Polling Shows Unity Among Americans for Conservation

Conventional wisdom holds that environmental stewardship is one of those bright lines separating Republicans and Democrats.

Conventional wisdom in this case is wrong. Many polls demonstrate that people across the spectrum are united around clear conservation values: keeping air and water clean, protecting our parks, forests, and other open spaces for public benefit, and taking a balanced approach to energy development.

Earlier this year, two polling firms—one Republican, the other Democratic—queried a sample of nearly 2,400 voters in six Western states about their attitudes towards conservation. The sample was almost evenly split among Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

Nearly two-thirds of the voters identified themselves as conservationists. Strong majorities across the spectrum agreed with the statement: “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.” Majorities who agreed: 75 percent of Republicans, 75 percent of independents, and 84 percent of Democrats.

Last year, the Republican polling firm North Star Opinion Research surveyed Floridians about beaches and cleaning up after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A total of 97 percent agreed Florida’s beaches and near-shore waters are important to the state’s economy. By margins of 6 to 1 or more, Florida voters across the spectrum agreed penalty money collected for the spill should be dedicated to restoring the Gulf Coast. “Regardless of political party or region of the state, this is an issue that unites Florida voters,” a memo from North Star concluded.

Whether you’re talking about estuaries in Florida or backcountry hunting grounds in Montana, Americans, regardless of their political affiliations, value natural assets that bring tangible benefits to their communities and are part of local and regional culture.

Our shared conservation values are essential to what it means to be an American.

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Polling Shows Unity Among Americans for Conservation

  1. Dave Brown

    The fact that a strong majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree with the statement, “We can protect the land and water and have a strong economy with good jobs at the same time, without having to choose one over the other,” shows that most Americans really do agree that environmental protection and mankind’s economic well being go hand in hand. What people do not agree about, however, is HOW to achieve this balance.

    There is a wide spectrum of political opinion ranging from far Left to far Right. Actually, very few people take a far-Left or far-Right political stance and most people are either somewhat left or right of center, depending on the issue being discussed. The farther one goes to the Left, the more they are apt to believe that natural resources and the economy should be controlled by big Goliath-like entities such as the United States Federal Government and/or the United Nations. The farther one goes to the Right, the more they are apt to believe in smaller government, where free people and free markets have the greater potential to bring economic development and environmental protection into a healthy balance.

    Too many people are swayed by emotionally appealing “non-partisan”propaganda. If acted upon, a lot of the “non-partisan” rhetoric posted on the Eagle’s Nest would give more and more power to bigger and bigger government, which could ultimately lead to a Leftist command-and-control “New World Order.”

    Unfortunately, the National Audubon Society’s emotionally-charged “caring” and “non-partisan” approach to environmental protection place them too far left on the political spectrum. If the writers and signers of the American Eagle Compact truly “care about the environment,” then they should stop playing the “non-partisan” trump card. For a rational (and admittedly “partisan” and slightly right-of-center) political position on environmental/economic issues, please read a book by the Heritage Foundation called Environmental Conservation: Eight Principles of the American Conservation Ethic. A free PDF copy of this book is available at: http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2012/EnvironmentalConservation/Environmental-Conservation-Full-Book.pdf

  2. MW Stoakes

    Conservation requires funding as well as political will. Consumptive recreational activities, such as hunting and fishing, support local conservation through license fees. For non-consumptive activities like birding, camping, and hiking, let’s resolve to push for a state excise tax on binoculars/optics, camping gear, and boots that will also be used for local conservation. If we’re willing to pay for what we love and want to protect, our voices, together with hunters and fishermen, could send a resounding message to state and federal elected officials and bureaucrats.

    • Jim Woods

      Well put. it is time for conservation to take a hard look at funding itself and its activities. we have had out hand out to the govenment(s) for all our needs and while we benefit a good number of folks it is still a minority of taxpayers and this is now our problem. I run a small birding outfit and must compete with the free tours offered by a national conservation group. it is time that they pay some of their way just like i do and we educate the public that they can join us and enjoy the results of their payments and efforts.

  3. Jim Woods

    I doubt that the Republican platform has any room for conservation. Teddy Roosevelt was a long time ago and the party has steadly moved away from any concern for wilderness or protection of species of limited economic benefit. The Spotted Owl, global warming, energy development, are all examples of the true republican positions and i am saddened to see Audubon thinks it will survive by joining this political venture.

  4. Angela Urban

    So when proposed metal mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is discussed, I am truly torn. The venture would help the local economy enormously, and yet it will undoubtedly pollute this pristine wilderness area. Where is the middle ground? Each side of the decision acts like any compromise is unacceptable, much like the rest of our un-United States politics behaves today. I hope that you are correct, and that “shared conservation values” do exist.

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