State of the Rockies Project scores $175,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to assess attitudes about conservation in six Western states


Here’s the release from Colorado College (Leslie Weddell):

Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project has received a $175,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to conduct a poll assessing attitudes toward conservation in six Western states. 

The “Colorado College State of the Rockies 2012 Conservation in the West Poll” to be conducted in January 2012 expands on work that was begun in January 2011 with the first-ever such poll, when voters in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming were canvassed in a bipartisan poll. This year voters in Arizona also will be included.

Two polling firms, one Republican, the other Democrat, will use a bipartisan approach in developing topics to be covered and the wording of questions. Together, they will conduct a total of 2,400 randomly selected interviews, attempting to reach people via land lines and cell phones. The poll will be conducted in Spanish as well as English, and the firms used will be the same as last year, Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm), and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm).

Survey results will be released by Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project, which, for the past nine years, has worked to increase public understanding of vital issues affecting the Rockies through annual report cards, lectures, forums and other activities.

Key findings in last year’s poll included:

– 77 percent of respondents believe that stringent environmental standards and a strong economy can co-exist.

– 81 percent believe environmental laws should not be relaxed for oil, gas and mining companies.

– Three-quarters view wind and solar power as job creators and better energy sources than fossil fuels.

-Respondents overwhelmingly support paying up to $10 more a month for renewable energy use.

“These annual polls are becoming a valuable research tool to measure attitudes and opinions over time for the Rocky Mountain states,” says Walt Hecox, faculty director for the Rockies Project.

The focus of the 2011-12 State of the Rockies Project is “The Colorado River Basin- Agendafor Use, Restoration, and Sustainability for the Next Generation,” and seeks to bring a new perspective to the debates surrounding the multitude of issues and conflicts in the river basin.

The project began with a coordinated focus on the Colorado River Basin during summer 2011, conducted by student researchers. The results of this research are then coordinated with monthly talks by experts throughout the academic year, and the project culminates with a major conference in April 2012 and the publication of the 2012 State of the Rockies Report Card.

All State of the Rockies events are free and open to the public. More information about the project and the Conservation in the West polling effort are available at

More conservation coverage here.

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