Four out of every 10 Hispanics in California see regional air quality as a major problem, joining blacks in expressing the most concern about the issue, a survey showed.

According to a statewide survey published Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, blacks (42 percent) and Hispanics (41 percent) were more likely than Asians (28 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (19 percent) to cite regional air pollution as a big problem.

Half of Californians, meanwhile, see air pollution as a more serious health threat in lower-income areas than in other parts of the state, the poll found, with Latinos (66 percent) and blacks (64 percent) more likely to hold this view than Asians (55 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (37 percent).

When asked about changes in air quality over time, 61 percent of Latinos and blacks said air pollution is worse today than 10 years ago, while the proportion of Asians (46 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (30 percent) giving that assessment was lower.
Meanwhile, two out every three Hispanics and 76 percent of blacks said they had cut down on their automobile use due to the high cost of gasoline, while the proportion of non-Hispanic whites (55 percent) and Asians (54 percent) who drove less was smaller.

With respect to global warming, the percentages of Latinos and blacks who said they were very concerned about its possible impacts on the state, including more severe wildfires and droughts and increased air pollution and flooding, were larger than those of non-Hispanic whites or Asians.

In the case of non-Hispanic whites, less than half were very concerned about any of those possible consequences.

Latinos were the group most likely to say the effects of global warming were already underway (68 percent), followed by blacks (65 percent), non-Hispanic whites (57 percent) and Asians (53 percent).

More than 60 percent of blacks and Hispanics said that global warming represents a very serious threat to California, compared with fewer than 40 percent of Asians and whites.

A higher proportion of blacks and Latinos (69 percent each) also backed immediate state action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while a much smaller majority of whites and Asians said the state should act right away.

When asked whether the state should make its own policies to address the threat of global warming, a majority of Hispanics (57 percent) were in agreement, with that group expressing the same amount of support as whites but less than Asians (65 percent) and more than blacks (49 percent).

"Californians are holding steady in the belief that global warming is underway and threatens the state's future," Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the PPIC, said.
"In the wake of federal inaction on the issue, they strongly support the state's climate change policies. With unemployment high, many also see a potential for job creation," he added.

More than 2,500 California residents were interviewed by phone in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese for the survey, which was conducted from July 5-19 and has a margin of error of roughly 3 percent.

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