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The Times Poll : L.A. Splits Down Ethnic Line on Issues

June 21, 1987|KEVIN RODERICK | Times Staff Writer

Among the two largest minority groups, blacks expressed more frustration with their state of affairs. Blacks were less certain that the Fire Department would answer their calls and that the streets would be cleaned. Among blacks, 62% said the quality of life in Los Angeles has slipped in recent years, contrasted with 52% for whites and 46% for Latinos.

People from all walks of life said they believe that there are too many immigrants in Los Angeles. Even people who call themselves liberals said--by a 55% to 31% margin--that the area has absorbed too many immigrants. Across the entire county, 62% of people polled said there has been too much immigration.

Racial Frustration

Like most other issues, however, this one also showed evidence of the racial frustration that divides Los Angeles.

Half of Latinos, who account for most new arrivals and have the most contact with immigrants, told the poll that they, too, believe that there are too many immigrants. But at the same time, Latinos said by a 3-2 margin that Latino influence has made Los Angeles a better place.

But 66% of whites said there are too many immigrants and said by a nearly 4-1 margin that Latino immigrants have detracted, rather than added, to the quality of life in Los Angeles.

Among blacks, 55% said there are too many immigrants and, by a margin of about 2 to 1, said Latinos have changed Los Angeles for the worse.

Residents were about evenly split on the bus service provided by the Southern California Rapid Transit District. But among those of lower income, who presumably ride the buses most, the service was widely praised.

New Agency Backed

The RTD's reputation suffered most among people of higher income who do not rely on buses for daily transportation. But the poll found wide support at all income levels for the new transit super-agency that state legislators are pondering as a replacement for the RTD, which has been criticized frequently for its management.

The RTD's biggest project--the Metro Rail transit line--was favored by more than 2 to 1. The level of support, 55% in the entire county, has dropped only slightly since the Reagan Administration cut funding and forced the project to be started as a 4.4-mile segment near downtown instead of an 18-mile line to the San Fernando Valley.

VIEWS OF LOS ANGELES These results are from Los Angeles Times Poll questions asked of 923 Los Angeles city residents and of 1,132 living in areas of Los Angeles County outside the city between June 13-17. Answers will not total 100% in all cases.


Residents were asked whether over the last 15 years, they believed the qualityof life had gotten better or worse:

City of Rest of Whites Blacks Latinos L.A. County Better 21% 18% 27% 21% 24% Unchanged 20% 17% 20% 20% 21% Worse 52% 62% 46% 53% 48%


These were differences among racial groups to perceived problems in the area:

City of Rest of Whites Blacks Latinos L.A. County Crime 32% 61% 43% 43% 36% Growth/Traffic 30% 8% 18% 22% 26% Environment Homeless 11% 8% 9% 7% 12%

Residents were asked whether they feel safe walking at night:

City of Rest of Valley Central South West L.A. County Safe 51% 39% 25% 53% 42% 61% Unsafe 46% 57% 69% 46% 54% 36%

Residents were asked whether it would be better to have more commercial development or slower growth and more limits:

City of Rest of Whites Blacks Latinos L.A. County Faster Growth 29% 64% 58% 42% 41% Slower Growth 61% 28% 29% 46% 49%


Residents were asked whether there are "too many immigrants" in the area:

City of Rest of Whites Blacks Latinos L.A. County Yes 66% 55% 50% 55% 62%

Residents were asked whether the Latino life style and sense of values have changed the area for better or worse:

Whites Blacks Latinos Better 11% 16% 30% Worse 39% 33% 22% No Effect 27% 25% 28%


Residents were asked to rate the job done by members of their government:


Approve 35% Disapprove 19% Not Aware 36%


Approve 31% Disapprove 16% Not Aware 42%

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