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Survey: Fresno Voters Concerned with Pandemic, Spending Priorities, Basic Needs

December 15, 2021

A representative sample survey of Fresno voters, now in its second year, is giving area policymakers insight into the opinions and concerns of the people they represent.

The UC Merced Community and Labor Center partnered with the Fresno County Civic Engagement Table to conduct the Fresno Speaks survey and fill a critical need to inform elected officials and the people of the Central Valley about public opinions on major issues. The survey findings are already being used to deepen democratic participation in Fresno.

Fresno Speaks 2021 has released a 10-page report with detailed findings on a wide range of topics related to voter attitudes and the city budget. Fresno Speaks 2021 is a partnership between the UC Merced Community and Labor Center and Fresno County Civic Engagement Table, a coalition of major area organizations including Communities for a New California, Faith in the Valley, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce, Jakara Movement, Hmong Innovating Politics, and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

“The Fresno Speaks survey series involves a novel partnership with the Fresno County Civic Engagement Table,” sociology Professor Paul Almeida said. “We hope the survey becomes a model for policy-relevant research used by residents of the Central Valley, elected officials, and city and county administrators to deepen local-level democracy and activate increasing levels of community participation.”

This year, Fresno Speaks surveyed 1,520 registered voters using a representative sampling design that captures public opinion down to the city council district level and found that:

  • COVID-19 remains the top concern for Fresno households
  • Fresno city voters rejected the gubernatorial recall
  • Voters prefer people-centered investments with the city budget and local taxes
  • There is strong support for preventative solutions to public safety and police reform
  • 70-80% of respondents are taking pro-active measures against COVID by masking and getting a vaccine
  • Over one in 10 voters reported losing a friend or family member because of COVID
  • In some city council districts, up to 20% of voters are under threat of housing eviction or foreclosure

Because the data is representative of voters in the city, the information indicates voter preferences in terms of the issues related to policy change.

"Citywide, Fresno voters still believe communities built around the common good are both desirable and attainable,” said Coordinator Venise C. Curry, M.D., with the Fresno County Civic Engagement Table. “They consistently prioritize public health investments and equitable policies, and ultimately support people and practices that align with these values. ‘Fresno Speaks’ has spoken.”