According to the 2012 Colorado College State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll, voters view parks and public lands as essential to their state’s economy, and support upholding and safeguarding clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife. The poll surveyed 2,400 registered voters in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and found that swing voters in these key states nearly unanimously agree that public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are “an essential part” of their state’s economies and four in five voters believed that having a strong economy and protecting land and water as compatible.
The survey results showed strong approval ratings for most governors and that the electorate is indeed divided in fiercely-contested US Senate races in Montana and New Mexico, where swing voters are often pro-conservation. Western voters voiced strong support for continued funding of conservation, indicating that even with tight state budgets, they want to maintain investments in parks, water, and wildlife protection. In conjunction with 100 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, Colorado College economist and State of the Rockies project director Walt Hecox, PhD recently wrote to President Obama urging him to create and invest in new federal protected lands such as national parks, wilderness and monuments. Studies have shown that together with investment in education and access to markets, protected public lands are significant contributors to economic growth, reaffirming the attitudes of the surveyed voters. The 2012 Colorado College Conservation in the West survey is a bipartisan poll conducted by Republican pollster Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic pollster Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. For more information and to read the complete results of the poll, visit the Colorado College State of the Rockies website: http://www2.coloradocollege.edu/stateoftherockies/conservationinthewestsurvey_e.html