East-West residents agree on conservation

August 15, 2012

New poll finds 84% of voters in Washington’s geographically-divided new 8th Congressional District agree on importance of preservation, public lands

Wenatchee, Wash. — Findings from a just released new poll show voters in Washington’s geographically-divided new 8th Congressional District say that public lands have a net positive impact on tourism and the economy more broadly, and strongly support conservation of and funding for public lands.

“Voters throughout this district – in Eastern Washington or West of the Cascades, Republicans or Democrats – share a strong conservation ethic,” said pollster Lori Weigel, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, the largest Republican polling firm in the country. “Residents get out and recreate on the land at rates far higher than the national average; say that natural features of the land and their access to outdoor recreation are one of the things they like best about living in this area; and demonstrate a strong desire for public officials to uphold these values in the policies they advocate.”

The survey of likely 2012 voters throughout the 8th Congressional district was conducted July 24-31, and tested voter attitudes on a range of conservation issues, including support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — a federal grant program facing critical budget cuts in the U.S. Congress – and the state Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP).

Heading into the height of campaign season, the data also highlights that voters consider conservation issues when determining their support for a public official. Four-in-five throughout the District say conservation is important in their decision-making.

Key findings (Poll memo here):

  • With strong support across the political spectrum, 84% of voters overwhelmingly say that public lands are good for the state — they support our economy; provide opportunities to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors; and enhance our overall quality of life.
  • They reject arguments that public lands are a negative for the state by taking land off the tax rolls and preventing the creation of jobs in traditional industries like logging.
  • Seven in 10 District voters describe themselves as “conservationists.” District residents exceed the national average in their participation in six outdoor recreation activities, including hiking, camping and viewing wildlife.
  • Seven-in-ten (71%) say that we can protect land and water and have a strong economy with good jobs at the same time, without having to choose one over the other.
  • Over two-thirds (67%) of 8th District voters reject the idea that Washington State has enough public lands.
  • 86% agree that we have a moral responsibility to care for God’s creation.
  • Support in this district is on par with that nationally for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with four-in-five (85%) supporting the non-taxpayer funded program.
  • 71% agree that even with federal budget problems, funding to safeguard land, air and water should not be cut.
  • Moreover, two-thirds of voters support increased funding for the state’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program (WWRP).

“The results of this poll confirm what we’ve always known – that the importance of conservation and protection of our outdoor recreation opportunities is what unites us as Washingtonians,” says Joanna Grist, Director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “Preserving our land means preserving the recreation economy that thousands of local small businesses, especially in rural areas, rely on across the state.”

A complete polling memo can be found here.


About Public Opinion Strategies

Public Opinion Strategies is the largest Republican polling firm in the country. Since the firm’s founding in 1991, they have completed more than 10,000 research projects, interviewing more than five million Americans across the United States. Public Opinion Strategies’ research is well respected, and prestigious media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CNBC, and National Public Radio rely on Public Opinion Strategies to conduct their polling. The firm conducts polling on behalf of hundreds of political campaigns, as well as trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and industry coalitions throughout the nation.

About the Coalition

The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition (WWRC) is a non-profit citizens group founded in a historic bipartisan effort by former Governors Dan Evans and Mike Lowry. A diverse group of over 250 organizations representing conservation, business, recreation, hunting, fishing, farming, and community interests, the Coalition’s breadth and diversity helps secure a level of funding for parks and habitat that individuals could not achieve alone.