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Long Beach Elections : Typical L.B. Voter Is Older, Female, Educated and White

June 05, 1988|CHRIS WOODYARD | Times Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — If there is such a thing as a typical Long Beach voter, it would be an older, well-educated, white woman who commutes to work in an automobile and has lived in the city at least 20 years.

That theoretical profile emerged last month from data collected in a Los Angeles Times Poll. On May 8, poll officials placed random telephone calls to 621 city residents and found that most of the 440 who identified themselves as registered voters favored Ernie Kell over Jan Hall in Tuesday's mayoral runoff.

In the process, demographic details also painted a portrait of those voters. Although it may not be a mirror of the general population, this picture provides fresh evidence that Long Beach is shifting from its "Iowa-by-the-Sea" past and becoming a younger, more mobile, more diverse community. The poll, which has an error rate of plus or minus 5%, found that:

Nearly half of the voters surveyed have lived in Long Beach more than 20 years. But the next largest group--22%--have lived in the city five years or less.

Three out of five voters are older than 40, but an overwhelming number of those living in the city five years or less are younger.

Voters are well educated. Forty-five percent have at least some college education, and another third are high school graduates. One out of five never completed high school.

Three out of four of the voters surveyed are white, 8% are Latino, 5% are black and 11% are Asian and other.

Half of the voters surveyed commute to work in an automobile. Only 5% take a bus. More than a third do not worry about either; they don't have jobs that require regular commuting.

Two out of five commuters spend up to 30 minutes on the road getting to and from work every day. Another two in five spend 30 minutes to an hour, and one in five spends more than an hour.

Forty-three percent of the voters surveyed say they don't work. Many of these are retirees, since 56% of the voters surveyed are 65 or older.

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