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1 in 5 adults in Valley lack clean water, 46 percent fear deportation

The Institute for Leadership and Public Policy at Fresno State conducted a public opinion survey in March on issues and concerns in the San Joaquin Valley, finding that 21 percent of adults have little access to clean water.

The survey touched on issues around water, immigration, deportation, the high speed rail project, Affordable Care Act and economic conditions. A total of 541 people were surveyed in eight counties.

“We wanted to have a survey that focused more on the Valley itself and sort of gave voice to the people in the Valley,” said Dr. Lisa Bryant, survey director. “Our politics are different here and the issues that we face.”

For a period of two weeks, students under the Institute made phone calls to random Central Valley residents.

Dr. Jeff Cummins, co-director of the Institute, said the Valley tends to be neglected in some of the research and public opinion polls that are conducted at the statewide level.

The poll was done specifically on the Valley so representatives and elected officials in the area know where their constituents are on political issues and on issues that impact living conditions.

“Public opinion in essential in a democracy,” said Cummins. “Our representatives are supposed to reflect the views and attitudes of their constituents, and it’s hard to do that if you don’t have information on what those views and attitudes are.”

The survey also found that a majority of adults in the Valley opposed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Some 46 percent worry that somebody they know could be deported, and 63 percent believe that deportations will be bad for the economy.

Institute officials are working to disseminate the information. They’ve contacted media outlets both locally and nationally. They are also reaching out to elected officials in hopes of educating them on issues and concerns in the Valley.