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New Poll Takes Its Toll

A public opinion survey released this fine Wednesday morning shows that 73% of Californians are opposed to extending a toll road through San Onofre State Beach [1].

Last September, the Transportation Corridor Agencies [2] commissioned their annual public opinion poll [3] on how much we all love toll roads. Their plan to extend the 241 toll road through the heart of SOSB depends upon their claim that people think it's a good idea. “Their numbers never resonated with us, based on thousands of conversations we've had with community members” says Brittany McKee of Sierra Club [4], which commissioned the new poll along with Natural Resources Defense Council [5].

On Sept. 1, 2005 the Weekly published its own interpretation [6] of TCA's poll.

They never mentioned anything about the road going through a state park; questions were vague, or did not “mention or factually present the basic action,” according to John Fairbanks of Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin N Associates [7], the public opinion firm that conducted this latest poll.

The new survey, conducted between February 18 and 22, polled 800 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5%. It claims that 49% of respondents strongly oppose toll roads through state parkland, with another 20% somewhat opposing. On the specific issue of a toll road through San Onofre, 56% of respondents strongly oppose the idea.

Fairbanks puts it best: “Putting a toll road through a state park doesn't work with voters.”