Californians reluctant to return to indoor dining and sporting events, poll finds

California
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More California voters remain hesitant about returning to indoor dining and outdoor sporting events than are ready to go back to such pre-pandemic activities, a new exclusive poll has found.

Nearly half of respondents said they wouldn’t eat indoors at a restaurant at this time, and almost the same portion said they wouldn’t go to a sporting event.

The poll was released Monday by Emerson College Polling and Nexstar Broadcasting Inc.’s six California television stations, including KTLA. It surveyed more than 1,000 registered voters across the state, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll results come as the state’s reopening is continuing, with more and more counties currently expanding indoor dining and planning next month to allow people back at theme parks and sporting facilities. By Wednesday, more than 90% of the state’s population of nearly 40 million residents will be out of the most limiting red tier in California’s color-coded coronavirus plan.

COVID-19 was identified as the top issue facing California by 21.6% of those polled, followed by homelessness at 19.1%, corrupt politicians at 17.5%, housing costs at 14.9%, and the environment at 6%. No other issue topped 6%.

The poll found older respondents more likely to be ready for pre-pandemic activities, with younger respondents tending to be more cautious.

More than 61% of respondents age 18 to 29 said they would not eat indoors, while nearly half of those 50 and older said they would. A similar age trend was found in the data for sporting events, with nearly half of those over 50 willing to attend, while only a little over a third would do so among those 18 to 29.

A far greater portion of those who don’t plan to get vaccinated said they would eat at a restaurant indoors or attend a sporting event, “suggesting those most vulnerable to getting Covid will be at these events,” said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling.

Just over a fifth of those polled said they didn’t plan to get vaccinated, while nearly the same portion said they’d already been vaccinated. Almost half of respondents said they’d get vaccinated as soon as they could, and another 12.5% said they planned to do so but not immediately.

A plurality of Republicans respondents — 46.6% — said they do not plan on being vaccinated. Only 3.9% of Democrats and 24.5% of independents responded the same way.

Californians weren’t overwhelmingly impressed with the state’s vaccine rollout and distribution, with nearly 43% rating it “excellent” or “good,” and more than 57% giving it a “fair” or “poor” rating.

The poll revealed 43% of Californians were very well informed about their vaccine eligibility, with 37.5% somewhat informed.

For all the angry protest it has sparked in critics, California’s mask mandate came in for good reviews from those polled. Nearly three-quarters said the mandate is “about right” or doesn’t go far enough.

The poll also looked into voters’ attitudes toward the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom, finding not enough support to remove him from office but interest in replacing him when he’s up for reelection in 2022.

The poll was conducted March 12 to 14, 2021. The sample consisted of California registered voters, n=1,045, with a credibility interval similar to a poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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