U.S. Water News Online
WASHINGTON -- Midwest voters of both parties are so
concerned about protecting clean air and water and conserving the
lands that help preserve water quality that they would support
additional taxes to pay for the preservation of these core 3quality
of life2 issues. Additionally, voters will strongly consider a
candidate1s stance on environmental protection in deciding whom to
support in November1s elections, according to a bipartisan poll
released by the Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy, two
national land and water conservation organizations.
The national poll revealed that the support for conservation shown
by Midwest voters, matches the strong support for issues by voters
across the country.
The poll, completed a week prior to Earth Day, shows that 65
percent of American voters surveyed said they were willing to support
small increases in taxes to pay for programs to protect water
quality, wildlife habitat and neighborhood parks.
Asked if a candidate1s positions on protecting water quality,
local parks, and wildlife areas are important factors in deciding
whom to vote for in November, 79 percent of the voters polled across
the country said "yes."
In the 17 states likely to be the most contested electoral states
in November, 77 percent said conservation issues will be "very" or
"somewhat" important in making their choices. The poll also found
particularly strong support for conservation among Latino voters,
with 77 percent willing to support new conservation funding measures.
"These results show that voters are willing to make a personal
investment to protect local lands and waterways and ensure clean air
and water," said Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land.
"For a decade, we have worked in communities across the nation on
ballot measures to create new public funding sources for open space,
and these funds &endash; local taxes and bonds &endash; are often
approved by large majorities. That holds true for areas that are
heavily Democratic or heavily Republican, and it is true for rural
communities, urban centers, and the suburbs. Protecting clean air and
water and conserving the land that contributes to their protection is
important to voters."
"It's clear from this national survey that voters are deeply
concerned about clean air and water, and people put a high priority
on protecting them," said Susan Harris, state director of The Nature
Conservancy in Missouri. "If it's true people vote with their feet,
then this survey suggests a lot of folks are wearing hiking boots and
deeply value the preservation of natural areas in their communities.2
The bipartisan national poll of 1,500 likely voters was conducted
by Republican research firm Public Opinion Strategies and Democrat
research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates.
The "small increase" in taxes that voters say they support would
translate into large increases for state and local conservation
programs. A total of 56 percent of voters nationwide say they would
pay $50 per year more, including 50 percent of Republican voters.
A major reason for the willingness of voters across the country to
spend more is to protect water quality, the poll found. Large
majorities in the national poll said it is 3very important2 to buy
land to protect drinking water quality (84 percent); improve water
quality in lakes and streams (75 percent); protect lakes and rivers
(72 percent), and watersheds (66 percent).
Nationally, nearly eight-in-ten voters (79 percent) say
conservation-related issues are either a primary factor or one of the
top issues they will consider in their November voting decisions.
More than 40 percent said they have "voted for candidates because of
their support for the environment." Those figures held true for key
voter groups such as Democrats (50 percent), Republicans (36
percent), Latinos (47 percent), moderates (41 percent) and
independents (39 percent).
Much of the concern about land and water conservation has been
fueled by the rapid growth and development experienced during the
economic boom of the 1990s, the poll found. For example, in 1999, 35
percent of voters nationwide said their local community was growing
too quickly, while 25 percent said it was growing too slowly. But
this nationwide poll showed 39 percent of respondents said growth was
too fast, while the number who think growth was "too slow" had
dropped by half to only 12 percent. In addition, voters today are
more than four times as likely to say their community has "too
little" protected space rather than "too much" &endash; by a margin
of 36 percent to nine percent.
The telephone poll was conducted from April 3 to April 12 with a
total of 1,500 interviews in the 48 continental states. The results
focused on three subsets of voters &endash; an 800-voter national
sample; a sample of 259 Latino voters; and 570 voters in 10 western
states, including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New
Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Results of the
national sample had a 3.5 percent margin of error, while the western
sample had a 4.2 percent error margin.
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.