From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):
In this election year, the 10th annual poll also found that four-fifths of those polled consider an elected official’s stance on issues involving water, air, wildlife and public lands to be important in deciding whether to support them, according to poll results issued Thursday. Forty-four percent call those factors a primary factor in their decision, up from 31 percent for states covered in the poll in 2016.
The poll found that two-thirds of respondents want their member of Congress to place more emphasis on protecting federal lands than on maximizing responsible oil and gas drilling and mining to produce more domestic energy…
The survey is a product of the college’s State of the Rockies Project. Four hundred registered voters were surveyed by phone in January in each of eight western states, including Colorado, for a total 3,200-person sample. The poll was conducted by Republican pollster Lori Weigel and Democratic pollster Dave Metz and has a margin of error of 2.65 percent overall and 4.9 percent in each state.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents were Republicans and 31 percent Democrats. Sixty-nine percent said they are conservationists. Sixty-two percent identified themselves as residents of cities or suburbs, and the rest as living in small towns or rural areas.
Respondents identified climate change as the first- or second-most-important environmental problem in each state surveyed (when adding up both climate change and global warming as concerns identified by those polled)…
Climate change/global warming as a top concern among respondents has increased dramatically over the poll’s 10 years, from 5 percent in 2011 to 32 percent today when comparing the five states polled in both years, and 35 percent today when accounting for all eight states surveyed. Thirty-six percent of respondents to this year’s poll identified pollution as a top concern. Water (29 percent) and energy/oil/gas (15 percent) ranked third and fourth among top environmental problems identified by those surveyed.
About two-thirds of surveyed voters in the eight states view climate change as a serious problem, up from 55 percent of those surveyed in 2011. Nearly three-quarters of respondents say they want their congressional representatives and state governors to have a plan to cut carbon pollution contributing to climate change, with majorities of Democrat, Republican and independent voters all voicing that view.
Sixty percent say action on climate change is needed. A majority of voters in every state polled except Wyoming backs gradually increasing the use of renewable energy sources to 100 percent, the poll found.
Metz said the degree to which climate change is becoming a more bipartisan concern is striking. He said some partisan polarization over the issue remains, with Democrats more likely to volunteer climate change as a major concern than independents or Republicans. But voters who were polled all ranked climate change among their top-three environmental concerns regardless of party, which Metz said suggests a growing consensus around the urgency of the issue.
From The Albuquerque Journal (Scott Turner):
Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., believes the U.S. is nearing “the tipping from where there is no return” when it comes to dealing with climate change and protecting the environment.
And a recent poll conducted in eight Western states indicates many share that opinion. Udall believes the results of the Conservation in the West Poll released Thursday should be a call to action among members of Congress. Almost 75% of the 3,200 people who participated in the poll in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming believe Congress should develop comprehensive plans to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.
“Policymakers in Washington have our marching orders,” Udall said during a press call about the poll, sponsored by the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project. “Public support for conservation and climate action is stronger than ever.”
Among the findings in the poll: 70% of New Mexico residents believe significant effects of climate change will occur within the next decade. A majority of participants in the poll considered pollution, climate change and water issues among their biggest concerns, although a person’s political views reflected the order. Among Democrats, 54% considered climate change the most important issue, followed by pollution at 37% and water at 30%. Pollution was the top issue among Republicans, at 33%, water at 27% and climate change at 16%. Independents equally listed pollution and climate change as their top issue, at 39%, followed by water.
The poll said 73% of voters favor a national goal to protect 30% of America’s land and ocean areas by 2030, with majority support across party lines for the conservation goal. Udall and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., support legislation that would work towards that goal.
“A movement is growing from the ground up, with Westerners of all political stripes clamoring for action to save our way of life, starting with a national conservation goal of protecting 30% of our natural land by 2030 to stave off a looming extinction crisis,” Udall said.
In response to a question from the Journal, the senator said plans to achieve that goal should be “state-, tribal- and community-specific.”
He indicated public land should be set aside from oil and gas drilling and mineral development, rather than allowing drilling up into the 30% point.
The poll said 67% of voters consider habitat conservation a priority for their elected officials over oil and gas drilling and mining. Over half of all voters – 52% – said that microplastics in rivers, streams and drinking water supplies are serious problems affecting public lands and public health.
Udall was critical of the Trump administration, saying “it has taken a hatchet to our nation’s proud conservation legacy.”
And the poll indicated voters were concerned about recent decisions to roll back Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act protections.
From The Center Square (Derek Draplin):
The poll, which surveyed 400 Arizona voters in January, found that 77 percent of respondents oppose “allowing new uranium mining claims on existing public lands next to the Grand Canyon National Park,” while 19 percent support allowing new uranium mining.
Climate change, pollution, and water issues were the top concerns for Arizonans, the poll found.
According to the poll, 72 percent of Arizona respondents consider themselves conservationists, and 80 percent said “issues involving clean water, clean air, wildlife and public lands are important in deciding whether or not to support an elected official.”
Sixty-six percent of Arizona respondents said “Inadequate water supplies” is a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem while 25 percent said it was a “somewhat serious” problem.
On the issue of “low level of water in rivers,” 62 percent said it was a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem and 21 percent said it was “somewhat serious.” Pollution of waterways was also of concern to Arizona respondents, with 50 percent saying “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem.
Despite their opinions of water issues, 38 percent view oil and gas drilling as “not a problem” for the environment while 34 percent believed it’s a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem. On climate change, 51 percent said it’s a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem.