New polling results released by the Value of Water Campaign reveal that a reliable supply of safe water is the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds, surpassing inflation, crime, and the opioid crisis.
This is a finding of the Value of Water Campaign’s eighth annual national poll—The Value of Water Index. The poll tracks voters’ opinions and concerns about water infrastructure, climate, the environment, and other water issues. This year, the poll continued to seek insights into how Americans feel about the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as how water ranked in comparison with other issue areas Americans believe the federal government should tackle.
This year’s poll found that ensuring a reliable supply of water and addressing water contamination were just ahead of economic priorities. Of 10 options given, ensuring a reliable supply of water received the greatest support with 85 percent of voters classifying it as extremely or very important. The second and third issues that received the greatest support were strengthening the economy, with 85 percent finding it extremely or very important (but with fewer voters finding it extremely important), and reducing inflation, with 84 percent finding it extremely or very important. The fourth issue was addressing water contamination, with 82 percent finding it extremely or very important.
The poll also uncovered that while awareness of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law hasn’t grown, once voters were informed, approval of the law continues to be broad and strong (voter approval in 2023 revealed 77 percent support, which is up from 75 percent in 2022). Support continues to cut across political parties, races, regions, genders, income levels, and ages.
“We’re pleased to see that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has maintained support among the majority of American voters,” says Mami Hara, CEO of the U.S. Water Alliance. “The discrepancy between voter awareness and voter support is a fantastic opportunity for all of us in the sector to increase our messaging on the Law’s content and potential impacts, whether that’s sharing resources on how to access these funds or communicating successes of infrastructure projects and practices made possible by the Law.”
Other poll toplines indicate that while voters’ ratings of their local and national water infrastructure remain relatively high, voters’ positive perception of water infrastructure has been steadily eroding. In addition, voters support government-led water affordability programs, and majorities would pay more to ensure clean, safe, and affordable water services for their communities.
This poll of more than 1,000 American voters was conducted between March 22 and March 29, 2023, by the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates (D) and New Bridge Strategy (R).
Source: Value of Water Campaign