Public Safety, Homelessness and Affordability are Biggest Issues in 2018 SF Chamber Poll

SAN FRANCISCO – Homelessness, public safety and affordability rank as the top concerns among San Francisco voters, according to the 2018 Dignity Health CityBeat Poll which was unveiled February 2 at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat Breakfast event attended by nearly 900 business and civic leaders.

Full results of the poll are listed below. Download PDF of 2018 Dignity Health CityBeat Poll results here.

The CityBeat Breakfast explored the theme San Francisco 360º, taking a look at the major industries and thought leadership that will drive the economy and the Chamber’s agenda in 2018.  In addition to the presentation of the Dignity Health CityBeat Poll results, speakers included Mayor Mark Farrell to address the State of the City and a panel of experts including Dr. Michael Anderson, President of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals; Bernard Coleman, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Uber; Emile Haddad, Chairman & CEO FivePoint Holdings LLC; and Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Airware to discuss the successes and challenges of their industries in San Francisco.

“San Francisco is at an important crossroads,” said Tallia Hart, President & CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “While our economy is thriving, the city is facing major issues which are deeply impacting residents, business, tourism and quality of life.”

Poll results show that anxieties about cost of living are growing – when asked what they feel are the major issues facing San Francisco today, 43 percent of respondents said cost of rents/affordability, and 33 percent said cost of owning a home, up from 23 percent in 2017. Fourteen percent said cost of living, a significant jump from 1 percent in 2017.

“Our business community is only as strong as our workforce,” said Hart. “Economic growth requires a large workforce and growing productivity which is contingent on removing more of the barriers to development and building more affordable workforce housing to keep up with demand.”

Voters also expressed growing concern over crime, drugs and gangs, with 15 percent citing it as a major issue in 2018, up from 8 percent in 2017. While 44 percent of respondents said homelessness and street behavior, that number is down from 60 percent in 2017.  To address anxieties over public safety, voters overwhelmingly support giving Tasers to SFPD officers (76 percent), safe injection sites (67 percent) and increasing the number of active duty police officers by 200 (68 percent).

San Franciscans are supportive of several solutions, many related to transportation – the backbone of our city. Voters expressed strong support for transportation projects in the 2018 poll. Fifty-five percent support installing transit only “red lanes” on some city streets, 78 percent support extending the T-line from Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf and 77 percent support constructing a tunnel to extend CalTrain and future high-speed rail from Mission Bay to the Transbay Transit Center. Sixty-five percent support constructing a new Bay Crossing from the East Bay to San Mateo County. However, the City is split on replacing vehicle lanes with bike lanes, with 47 percent supporting removing traffic lanes in various locations around the city to install bike-only lanes.

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

San Francisco Rec and Park: 70%

San Francisco Police Department: 59%

MUNI: 49%

SFUSD: 44%

The CityBeat Poll was conducted among 500 San Francisco voters in January 2017 by David Binder Research for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.