Californians Weigh in on PG&E, Wildfires, and Shutoffs
Change Research California Poll: October 15-October 18, 2019
Californians have lost faith in large, Wall Street-driven publicly traded companies to put people first. The plurality of Californians (40%) want the basics — light, power and public safety — to be managed by smaller, regional utilities that will prioritize community interest over investor interest.
Voters don’t believe in the large utilities’ ability to handle future blackouts. Just 32% believe that utilities know best and should retain autonomy. An equal share believe state regulators should have that power when these outages occur. Another 33% are not sure.
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Management of wildfire season and the shut downs is clearly dragging down elected officials with only 47% of Californians disapproving of Governor Gavin Newsom’s handling the electrical shutdowns, though his numbers were better than “local elected officials” who came in at 52%.
When asked what they would like to happen if similar levels of fire danger were to occur, 55% of respondents would be willing to lose power for several days, while 18% of respondents would rather risk a wildfire. 27% of respondents said they were unsure. Republicans were more likely to be willing to risk a wildfire, with 32% of Republicans saying that they would rather risk a wildfire, while only 11% of Democrats and 17% of Independents said that they would rather take the risk.
PG&E had a 49% unfavorable rating when we started polling in California in February of this year. 8 months later that has risen to 61% unfavorable. Just 9% rate them favorably. This rejection of PG&E transcends party – 59% unfavorable with Democrats, 65% with Independents, and 61% with Democrats.
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