Good news from a recent poll of Western voters carried out by Republican and Democratic polling firms: voters across the political spectrum appreciate the economic and heritage benefits of parks and other public lands, they favor protecting clean air, and they want to see more renewable energy developed.
Colorado College released its Conservation in the West poll today. The polling firms Public Opinion Strategies (Republican) and FM3 (Democratic) surveyed 2,400 registered voters in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
What did the pollsters find? Two-thirds of Western voters identify themselves as “conservationists.” Those numbers held whether people consider themselves Tea Party supporters or don’t, and regardless of which media they rely on for information about current events, whether it’s Fox News or the Daily Show.
Nearly 80 percent agreed that it’s not necessary to choose between a strong economy and protecting land and water. Those numbers largely held for Republicans, Democrats, independents, and Tea Party supporters.
Huge majorities, from 85 to 97 percent, view public lands as essential to their states’ economies.
More than 80 percent want their states to continue funding land, water, and wildlife protection, even as states face budget pressures.
By a 2 to 1 margin, voters perceive environmental regulations as health and property protections rather than economic burdens.
By a greater than 2 to 1 margin, voters don’t believe that suspending environmental laws within 100 miles of U.S. borders is necessary for securing the borders against illegal entry.
Majorities in all states–even in coal-rich Montana and Wyoming–prefer expanding renewable energy use to expanding fossil fuel extraction in order to meet America’s energy needs.
Substantial majorities in all six states support EPA’s updating of Clean Air Act standards.
The message is clear: regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum, Western voters value public lands, support clean air protection, and want to see expanded use of renewable energy.