More and more South Bay residents dreaming of cheaper pastures.
That’s according to a new poll by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which found that 44 percent of Bay Area residents said they’d like to move out of the region in the next few years. Only 6 percent of them said they have definite plans to make the exodus in 2019.
Among those considering an exit, 77 percent cited the region’s high housing costs, and 76 percent said it’s the overall cost of living. Other major factors fueling the trend include traffic congestion, which was an issue for 51 percent of those surveyed, quality of life (45 percent) and taxes (41 percent).
The poll, which surveyed 1,568 potential voters in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in mid-February, showed that perceptions held even throughout the Bay Area. Some 83 percent of all respondents said the cost of housing represents the most critical problem plaguing the region, followed by the cost of living (81 percent), homelessness (79 percent) and traffic congestion (76 percent).
Wildfires were cited as a serious issue, with 70 percent citing it as one of the most serious problems affecting the region.
Opinions were divided on whether the Bay Area’s rapid growth has been a positive or negative. Just 33 percent said they consider it a good thing.
SVLG President Carl Guardino, whose organization represents some of the biggest corporate names in Silicon Valley, has been one of the biggest cheerleaders for sales tax measures as a way to address traffic and affordability issues in years past. In a statement announcing this new poll, he hinted as the possibility of another such initiative.
“We need to take big, bold, transformative steps before we lose the talented people who keep the engine of Silicon Valley, and our innovation economy, running,” he said. “With the leadership of Gov. [Gavin] Newsom, and our own advocacy at the [SVLG], we believe that voters in 2020, will have real, substantive choices to help solve some of the most pressing transportation and housing challenges facing our region and state today.”
Sure enough, the SVLG followed its news release about the cost-of-living poll with another showing that more than two-thirds of voters surveyed said they were willing to support a nine-county sales tax to pay for transportation infrastructure improvements.
A proposed regional solution to the housing crisis known as CASA fared worse.
When asked it they would back a measure that would ease up regulations to speed up housing construction and impose a Bay Area-wide rent cap and tenant protections, just 43 percent of voters expressed support while 42 percent said they opposed the plan.
Among respondents, Latino and black voters were more likely to support the proposed CASA compact than their white counterparts. Voters younger than 40 tended to support it while those over 40 leaned more in opposition. And 62 percent of renters leaned in favor, compared to a third of homeowners.