too quickly. Of those who think growth is too fast, 85 percent said that the construction of housing should be limited.
The full report is available at the Social Science Survey Center’s website, www.survey.ucsb.edu/central-coast-survey. The interviews were conducted in either English or Spanish, depending on the language of the household, and all respondents were at least 18 years old.