In September 2013, Civinomics conducted a poll of Scotts Valley residents to gauge their support for a proposed city-wide plastic bag ban and accompanying fee on paper bags. At the time Scotts Valley was the only city in Santa Cruz County to not have a ban on plastic bags in place.
The study found that Scotts Valley residents overwhelmingly supported a ban on single use plastic bags, as well as an accompanying fee on paper bags. When asked “If the vote were held today on a plastic bag ban”, 56.6 percent answered that they would vote “definitely yes” while 18.7 percent answered that they would vote “probably yes”. Additionally, 47 percent stated that they would vote “definitely yes” in favor of an accompanying 10 cent fee on paper bags, while 21 percent stated they would vote “probably yes”. 93 percent stated that they had heard of plastic bag bans in other parts of Santa Cruz County and 55 percent believed that they have had a positive impact.
After being asked their level of support for a potential ban and fee, respondents were shown various facts regarding plastic pollution and asked how these facts affected their level of support for the ban. Respondents agreed these facts, including the reported decrease in plastic pollution due to work by Save Our Shores, and the ratio of plastic pollution to other types of ocean pollution as observed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, were near equally compelling in causing them to be “much more likely to support the ban”. Furthermore, 46 percent answered that they were “much more likely to support a 10 cent fee on paper bags” after being told that Carmel, the only nearby city to not include a fee on paper bags with their plastic bag ban, saw no increase in reusable bag usage.
15 percentof those polled self-identified as local merchants. Among this group, 61 percent said that they would vote “definitely yes” on a plastic bag ban, and 48 percent stated that they would vot “definitely yes” on a 10 cent fee for paper bags. Opposition to both measures was slightly higher among this group than the general population, but still remained low.
Civinomics gathered responses from 378 residents of Scotts Valley. Respondents were randomly drawn from a list of registered voters and interviewed directly through door-to-door surveys using iPads. The poll was conducted over 22 days and had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent. 74 percent of those interviewed stated that they have lived in Santa Cruz County for over 10 years. 82 percent stated that they were homeowners.