In a recent poll of 501 likely voters commissioned by Ed Lee's re-election campaign and conducted by Oakland's EMC Research, 65% of respondents expressed a favorable opinion of "the local technology industry." By contrast, 20% registered an unfavorable opinion and 15% didn't have an opinion. In a followup question, 68% of those polled said they want Ed Lee to support the growth of the industry.
So, does this survey, as highlighted by the Chronicle, call into question the dominant narrative of the last two years that San Franciscans think tech is ruining the city? Some have been quick to point out that the poll of current San Franciscans naturally excludes those who've been forced by circumstance to leave the city. It also doesn't ask for opinions about tech's influence on culture or other aspects of life in San Francisco.
One thing's for sure: Everyone agrees that the cost of housing is the biggest problem facing the city. But, “Tech isn’t the bogeyman here,” Sean Clegg, a consultant for Lee’s re-election campaign, told the Chronicle. "It’s like blaming the ocean for the sea level rising.”
An end to knee-jerk tech bashing will likely make room for more nuanced questions about the real effects of the tech industry and its workers on our city. But is the poll confirmation of an attitudinal shift, or has the tech hate just been exaggerated in the media because the haters and their Google bus protests are louder and showier?
Not every company is an Uber, nor is every Stanford grad a "Stanford asshole." But, certainly, the city is changing, a lot of people fear or dislike that change, and the very obvious place to point the finger is at the booming industry that has brought the most new faces here in the last few years. And perhaps San Franciscans, at least the ones who can still afford live here, are learning to love tech again after all.