Opinion Polls


You will conduct in-person surveys of the general public across our region to assess current opinions about and general behaviors relating to various aspects of our coastal zone and our management of coastal resources.

We conduct this activity at the very start of our class as our findings will improve our discussions of a wide variety of topics we will cover throughout the semester.


Goal1: Quantify opinions about and attitudes towards coastal zone resources.

Goal2: Quantify various behaviors going on within the coastal zone.

Surveying the General Public


Since 2005, your ESRM 462 predecessors have conducted our annual CSUCI Survey of Public Opinion of Coastal Resources across Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.  This survey helps us better understand public sentiment surrounding coastal and marine resources and our stewardship of those resources.  For this project, you will keep our tradition going by individually administering questionnaires to members of the general public.  This activity has been approved by our Institutional Review Board (the entity on campus which governs all research on human subjects…yes, even asking someone a question requires approval).


Over the course of the month of September, you will administer two different public opinion survey instruments:

  • our Refugio Oil Spill Poll (Spill Poll v6.1) to at least 40 people on beaches
  • and our standard Coastal Opinion Poll (v9.10) to at least 40 people in public spaces

Our class typically administers only a single survey instrument over the course of this activity, but the 2015 Refugio Spill has offered you up a unique opportunity to explore changing public attitudes over an unfolding coastal management crisis.  As part of our work documenting Refugio Spill impacts, we administered several hundred short surveys (instruments with only 22 questions) to beach-goers across our region (Spill Poll v6.1) from the last week of May through the end of June 2015, corresponding to the peak and just post-peak tarring of our local beaches.  You will be administering that exact survey again in September.  This will allow you to test whether public opinion and behaviors of beach-goers changed over the intervening three months.

After we have administered these Refugio Oil Spill Surveys, we will shift gears slightly and turn our attention to administering our longer, routine Coastal Opinion Polls.  These polls are administered anywhere in a public space (not necessarily restricted to the beach as with our Refugio Spill polling).

Once we esults from each year’s survey are incorporated into the course and provide various points of departure for discussions revolving around coastal management. this survey was originally not intended for use outside CSUCI classrooms. however, after repeated requests from various coastal managers for summaries of the polling data, annual sampling (from 144 surveys in 2005 to 1,486 in 2010) and scope of questioning were greatly expanded after the 2007 survey (table 1).

Administering Your Polls

Survey respondents will all be volunteers (meaning we will not compensate them for their time) whom you haphazardly encounter either on the beach (Refugio Spill polling) or at other public places (malls, parks, etc.; Coastal Opinion polling) during daylight hours.  We will do our best to spread out our surveying across all three counties, but understand that we tend to oversample Ventura County given the location of our CSUCI campus.  Within any given survey location, individuals selected to survey should be selected haphazardly.  Will will not exceed a maximum number of people surveyed per site (no more than 15 people per beach for our Refugio Spill Surveys and no more than 20 people per survey location for our Coastal Opinion Polls).  Pollsters refer to this type of sampling as non-probability quota sampling (e.gConnaway and Powell 2010; you can see relevant definitions from the 3rd edition of this book online here).  By limiting the number of surveys from any single site we minimize potential bias/sampling error from such non-probability sampling (Fink 2003).  Specific beach sampling locations will mirror sites we monitoring earlier this summer (see ).  Sampling locations for our Coastal Opinion Polls will be selected randomly from among publicly accessible areas (malls, parks, etc.) across the tri-county region.


When first encountering someone you would like to survey, please announce that your are a student and this is part of an undergraduate class you are taking here at CSU Channel Islands.  The header on our survey instrument will also help explain what you are doing (see those below).

Refugio Spill Poll


This survey is one part of our efforts at CSU Channel Islands to document the effects of the May 19 Refugio Oil Spill. Thank you for consenting to participate by completing this brief, anonymous questionnaire.  It takes approximately 3 minutes to finish and will help us gauge public attitudes and behaviors following the spill.  If you have any questions or are interested in our results, please contact our professor Dr. Sean Anderson (Sean.Anderson@csuci.edu).  Thank you again!


Public Opinion Poll


We are conducting a public opinion poll as part of our class at California State University Channel Islands.  Thank you for consenting to participate by completing this brief questionnaire.  The survey takes approximately 9 minutes to finish.  It will be used to gauge public opinion about topics we are discussing in our class.  If you have any questions or are interested in our results, please contact our professor Dr. Sean Anderson (Sean.Anderson@csuci.edu).  Thank you again!


While this assignment is designed to get you out and speaking to the general public, you should not be engaging in any topic-based discussions prior to someone’s completing a survey.  Reserve such discussions for after they have finished filling out the poll.  At that point, this is a great opportunity for you to work on your professional communication skills and take the pulse of the attitudes held by your fellow citizens (if they have the time).  .

Survey Suggestions

  • Wear a CSUCI t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, etc. while surveying
  • Bring several clipboards and pens so as to be able to conduct several surveys simultaneously
  • Consider selecting locations that represent the diversity of our region (e.g. if you sample a coffee house first, try a library or car wash next)
  • Conduct your surveys ASAP.  Don’t wait until your deadline is approaching.
  • Download the Google Sheet data file, enter your data offline, and then select only the relevant rows you just entered and paste that data back into the Google Sheet.


Poll Data Submission Deadlines

1st: 10 Refugio Spill surveys due 11:59PM, September 9th

2nd: 15 more Refugio Spill surveys (= total of 25 entered) due 11:59 PM, September 16th

3rd: All 40 Refugio Spill surveys due 11:59 PM, Sept. 28th

4th: 40 Coastal Opinion (v 7.1 or 7.2) surveys due 11:59 PM, Oct. 10th


Entering Your Poll Data


Data Analysis

Once all our class data has been entered, pooled, and QA/QC’d you will be ready to start exploring the results.  You will summarize the current public perceptions of our coastal resource and their management in a two-page write-up. In addition to your text, you will produce two professional, scientific graphs to support your assertions.  We will be using Plotly for our graphing.


Refugio Oil Spill Instrument (v6.1)

Coastal Opinion Instrument (v7.2)

Beach Survey Targets (click here to go to the Google Sheet itself to edit):

Coastal Opinion Poll Assignments: Fall 2015
last updated 9-9-15
County 2015 Beach# Beach Max Tarring Score June 2015 Any Tar in June 2015? June 2015 Surveys Sept 2015 Surveys Assigned
SB 7 Gaviota 0 0 2 Christine
SB 8 Refugio 6 1 20 Michaela
SB 9 El Capitan 6 1 Michaela
SB 10 Haskell's 4 1 8 10 Sean C.
SB 11 Ellwood 4 1 1 10 Sean C.
SB 12 Coal Oil Point 6 1 7 Christine
SB 13 Depressions 4 1 1 Michaela
SB 14 MSI 2 1 7 Michaela
SB 15 Goleta 0 0 13 Sean C.
SB 16 Hendry's 0 0
SB 17 Leadbetter 0 0 8 12 Christine
SB 18 Santa Barbara W East 0 0 9
SB 19 Santa Barbara East (Mission) 2 0 11 8 Christine
SB 20 Carpinteria 2 1 16 Christine
Vent 21 Rincon 2 1 4 5 Amber
Vent 22 La Conchita 1 1 1 5 Amber
Vent 23 Hobson 1 1 3 5 Amber
Vent 24 Solimar 1 1 4 Amber
Vent 25 Ventura (San Pedro) 4 1 2 11 Amber
Vent 26 Marina Park 2 1 Amber
Vent 27 Santa Clara River Mouth 4 1 3 Amber
Vent 28 5th Street 4 1 Amber
Vent 29 Hollywood 2 1 3 Amber
Vent 30 Silverstrand 1 1 18 Amber
Vent 31 Heuneme 1 1 Tyler
Vent 32 Ormond (Halaco) 2 1 1 Vanessa / Aspen
Vent 33 Ormond (Arnold) 2 1 3 1 Christine
Vent 34 Point Mugu 1 1 6 8 Tyler
Vent 35 Sycamore 2 1 4 22 Tyler & Mandy
Vent 36 Deer Creek 0 1 4 Mandy
Vent 38 County Line 1 1 5 Mandy
LA 39 Leo Carrillo 1 1 12 Sean C.
LA 40 El Pescador 1 1 15 Vanessa / Aspen
LA 41 El Matador 4 1 14 15 Vanessa / Aspen
LA 42 Broad Beach 2 0 Vanessa / Aspen
LA 43 Zuma 2 1 36 10 Susana
LA 44 Paradise Cove 1 1 2 Mandy
LA 45 Malibu Lagoon 2 1 5 Mandy
LA 46 Gladstone's 1 1 Vanessa / Aspen
LA 47 Santa Monica 2 1 1 10 Susana
LA 48 Playa Del Rey 1 1 1
LA 49 Dockweiler 2 1 1 Susana
LA 50 Manhattan 4 1 1 Susana
Orange Ocean Institute (Dana Point) 6
June 2015
94 Santa Barbara
54 Ventura
72 Los Angeles
6 Orange

Summary of Previous Data: Anderson 2012



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