Sat February 15, 2014

Support For Renewable Energy, Conservation May Help 2014 Candidates

Although same-sex marriage, government spending and the new healthcare law seem to get most of the public’s attention lately, those won’t be the only issues Western voters will be thinking about in the 2014 election.

According to a new Colorado College survey, conservation and land use issues could have a big impact on how Coloradans vote in the congressional elections.

The bipartisan poll of voter attitudes in six Western states found they are more likely to support candidates who promote renewable energy and enhanced protections for public lands.

"I think that reflects the degree to which public lands and waters are seen as part of the very fabric of the quality of life in these states," said Dave Metz with FM3, one of the two polling firms that conducted the survey. "It’s something that voters take some justifiable pride in."

The survey finds hydraulic fracturing is top of mind for most Coloradans, with 84 percent saying they had heard 'a lot' or 'something' about the practice -- contrasting with only 59 percent in Arizona and Utah.

The Nov. 2013 elections demonstrated that, when voters in several communities approved local fracking bans and moratoriums. Fort Collins and Longmont are currently engaged in legal action over their measures.

Screencap from the Colorado results of the 2014 annual Conservation in the West poll
Credit Colorado College

In addition, 83 percent of those polled believe funding for national parks, forests, and other public lands should not be cut – not even to reduce the federal budget deficit. That attitude was shared across all six states, and across political lines.

The State of the Rockies Project "Conservation in the West" poll surveyed 2,400 residents in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

See more results from Colorado [.pdf] here.