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Polls say SF voters both do and do not blame tech for housing

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You say “potato,” I say...

The news this week has been that, according to a poll of 400 likely San Francisco voters, people in the city blame the tech industry for the housing crisis.

That’s not quite the whole story, though.

The recent poll by Oakland-based EMC Research is pretty easy to parse on its own: When asked if the tech sector is to blame for high housing costs, 63 percent said yes. No surprises there.

Also, 53 percent said it was the city’s fault too for not building more. Plenty of blame to go around, it seems.

The San Francisco Chronicle and SFist both note that a pro-development group called Rise SF commissioned the query.

What’s really interesting, though, is that in 2015 EMC found that the majority of San Franciscans have a favorable opinion of the local tech industry.

Back then, a poll of 500 voters (commissioned by a consultant to Mayor Ed Lee) found that 65 percent of the city looked on the industry favorably. (Only 20 percent felt unfavorable.) And 68 percent said that the city should support further tech industry growth.

Note also that respondents in the very same poll said that the cost of housing was the city’s biggest problem.

Watchers of the ongoing presidential election know that it’s not unusual for the same pollster to turn up different results over time. In fact, if there’s no variation, you’re probably doing something wrong.

This is a pretty big swing, though. Technically, it’s not a contradiction if you have a favorable opinion of tech in general but to also think it’s the root of your city’s biggest problem.

But it is pretty weird.

So did the public turn on the tech set en masse in the nearly two years since EMC previously asked? Or is this another lesson in not trusting one poll at face value? We may have to wait for yet more polling to decide.