New Poll Shows Two Thirds of California Voters Support SB 50, the More HOMES Act

66% of California Voters Support More Homes Near Transit, Jobs
1200-person poll finds housing is the number one issue statewide; pro-housing numbers hold across demographics and geographic regions

Sacramento, CA – An overwhelming majority of California voters support state legislation that would result in more homes being built for workers near jobs and transit services, according to public opinion research conducted April 17-25 by Lake Research Partners on behalf of California YIMBY.

Click here for an overview of poll results from Lake Research Partners

A full 66% of California voters statewide support Senate Bill 50, the More HOMES Act, when told of its key provisions that would increase the number of homes near transit and jobs, and protect renters from displacement. That support remains at a strong 63% even after hearing opposition messages about protecting community character and blocking the construction of tall buildings.

The poll, which included an oversample of African American and Latinx voters, also found that a majority are supportive of building more homes specifically “in your community” (61% support to 30% oppose). Voters agree with the key goal of SB 50: That the best place to build new housing is near transit and in areas with the most jobs (71% support, 37% support strongly).

“This new research confirms that a solid majority of California voters want our leaders to act to build more homes that ordinary working people can afford,” said Brian Hanlon, President and CEO of California YIMBY. “The findings suggest that we urgently need to build more housing for Californians at all ends of the income spectrum — which is what SB 50, the More HOMES Act, is designed to do.”

The specific provisions of SB 50, the More HOMES Act, are wildly popular with California voters:

  • 77% say cities should allow developers to build new apartments near transit and jobs if they also include affordable housing for moderate- and low-income workers
  • 76% say the provisions of SB 50 would reduce car traffic and pollution by allowing more housing to be built near public transportation, like trains and buses
  • 74% say they support renter protections so long-time residents are not displaced
  • 69% say cities should allow up to five story apartment buildings to be built in areas with the most jobs, so more people can live and work in the same neighborhood
  • 53% support provisions that allow communities to protect themselves from gentrification

“Our findings suggest that there is a tremendous opportunity for YIMBYs and other pro-housing leaders and legislators to engage voters in practical solutions to the housing crisis,” said David Mermin of Lake Research Partners, who led the polling research effort. “Housing is the number one, top-of-mind issue for California voters, and the base of support for solutions is very high.”

Mermin said he was surprised by the finding that most Californians make the connection between housing, traffic, commute times, and pollution.  “We expected that Californians would see our current situation as a crisis, but we did not expect they’d see housing near transit and jobs as a way to solve the problem while also reducing commute times, traffic, and pollution. The consistency of support for these solutions across all regions of the state, and most demographic groups, is remarkable.

Among other key findings are a belief among California voters that landlords are charging too much for rent (74%); that wages are too low for most Californians to be able to find a place they can afford to live (75%); and that cities are not permitting enough affordable housing (68%).

The findings suggest Californians are ready for a package of solutions to the housing crisis, such as SB 50, the More HOMES Act; AB 1482, which would protect California renters from large rent increases; and AB 68, which will update regulations allowing more Accessory Dwelling Units. These and other measures currently moving through the California state legislature would protect renters, increase the number of homes affordable to workers, and help address urgent housing and equity issues.

The statewide poll of 1,200 Californians was conducted between April 17 – 25 by live telephone interview and online, with 500 interviews online and 700 interviews by phone, including an oversample of 200 African American and Latinx respondents. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.1%.

Question wording for the question on support for Senate Bill 50 was: “Senate bill 50 would change state law to allow more homes like apartments, townhouses, and triplexes, including affordable housing for lower- and middle-income families, near public transit lines like buses or trains, and in areas with a lot of jobs.”

To read a full memo describing the poll results, questions, and methodology, click here.

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The More HOMES Act is co-sponsored by California YIMBY, the Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California, the California Association of Realtors, and supported by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, Habitat for Humanity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Abundant Housing LA, AARP California, the California League of Conservation Voters, the California Chamber of Commerce, CALPIRG, Environment California, the LA Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association, the Bay Area Council, Environment California, the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), and a host of other renter, environmental, business, and labor organizations.

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About California YIMBY: California YIMBY is a community of neighbors who welcome more neighbors. We believe that an equitable California begins with abundant, secure, affordable housing. We focus on housing and land use policy at the state and local level to ensure grassroots organizers and city leaders have the tools they need to accelerate home building. https://cayimby.org/

California YIMBY is a co-sponsor of the More HOMES Act. To learn more, visit http://cayim.by/morehomes