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Traffic, schools, job loss cited as reasons for wanting to leave L.A., Times poll finds

July 10, 2009 |  7:59 am
About 40% of registered voters citywide told a Los Angeles Times poll that in the last two years they had “seriously thought about moving out of Los Angeles.” 

As The Times previously reported, the most commonly cited reason, by a large margin, was the cost of housing, cited by 46% of those who said they had thought about going. But the poll revealed some interesting differences among groups of voters: 

-- A third of the African American men who said they had considered leaving reported the loss of a job as their reason. The African Americans who said that loss of a job had caused them to think about leaving town were primarily men and those who do not have a college education. About twice as many men as women cited job loss as a motivator. 

-- Among voters 50 or older, traffic tied with the cost of housing as a reason for leaving; almost 4 in 10 cited those two reasons. That response probably reflects the fact that older Angelenos are more likely to remember a time when traffic was less of a burden. Older whites were particularly likely to mention traffic as a reason to leave L.A.

-- Voters in their 40s -- a group that tends to have children in high school -- were the most likely to cite public schools as a reason to leave. About one-quarter in that age group cited schools, which were cited by only about 1 in 6 voters overall. Public schools were more often cited by women than by men, particularly among black voters, a group in which almost no men cited that reason but one-fifth of women did.

-- Latinos were more likely than others to mention crime as a motivator for thoughts of leaving town. About 40% of Latinos who said they had thought of leaving cited crime, while 1 in 4 blacks did so and about 1 in 6 among whites or Asian Americans. Among blacks, fear of crime was another subject with a noticeable gender gap, with women considerably more likely to mention crime as a motivator. 

Among other racial and ethnic groups, that pronounced gender gap was absent. The poll, which was released last month, was conducted for The Times by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm, in conjunction with Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm.

The survey was conducted June 10 to 16 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for the full sample of 1,500 registered voters. The margin of error is larger for subgroups.

We’ve done several previous posts looking at aspects of the poll, including the racial divide on same-sex marriage; a look at who among Los Angeles voters calls themselves “conservative”; how the racial and ethnic divide among registered voters increasingly mirrors the city’s population; how cellphone users differ from land-line users; and President Obama’s popularity in the city.

-- David Lauter