The results from a new Colorado College State of the Rockies Conservation in the West poll find that Utah voters across the political spectrum – from Tea Party supporters to those who identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement and voters in-between – view Utah’s parks and public lands as essential to our state’s economy, and quality of life. Voters also support upholding and strengthening protections for clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife.
The survey, completed by Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm), found that Utah voters nearly unanimously agree that public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are “an essential part” of the state economy; 76 percent of Utah voters view having a good economy and protecting land and water as compatible with each other.
“Clean air and water, as well as protected lands, have significant economic impacts for Utah, in terms of tourism and our quality of life,” said Jay Banta, Utah Board Member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. “But the value these lands provide in the way of wildlife habitat and solitude, for hunters and anglers, goes far beyond what an economist or pollster can quantify.”
“The poll results show that voters of all stripes, including conservatives, believe protecting clean air, clean water, and our natural heritage are consistent with traditional conservative values,” said Philip Carlson, Utah Coordinator for Republicans for Environmental Protection. “We call on our elected representatives to listen to their constituents and embrace the conservative ethic of good stewardship.”
Six in 10 Utah voters said that the highest priority for meeting America’s energy needs should be to reduce our need for more coal, oil and gas by expanding use of clean, renewable energy. Sixty-four percent of voters believe that increasing the use of renewable energy will create local jobs. Utah voters also voiced strong support, by a margin of 76 percent to 18 percent, for requiring builders to meet updated energy efficiency standards in new homes -- even if it results in an increase in home prices.
“Voters and public officials across Utah support renewable energy and energy efficiency for numerous reasons and want to see barriers to their adoption eliminated,” said Sarah Wright, Director of Utah Clean Energy. “These poll results confirm what we hear from residents, businesses and local governments every day: public and private sectors and elected officials can work together to create a robust economy and healthy communities powered by clean energy.”
The poll surveyed 2,400 registered voters in six key western states (AZ, CO, NM, UT, WY, MT) January 2 through 5 and 7, 2012, and yields a margin of error of + 2.0 percent nationwide and +4.9 statewide.
The full survey and individual state surveys are available on the Colorado College website at http://www2.coloradocollege.edu/stateoftherockies/Conservation_West_Survey/CWSOverallData.pdf.