A new comprehensive examination of Bay Area voters shows that the growing housing crisis is leading voters to favor measures encouraging local development. Released today by FSB Public Affairs, this detailed quantitative study conducted by Core Decision Analytics (CODA) consisting of n=800 Bay Area Voters (“the YIMBY INDEX”) uncovered strong support for “Yes In My Backyard” measures, though classic “NIMBY-ism” sentiment persists and concerns about local control may impede more housing units from being built.
By a 3:1 margin, the majority of voters across nine Bay Area counties say the housing crisis is worse in their part of California (51% “worse in my part” versus 17% “worse in other parts”). Adding to the crisis, voters overwhelmingly say the problem of homeless has gotten worse in their community (72%).
“Across all nine counties, voters assert they want new residential housing construction – not simply throughout the Bay Area overall, but also in their local communities,” said Adam Rosenblatt, President of Core Decision Analytics. “The economic fallout of COVID is leading many residents to shift from a NIMBY to a YIMBY mindset. In fact, when asked about potential development projects, residents see these projects as having a positive – not negative impact – on their local communities.”
The YIMBY INDEX also examined voter attitudes on housing policies similar to many major proposals recently considered by the Legislature in Sacramento. As detailed in the full report and spotlighted summary below, these include topics similar to legislation such as SB 1120 from Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (Senate District 39 / San Diego), SB 902 from Senator Scott Weiner (Senate District 11 / San Francisco), AB3040 from Assemblymember David Chiu (Assembly District 17 / San Francisco), and AB1851 from Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (Assembly District 15 / East Bay).
While Bay Area voters are favorable to many housing measures recently discussed in the Capitol, there is a limit to what efforts they are willing to support – such as ceding control away from local communities. By a 2:1 margin, Bay Area voters say local communities should have the right to control the type and pace of homebuilding development within their own communities. By contrast, 26% are supportive of mandates coming from state officials to “take action when policies by local officials prevent new homebuilding and development within their own communities.”
While ‘local control’ enjoys the support a slim majority of voters (53%), it is important to note that fully one in five (21%) say they are undecided on this topic.
“Our Bay Area YIMBY INDEX shows that voters are demanding action on housing,” said Frank Rizzo, President of FSB Public Affairs. “If local officials block efforts for desperately needed housing and development, support for local control on housing may erode. Inaction is likely to push those currently undecided towards favoring state mandates.”
While 63% of voter support developers building housing near transit stations around the Bay Area, that number falls to only 47% support for housing near transit in their community. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Bay area voters support allowing expedited reviews for the construction of accessory dwelling units or ‘granny flats.’
FSB Public Affairs and Core Decision Analytics are will be conducting additional studies focused on housing issues in other parts of California and well as other major US cities.
FSB Public Affairs’ experience covers two decades of legislative and regulatory campaigns, land use and permitting efforts, ballot measures, transportation initiatives and municipal programs. From businesses and trade associations to nonprofit organizations and government agencies, FSB PA is sought after when developing and managing strategic, integrated communication campaigns. Core Decision Analytics provides cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative opinion research programs for campaigns and non-political clients, as well as the latest in advanced data analytics to turn research into actionable information.
VIEW ON THE HOUSING CRISIS
Which of the following comes closest to your view?
- 17% – The housing crisis is worse in other parts of California
- 51% – The housing crisis is worse in my part of California
- 27% – The housing crisis is largely the same across all parts of California
- 5% – There is not a housing crisis in California
VIEW ON THE HOMELESSNESS
In your opinion, has the problem of homelessness gotten better, worse, or stayed about the same in your community?
- 5% – Gotten better
- 72% – Gotten worse
- 23% – Stayed about the same
PACE OF RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION
Thinking specifically about the construction of new residential housing of all types, please indicate if you think there is too much being built, too little being built, or about the right amount of new being built in…
The Bay Area overall
- 30% – Too much
- 49% – Too little
- 21% – About right
Your local community
- 27% – Too much
- 42% – Too little
- 31% -About right
VIEW ON LOCAL CONTROL VS STATE MANDATES
Which of the following comes closest to your view?
- 53% – Local officials should have the right to control the type and pace of homebuilding development within their own communities
- 26% – State officials should take action when policies by local officials prevent new homebuilding and development within their own communities
- 21% – Don’t know / not sure
SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE MEASURES
|Legislative Measure||Survey Question Wording||TOTAL SUPPORT (% STRONGLY)||TOTAL OPPOSE||Don’t know / not sure|
|SB 1120 (Atkins)||Allow homeowners to build an accessory dwelling unit (sometimes called “granny flats”) on their property with limited and expedited review||69% SUPPORT (29% strongly)||19% OPPOSE||13%|
|AB 3107 (Bloom)||Allow housing to be developed on commercially-zoned land, with at least 20% of the units are designated as affordable to low-income households.||65% SUPPORT (25% strongly)||18% OPPOSE||16%|
|SB1385 (Caballero)||Allow residential development on land currently zoned for commercial office and retail uses.||67% SUPPORT (24% strongly)||19% OPPOSE||14%|
|SB 902 (Wiener)||Allow expedited environmental / permitting reviews for the construction of “small” apartment units (for example, a residential building in a city that contains under ten units)||57% SUPPORT (23% strongly)||24% OPPOSE||19%|
|AB 1851 (Wicks)||Allow churches and other religious institutions to convert underused parking spaces to build affordable housing on their properties||58% SUPPORT (22% strongly)||29% OPPOSE||13%|
|SB 1085 (Skinner)||Increase incentivizes provided to developers when they create affordable housing units||59% SUPPORT (21% strongly)||23% OPPOSE||17%|
|AB 3040 (Chiu)||Incentivize cities to “upzone” residential housing to allow for fourplexes in neighborhoods currently zoned solely for single family housing.||52% SUPPORT (17% strongly)||32% OPPOSE||17%|
|SB 902 (Weiner)||Relax environmental regulations in order to allow more affordable housing to be built||41% SUPPORT (16% strongly)||49% OPPOSE||10%|
|AB 1279 (Bloom)||Require denser and taller multi-family developments be built in so-called “high opportunity” communities (typically affluent areas with good jobs and schools) when a community fails to meet their share of allowing new development to address regional housing needs||47% SUPPORT (15% strongly)||35% OPPOSE||19%|
Download the FULL REPORT BELOW