September 2023 Poll Results

Last Updated: October 18, 2023

GrowSF’s goal is to listen, learn, and grow. That’s why we run a statistically significant, city-wide poll every quarter and publish the results. We want to know how voters feel and we want you to know, too!

These polls will inform the endorsements made in our voter guide: we want to endorse candidates and propositions that support the changes San Franciscans already want. Local elections affect our day-to-day lives and some races are won by just 100 votes!

The Direction of San FranciscoThe Direction of San Francisco
The question: Would you say things in San Francisco are going in the right direction, or would you say they are off on the wrong track?
0%Wrong track
0%Right direction

The direction over time

The question: Which of the following would you say best describes the current challenges facing San Francisco?
Not a problem (2%)
A minor problem that we can fix (2%)
A significant problem that we can fix (31%)
A serious crisis that we can fix (51%)
A serious crisis that cannot be solved (13%)
Taken as a whole, this means 86% of us believe that San Francisco can be fixed.
0%believe San Francisco can be fixed
0%believe our challenges can NOT be solved
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

Unfortunately, more than half of those polled believe that San Francisco is going in the wrong direction. We hope that by diving in more we can understand the core drivers of this dissatisfaction.

The good news is that while San Francisco faces some serious issues, the vast majority of voters – 86 percent – believe our problems are solvable! San Franciscans are an optimistic bunch, and we know that the City government can, and must, do a better job.

The Mayoral raceThe Mayoral race
The question: Is your impression of each candidate generally favorable or unfavorable?
Mayor London Breed
San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin (rumored)
San Francisco Supervisor Ahsha Safai
Daniel Lurie
Very favorable
Somewhat favorable
Somewhat unfavorable
Very unfavorable
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

The Mayoral race is heating up, but Mayor Breed is the clear favorite.

Rumors are swirling that Supervisor Aaron Peskin will enter the race, but his low favorability and role in eroding Mayoral power make us wonder why.

Daniel Lurie's exceptionally low name recognition might give him an opportunity to define his public persona, for better or for worse, or he may be unable to raise his name ID enough to win.

We predict it will be an uphill battle for them all, and it's Mayor Breed's race to lose.

Government approvalGovernment approval
The question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is doing?
The question: Do you approve or disapprove of the job London Breed is doing as mayor of San Francisco?
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

People have clearly lost faith in their elected officials. Fewer than one-third of voters polled have any confidence in either the Mayor or the Board of Supervisors. These kinds of low numbers typically predict big shifts in upcoming elections.

The Top (and bottom) issues The Top (and bottom) issues
The question: Do you think each issue below is an extremely serious problem, a very serious problem, somewhat serious problem, or not too serious a problem?
The Top Five Extremely / Very Serious Problems
84%Open air drug use
81%Fentanyl dealing
79%Crime and lack of safety
79%Cost of housing
The Bottom Five Extremely / Very Serious Problems
39%Jobs & Unemployment
36%The availability of parking
27%Traffic congestion
26%A lack of access to public transportation
17%Too much construction
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

It shouldn’t be terribly surprising that quality of life issues are the most pressing for San Franciscan voters. Homelessness and fentanyl top the charts followed by crime and cost of housing. These issues impact our daily lives and how we feel moving about the city, and we shouldn’t have to accept them as a fact of city life.

For all the noise on social media about transit and parking, in reality these issues just aren’t that serious to most voters. We’re especially glad to see that “Too much construction” comes in dead last among voters’ concerns. We can and should build more homes!

The question: Do you support or oppose increasing the number of shelters for homeless people in San Francisco?
The question: Would you support or oppose building a homeless shelter within a quarter-mile of your home?
The question: Would you support or oppose making some homeless shelters available only to people who are not actively using drugs or alcohol?
The question: Should people who are homeless, and also addicted to drugs or alcohol, be required to enter substance abuse treatment in order to obtain housing or other services?
The question: Some have proposed that if people are suffering from a mental health crisis on the streets, they should be held without their consent at medical facilities to undergo an evaluation by psychiatric staff. Do you support of oppose this proposal?
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

Voters are tired of people living in crisis on our streets. Voters want people who receive housing and supportive services to undergo drug and alcohol abuse treatment. And they overwhelmingly support holding people without their consent if they are experiencing a mental health crisis on the streets. Voters are sometimes contradictory, though: they want to build more homeless shelters, but not necessarily near their homes.

The bottom line: Voters are compassionate people but demand that the root causes are addressed instead of letting people waste away on the street. We wonder if more people would be willing to have shelters near them if they were sober facilities. We will dig into this more.

The question: Do you support or oppose arresting and prosecuting fentanyl dealers?
The question: Do you support or oppose arresting and prosecuting people who are using fentanyl, meth, or heroin in public?
The question: Would you prefer that people arrested for public drug use be sent to sobering centers which provide care to intoxicated people, jail, or somewhere else?
64%Sobering centers
13%Somewhere else
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

The message is clear that voters no longer tolerate San Francisco serving as a haven for drug users or dealers. Voters were nearly unanimous in supporting the arrest and prosecution of fentanyl dealers. And the vast majority were in favor of arresting and prosecuting public drug use and sending users to sobering centers. People want their streets clean and safe, but will elected officials listen?

The question: Have you been a victim of crime in the past year?
Followup Questions for the 25% who answered yes
The question: Have you been a victim more than once in the past year?
Demographic groups most likely to have been a victim of more than one crime included, in order:
Supervisorial District 9
Non-Chinese Asians/Pacific Islanders
Supervisorial District 5
The question: Did you report that crime or crimes to the police?
NOTE: Because these questions were only asked to the 25% of respondents who said "yes", the sample size for these question was just 114 people, yielding a margin of error of 9%.
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

According to our poll, crime remains a concern for voters. Over forty percent of those who experienced crime were repeat victims, with those living in District 9 (Hillary Ronen) and District 5 (Dean Preston) the most likely to be repeat victims.

Unfortunately, half of all victims didn’t report their crimes to the police. What’s the point of reporting crimes if nothing happens? We must fully staff our police to decrease wait times, and improve case resolutions.

The question: If there were a network of safe protected bike lanes across the city, would you be more likely to use a bike, e-bike, or scooter instead of drive on some local errands, or would it not make a difference?
43%More likely
46%No difference
The question: In your own words, is there anything that prevents you from using public transit in San Francisco more often than you currently do?
The Top Five Reasons Voters Don't Use Transit
24%Crime/safety/lack of security
13%Inconvenient/takes too long/slow
11%Schedule/hour of operation/frequency
10%I use public transit/it’s great/would use if needed
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

Voters are flexible with how they navigate our city and embrace different kinds of transportation. They are more likely to support using bikes when given safe routes. And they are willing to use public transit if it is safe, clean, and convenient.

Notably, concerns about the price of Muni (just 3% of respondents cited this) pale in comparison to concerns about its safety and cleanliness -- giving the SFMTA a clear mandate to focus on fare enforcement, cleanliness, safety, and improving the rider experience.

And, more good news for getting back to normal: just 1% of respondents cited COVID-19 as a reason for not using transit.

The question: How would you rate the quality of San Francisco public schools?
Excellent (3%)
Good (21%)
Only Fair (33%)
Poor (17%)
The question: Do you support or oppose giving all students in SFUSD schools the option to take algebra in 8th grade?
The question: Do you support or oppose requiring every San Francisco public high school to offer Advanced Placement classes which provide college credit?
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

Half of all voters feel that the quality of San Francisco public schools are subpar.

A vast majority of voters believe algebra should be offered in Eighth grade and even more support requiring AP classes in high school. We have to replace the School Board or suffer the consequences of holding our children back.

COVID-19 PrecautionsCOVID-19 Precautions
The question: Do you still take COVID-19 precautions, like wearing a mask when indoors in public?
16%Always/most of the time
26%Some of the time
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

COVID is officially over. It’s time to move on, get back to enjoying life, and investing in the city we love.

We predict this feeling will increase the willingness to return to in-office work and bring in more tourism & conferences.

The Tech IndustryThe Tech Industry
The question: Is your impression of the tech industry generally favorable or unfavorable?
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

Despite the pronouncements from the media and activists, the tech industry remains popular in San Francisco. We think that the city should capitalize on our city’s innovative spirit and welcome more tech companies to come to San Francisco!

The question: How would you describe yourself politically: are you progressive, liberal, moderate, or conservative?
The GrowSF TakeArrow Decorator

San Francisco has always espoused progressive values. But interestingly, more people identified as moderate or liberal than progressive. Voters are for common sense and pragmatism and understand that tough love is needed to make San Francisco a city that works and is livable for all.


September 16-21, 2023
Survey Type
Dual-mode voter survey
Research population
San Francisco voters
Total interviews
Margin of sampling error
±4.9% at the 95% confidence level
Contact methods
Telephone calls
Email invitations
Text invitations
Data collection modes
Telephone interviews
Online interviews
English and Chinese


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