2001 PPIC Statewide Survey: September 2001
Special Survey of Orange County
Public Policy Institute of California
in collaboration with the
University of California, Irvine

Executive Summary
Press Release
Press Release on El Toro
Survey Methodology


Local Perceptions
Local Population Growth
Residential Satisfaction
Local Public Service Ratings

County Regional Issues
County Regional Problems
Causes of County Regional Problems
Preparing for Regional Growth

Orange County Issues
Most Important Issue
The County's Population Growth
The Consequences
El Toro Airport
Traffic and Transportation
County Government

Economic and Political Trends
Consumer Confidence
Overall Mood
Real Estate Market
Governor's Approval Ratings
President's Approval Ratings
Computers and the Internet

2001 Survey
Survey Advisory Commitee

University of California, Irvine
2001 UC Regents

Executive Summary

The Orange County Survey - a collaborative effort of the Public Policy Institute of California and the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine - is a special edition of the PPIC Statewide Survey. This is the first of an annual series of PPIC surveys of Orange County.

Mark Baldassare, the director of the PPIC Statewide Survey, is the founder and director of the Orange County Annual Survey at UCI and a former UCI professor.

The UCI survey was conducted 19 times from 1982 to 2000, so the Orange County Survey collaboration between PPIC and UCI is an extension of earlier survey efforts.

The current survey was co-sponsored by UCI, with local support from Deloitte and Touche, Pacific Life Foundation, Disneyland, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Business Council, Orange County Division of League of California Cities, Orange County Register, The Irvine Company, and United Way of Orange County.

Orange County is the second most populous county in the state and one of California's fastest growing and changing regions. The county is home to 2.8 million residents today, having gained nearly one million residents since 1980. Three in four residents were white and non-Hispanic in 1980; today, nearly half are Latinos and Asians. The county's dynamic economy has become one of the leaders in the high-technology industry.

The county is a bellwether county in politics and the site of many important governance issues, including a county-government bankruptcy, public controversy over a proposed airport at the closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, and the use and expansion of toll roads. There are also housing, transportation, and environmental concerns related to development. Public opinion findings are critical to informing discussions and resolving public debates on these key issues.

The purpose of this study is to inform policymakers by providing timely, accurate, and objective information about policy preferences and economic, social, and political trends.

To measure changes over time, this survey of 2,004 adult residents includes "benchmark" questions from earlier Orange County Annual Surveys. It also includes key indicators from the PPIC Statewide Survey for comparisons with the state and other major regions of California. We also consider how regional racial and ethnic differences affect political, social, and economic attitudes and policy preferences.

The following issues are explored in this edition of the Orange County Survey:

Local perceptions - Have two decades of growth and change led to declining residential satisfaction and public service ratings? How do residents view growth and growth policies?

Regional issues - How does Orange County compare to the rest of the state in perceptions of traffic, growth, housing, and jobs? What do residents see as the causes of county problems, and do they think that there is enough local government funding to prepare for growth?

Orange County issues - What are the most important issues facing the county, and what are the perceptions of the county's economy, quality of life, growth, and county government? What are the transportation trends and preferences for the reuse of the El Toro Marine Air Base?

Economic and political trends - What are the recent trends in consumer confidence, computer and Internet use, and approval ratings for President Bush and Governor Davis?

Copies of earlier survey reports or additional copies of this report may be ordered by e-mail (order@ppic.org) or phone (415-291-4400). The reports are also posted on the publications page of the PPIC web site (www.ppic.org).