2002 PPIC Statewide Survey: December 2002
Special Survey of Orange County
Public Policy Institute of California
in collaboration with the
University of California, Irvine

Press Release
Survey Methodology

County Conditions
Most Important Problem
Regional Problems
Local Public Services
Local Government Ratings
Resident Satisfaction
Quality of Life

Public Policy
Surface Transportation
Priorities and Funding
Funding Transportation Projects Through Local Sales Tax 
Measure M Sales Tax
The Great Park

Economic and Political Trends
Consumer Confidence
County Economy
Real Estate Market
Personal Finance
Economic Inequality
Approval Ratings of the Governor
Approval Ratings of the President

2002 Survey
Survey Advisory Commitee

University of California, Irvine
© 2002 UC Regents


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 second in 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 that began in 2001 is an extension of earlier survey efforts. The special survey of Orange County is 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 almost 2.9 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 the reuse plans for 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 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 2,007 adult residents includes questions from earlier Orange County Annual Surveys. It also includes key indicators from the PPIC Statewide Survey for comparisons with the state and regions of California. We also consider racial/ethnic, income, and political differences. The following issues are explored in this Orange County Survey:

County Conditions - What are the most important issues facing the county? How satisfied are residents with their local surroundings, local public services, and with life in Orange County in general? Compared to other regions of the state, how much of a problem are issues such as air pollution, the economy, growth, and housing in Orange County?

Public Policy - What types of infrastructure and transportation projects are considered most important for Orange County, and how do local residents feel about taxes and other funding options? How do residents feel about the Great Park plan passed by the voters in March?

Economic and Political Trends - What are the recent trends in consumer confidence, perceptions of the county’s economy, and the county’s real estate market? How do county residents rate their personal finances today? How many consider themselves among the have-nots?” How do they rate the performance of Governor Davis and President Bush?

Copies of this report may be ordered by e-mail (order@ppic.org) or phone (415-291-4400). Copies of this and earlier reports are posted on the publications page of the PPIC web site (www.ppic.org). For questions about the survey, please contact survey@ppic.org.