Homelessness and Affordability Tops List of San Francisco Voter Concerns in 2016


SF Chamber of Commerce’s annual poll reveals support for many city services, while quality of life wanes.

San Francisco, Mar. 16, 2016 – Homelessness and affordability rank as the top concerns among San Francisco voters, according to the 2016 Dignity Health CityBeat Poll unveiled today at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat breakfast event attended by nearly 1,000 business and civic leaders.

With voters’ sense of confidence in their city declining, the poll reveals San Franciscans feel homelessness and affordability are the biggest issues facing the city. When asked what they feel are the major issues facing San Francisco today, 51 percent of respondents said homelessness and street behavior and 44 percent cited the costs of rents and affordability. Twenty-seven percent said the cost of owning a home.

“These poll results show a clear call to action for addressing homelessness. This growing problem is affecting San Franciscans’ views on quality of life, and is becoming a driver for pessimism about our great city,” said Lee Blitch, Interim President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “We need to find permanent solutions, not just in the rainy months, but year-round to adequately care for the 6,000 homeless people in San Francisco.”

Voters continue to oppose congestion pricing and most new tax proposals. However, in line with the deep concern over homelessness, voters strongly support (75 percent) the $350 million Public Health and Safety Bond on the June 2016 ballot to improve community medical and mental health services, emergency safety and medical response, and vital neighborhood fire stations and homeless service sites. Sixty-four percent favor a significant funding increase for homeless shelter facilities.

Many San Franciscans continue to be concerned over the City’s direction, with 47 percent responding that the quality of life in San Francisco is getting worse. However, 73 percent responded that the quality of life in their neighborhood is the same or getting better.

Voters are also generally content with many city services, feeling favorable about:

  • San Francisco Rec and Park: 70%
  • San Francisco Police Department: 64%
  • MUNI: 64%
  • SFUSD: 46%

Feelings about the local economy remain strong as well, as 66 percent of voters said it’s getting better or staying the same. That’s a vast improvement in just a few years. In the SF Chamber’s 2010 poll, 84 percent of voters said the economy had gotten worse.

Unveiled during the annual event spring-boarding the Chamber’s advocacy agenda, the poll shows voter concern over several other quality of life measures, including parking and traffic congestion.

Taxes are not always the favored solution to the city’s problems, according to the poll results. Voters strongly opposed the $3 congestion pricing fee (72 percent) and the vehicle license fee (54 percent).

However, 47 percent support a ½ cent sales tax increase to fund transportation, homeless services and other general fund programs, which needs 50 percent to pass.  Fifty-eight percent support a ½ cent sales tax increase to fund transportation and transit, however because the taxes are dedicated to specific uses it needs 66.7 percent to pass.

The CityBeat Poll was conducted among 500 San Francisco voters in February 2016 by David Binder Research for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.  More information on the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is available at www.sfchamber-com.sfchamber.com.

To view the Poll Results please click here