As political conventions divide, here is one issue state agrees on —

As political conventions divide, here is one issue state agrees on

By Sharon Pian Chan
Seattle Times

As Republicans spend the week at the party's national convention defining differences between the GOP and the Democrats, it turns out Washington state's voters aren't that far apart on the issue of land conservation.

Public Opinion Strategies, a national Republican polling firm, surveyed 8th Congressional District voters earlier in August and found that regardless of whether they lived east or west of the Cascades, they overwhelmingly support land conservation. Out of the 400 people surveyed, 84 percent believe public lands such as local and national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife areas are good for Washington state. Here are the 8th Congressional District poll results.

The 8th Congressional District currently covers the Eastside, including Bellevue and Snoqualmie. In 2012, the district will change to cover more of central Washington, including Chelan County. The poll surveyed people in the current district as well as voters in Chelan County, so it reflects the sentiments of the redrawn district. Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican, currently serves the district. He is running for re-election against Democrat Karen Porterfield in the general election on Nov. 6. (Our editorial board recommended voting for Reichert.)

Land preservation, a value we associate with left-leaning groups such as the Sierra Club, appears to be an issue that runs purple. Seven in 10 describe themselves as "conservationists." Seventy-one percent of people surveyed said that even with federal budget problems, the government should not cut funds to safeguard land, air and water. Seventy-six percent agreed that protecting and preserving parks and forests is one of the things government does best. A majority believes that public lands benefit the economy.

The point is: There is more in this state — and country — to unite than divide us. We're not either a Shark or a Jet. We're not either for Drake or Chris Brown. (I'm for neither.) This year's political conventions are singularly focused on dredging a deeper chasm between Americans. Paul Ryan took the stage Wednesday evening in Tampa, Fla., accusing President Obama of "just throwing away money." More divisions are likely to be drawn at the Democratic convention, led by President Barack Obama, a man who once championed the politics of purple.

Read the complete story at Seattle Times
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