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At least four in 10 Californians are skeptical of global warming. They’re split on whether sexual orientation is innate or chosen. Most question whether the four-year college experience is “worth it” anymore. And most believe that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency in November.

This is a sampling of recent findings by California Speaks (CALSPEAKS), the new statewide public-opinion polling project of Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research (ISR). It’s the only probability-based survey panel in the state to focus on the attitudes and perceptions of California’s residents. The specific stats cited above are from surveys conducted in February and March 2016, with 785 and 715 California respondents, respectively.

“The mission of CALSPEAKS is to amplify the voices of Californians on important issues facing our state, to raise awareness, and to help make public policy more responsive,” says ISR Director David Barker. “We envision being the primary source of information for media, government, and academic researchers who want to really understand what Californians think – and why.”

The nonpartisan, nonprofit CALSPEAKS and its survey panel, made up of researchers from Sacramento State, UC Davis, and other universities, poll Californians for their thoughts on social, economic, political, and environmental issues facing the state.

“Our team of CALSPEAKS survey researchers is unmatched,” Barker says. “We have literally hundreds of years of combined experience collecting and analyzing survey data, using the most rigorous methods available.”

Since its launch in August 2015, CALSPEAKS has surveyed about 2,000 residents about their attitudes regarding higher education, water use, and politics.

Upcoming surveys will query Californians on such matters as the 2016 presidential election, immigration policies, marijuana legalization, the drought, prison realignment, and e-cigarette use.

CALSPEAKS has contracted with California Counts, a consortium of four National Public Radio stations, including Sacramento’s Capital Public Radio, to provide election polling for the presidential election.

This fall, ISR plans to launch a Sacramento-centric version of CALSPEAKS to further amplify the voices of local residents on local issues.

For more information about the Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State and its survey platforms: csus.edu/isr/CALSPEAKS. – Dixie Reid