By Eric Florip, April 15, 2013, The Columbian
Clark County residents are deeply divided on the Columbia River Crossing, with neither supporters nor opponents claiming a clear majority of public opinion, according to a scientific poll commissioned by The Columbian this month.
A total of 46 percent of respondents said they support the CRC, with 45 percent against after being told the project’s cost and that users would pay a toll. The remaining 9 percent were undecided.
And despite many CRC opponents hammering an anti-light rail drumbeat, the poll showed there may actually be slim support for it: 49 percent of respondents said they’d favor light rail as part of a new Interstate 5 Bridge, compared to 43 percent opposed. Seven percent answered “don’t know.”
The results come as Washington state lawmakers prepare to make a crucial funding decision on the CRC.
“If I’m a decision maker … this is not something that, from a political standpoint, I’m ready to run up in front of,” said Bob Moore, president of Moore Information, which conducted the poll.
Further, only about half of Clark County residents most affected by chronic traffic congestion on Interstate 5 — those who cross the bridge at least several times a week — say they support its proposed replacement.
“This is not an overwhelming margin for the CRC,” Moore said.
Columbia River Crossing officials were unwilling to comment on the poll results. Likewise, U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, declined to comment by phone without seeing the full poll results in writing.
The poll surveyed 400 adults in Clark County through land line and cell phone interviews between April 2-4. Respondents came from all zip codes of the county, each reflecting the same percentage of the poll’s sample size as their percentage of Clark County’s overall population, Moore said.
The poll’s sampling error is plus or minus 5 percent.
Second of a three part series. Sunday: Competing political wills block the way. Tuesday: With or without the Columbia River Crossing, where do we go from here?