Sat, Apr

We Are the 7%: Drought, What Drought?


CALBUZZ-The big news in the just-out PPIC poll is that Californians now consider the drought the most important issue facing the state. The most fascinating data point, however, is this: seven percent of state residents say their neighbors are doing too much to combat the drought. 

For those keeping score at home, that makes for 1.7 million Californians who worry Bob next door doesn’t wash his car enough, Blanche across the street only waters her lawn once a day while Mona and Fred haven’t topped off the pool in a week. 

Doing too much? Really? Who are these people? 

With a strong heart and an optimistic spirit, we committed to finding out, and began by demanding PPIC fork over their crosstabs. 

(A brief digression: Right about now we’re picturing Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s CEO and chief polltaker, going all red in the face, clutching his chest and collapsing flat on the floor in his high-end. S.F. Financial District office digs. So for the record: seven percent – about 120 people of the 1,706 surveyed – is way too small a sample size to ascertain anything whatsoever, and what you’re about to read is completely unscientific and has a margin of error of plus or minus 86 gazillion percent. Your mileage may vary). 

To resume: these are some of the characteristics of what we quickly labeled “the knucklehead cohort” in the poll. Among the 7 percent: 

-35% lives in the Central Valley, more than L.A. and the Bay Area combined. 

-57% describes themselves as conservatives. 

-55% has only a high school education. 

-65% has incomes of $40K or less. 

-25% thinks Gov. Gandalf’s mandatory water conservation is too much. 

So: whining farmers in tricorne hats who can’t afford to pay their water bill, despise Jerry Brown’s social engineering and plan to vote for fellow H.S. grad President Scott Walker. 

But how many acre-feet is that? Oddly enough, more than two-thirds of this group – about 80 actual adults in our utterly unrepresentative sample – say the drought is a big problem, while just 17 percent say it’s “not much of a problem.” Go figure. 

According to the latest figures from the USGS, the average Californian uses 181 gallons of water a day, which means this bunch sucks up 7,927,800 gallons a year.  

That’s enough to produce 12,891 Quarter-Pounder combos supersized, which is probably what these people normally eat. 

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In large part because we didn’t try, Calbuzz was unable to reach any of these survey respondents, sources said. However, well-informed speculation suggests the 7 percent, if asked, would explain their blind optimism thusly: 

-I’ll give you my hose when you pry it from my hot, dead hands (49%). 

-Can’t hear ya, got the tub runnin,’ call back later. (18%) 

-Haven’t seen a thing about it on Snapchat (14%) 

-Just got back from Uranus (10%) 

-We don’t take calls from telemarketers (8%). 

(May not sum to total due to rounding). 

All of which, for some reason, puts us in mind of that great line from the Southern novelist Charles Martin: 

“It’s so dry, the trees are bribing the dogs.” 

No animals were harmed during the writing of this post. 

P.S. The new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California really does have some an interesting stuff in it. You can find it here. 


(Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine … long time journalists … publish the award-winning CalBuzz.com






Vol 13 Issue 46

Pub: Jun 5, 2015


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