John Fairbank has more than thirty-five years’ experience in public opinion research and policy analysis, specializing in ballot measures and advising candidates on national, state, and local levels. As a founding partner of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, Mr. Fairbank has consulted for some of the most influential national clients in the areas of government, politics, education, business, non-profits, and labor.
John has been involved as the principal voter opinion researcher and strategic advisor to successful candidates across the country running for offices including the United States Senate and House of Representatives, as well as for governor, mayor, and other state and local offices. He has served as pollster for U.S. Senator Patty Murray of Washington since 1992. Among California’s congressional delegation, John currently serves as pollster for Representatives Cardenas, Correa, Garamendi, Panetta, Thompson, Torres, and Vargas. He has also helped elect numerous high-profile state and local elected officials throughout California, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and numerous current and former California legislators.
In addition to his work on candidate races, John works extensively on ballot propositions, initiatives, and referendums that focus on transportation, education, affordable housing, water, libraries, parks and recreation, conservation, health care, marijuana, and public safety – particularly state and local bond and special tax measures. In 2016, his research aided the passage of both Proposition 51, California’s $9 billion statewide school bond, and Proposition 56, the statewide tobacco tax increase, and helped Governor Jerry Brown defeat Proposition 53, a measure which threatened public funding for infrastructure projects throughout the state.
In education finance, John has helped community colleges and school districts win voter approval for over 200 bond and special tax measures. In total, these measures have provided more than $65 billion in funding for school construction and academic improvements. Noteworthy accomplishments include research that has led to voter approval of five school bond measures for the Los Angeles Unified School District, four bond measures for the Los Angeles Community College District, two school bond measures for the Long Beach Unified School District, and three bond measures for the Fresno Unified School District, among many others. In the November 2016 Presidential Election, his research aided the passage of local school finance measures in two dozen jurisdictions ranging in size from the Long Beach Unified School District ($1.5 billion) to the Caruthers Unified School District ($6 million).
John has been a leading observer of California voters’ attitudes regarding the liberalization of marijuana regulation for both medical and non-medical uses for more than two decades. In 1996, his research contributed to the victory of California’s landmark Proposition 215, which made California the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. He has provided research on local policies regarding marijuana regulation for more than 30 California cities, including Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Riverside, and Santa Ana, among many others.
Regarding water issues and the environment, John has conducted research and provided strategic advice for public education and social marketing campaigns, bonds measures, and programs that focus on water quality, supply and conservation, water recycling, and water infrastructure improvements. His research has helped organizations such as the Association of California Water Agencies, local agencies including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the West Basin Municipal Water District, and the Cities of Santa Monica and Culver City; as well as statewide bond campaigns such as California Propositions 1, 12, 13, 40, 50 and 84 to successfully change public behavior and fund capital projects that clean up storm water and dry weather run-off to protect and preserve lakes, rivers, bays, coastal waters, beaches, parks, and natural areas throughout California. Outside of California, John has also worked on water quality and water clean-up and protection program campaigns in Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay, and the Great Lakes.
In the transportation field, John has helped transportation and transit agencies raise billions of dollars for road, freeway, and highway projects and public transit expansion and improvements in more than a dozen counties in California and Washington State. His research played a critical role in the success of three half-cent transportation sales tax measures in Los Angeles County including Measure R in 2008 and Measure M in 2016. John served as the pollster for the successful effort for California’s sales tax on gas, and his statewide research played a key role in securing legislative approval for Governor Brown’s transportation funding package, SB-1, in April 2017.
John has also played a leading role in measuring and evaluating public opinion regarding California’s current housing affordability and homelessness crisis. His work has contributed to landmark ballot measure victories providing funding for affordable housing and homeless services in the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County in November 2016 (Proposition HHH) and March 2017 (Measure H), respectively, and his research played a critical role in the defeat of a well-funded anti-housing ballot initiative, Measure S, in the March 2017 Los Angeles municipal election.
In addition to his research for political and public agency clients, John has consulted for both business and non-profit sectors. He has worked for many leading companies and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, General Motors, NBC/Universal, Airbnb, and Mercury Insurance. In the non-profit sector, John has advised such organizations as The Nature Conservancy, the Writers Guild of America, the Trust for Public Land, the League of California Cities, the Building Industry Association of California, the California School Boards Association, the Association of California Counties, and the American Lung Association.
John graduated from UCLA and serves as a Senior Fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He lives in Los Angeles.