Clean | Green | Sustainable

New poll shows western voters support environmental protections

Posted by Matthew Koehler on February 24, 2011

A new bi-partisan poll of inter-mountain West voters shows that a strong majority (77%) believe that environmental standards and a strong economy can coexist. The findings, from the first-ever Conservation in the West Survey, reveal differences and many points of agreement among voters on issues such as conservation, regulations, renewable energy and other environmental issues.

The poll, conducted by Lori Weigel at Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm), measured environmental attitudes of 2,200 voters in the five Western states January 23-27, 2011. The survey is being released by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project, which, for the past eight years, has worked to increase public understanding of vital issues affecting the Rockies through annual report cards, free events, discussions and other activities.

“This research underscores an interesting and important trend in these five states,” said Walt Hecox, Ph.D., professor at Colorado College and director of the State of the Rockies Project. “While there are differences of opinion on a range of issues, there are true common values shared between each state, including a commitment to protect the important natural resources that make this region so unique.”

Click here to view the executive summary or entire report.

Below are some interesting Montana-specific findings, especially in the context of the current gutting/eliminating/slashing of environmental protection laws and regulations by the GOP majorities in Helena.

As part of efforts to improve the state economy and generate jobs as quickly as possible, some people have proposed reducing protections on land, air and water that apply to major industries, including construction and agriculture. Would you prefer that:
• Montana reduce protections for land, air and water that apply to major industries: 20%
• Montana maintain protections for land, air and water that apply to major industries: 73%

Even with state budget problems, we should still find money to protect Montana’s land, water and wildlife.
• Strongly or somewhat agree: 81%
• Strongly or somewhat disagree: 16%

We should ensure that undeveloped, public lands in Montana are kept in their natural state.
• Strongly or somewhat agree: 75%
• Strongly or somewhat disagree: 20%

We need to do more to ensure oil, gas and mining companies follow laws protecting our land, air and water.
• Strongly or somewhat agree: 76%
• Strongly or somewhat disagree: 22%

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