Long Beach THUMS oil islands Chaffee, left, and Freeman. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova

A recent survey of 400 likely Long Beach voters shows 67% support a November ballot measure to increase the city’s general oil production tax from 15 cents to 30 cents per barrel.

The poll by David Binder Research shows that over 70% of both Democrats and Republicans support the measure, as do 72% of Latinx voters, 65% of White voters, 69% of renters and 64% of homeowners.

“With such strong support, and only 25% opposed, the measure is in a strong position to receive majority support on election day,” the report states. The measure needs a simple majority to pass.

Most respondents, 53%, identify as Democrats, while only 17% identify as Republican, according to the poll. The remaining 30% of those surveyed have no party or a minor party affiliation.

A different poll of 500 likely voters conducted earlier this month by FM3 Research similarly showed the measure would pass, but by a slimmer margin: 52% said they would vote yes, 42% said no, and 6% were undecided.

The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously in July to let voters decide on the tax, which would fund a litany of programs and services to address climate change, health disparities, youth programs and racial inequality. Each program focus area received overwhelming support, according to the David Binder survey:

  • Racial equity and reconciliation initiative: 81%
  • Air and water quality programs: 88%
  • Community health services: 89%
  • Early Childhood education: 86%
  • Local health programs to address impacts of COVID-19 on seniors and vulnerable communities: 89%
  • Youth development programs: 87%

The city estimates the tax will generate approximately $1.6 million annually. The measure requires audits with all funds being locally controlled. The tax would be imposed on oil companies “conducting, managing or carrying out the business of oil production within the city,” and not taxpayers, the survey notes.

With a margin of error ±4.9%, the David Binder survey was conducted August 8 and 9 using a hybrid methodology consisting of cell phone, landline and online respondents. Of the 400 surveyed, 95% said they are likely to vote on November 3.

Aside from the oil tax, respondents were asked general questions about Long Beach. Of those polled, 55% feel the city is “going in the right direction,” while 30% think the city is on the wrong track. The city council’s approval fared a little better with a 59% approval rating and a 29% disapproval. Nearly 75% of respondents have lived in Long Beach for at least six year.

David Binder Research provides research to political, nonprofit and private sector clients. The firm has been part of teams to help elect multiple officials from President Barack Obama and Gavin Newsom, to city and county officials nationwide.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.