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Poll: Western Voters More Willing Than Ever To Take Action On Climate Change

Sheep move through public lands near Shoshone, Idaho.
Bureau of Land Management
Sheep move through public lands near Shoshone, Idaho.

Ten years ago, when Colorado College first conducted the Conservation in the West Poll, 48 percent of respondents said yes, climate change is a problem requiring action. This year, that number is up to 59 percent.

Pollster Tom Metz with Fairbanks, Maullin, Metz and Associates, said climate change in general was a part of the survey where they saw great change.

"This year's survey data show that increasingly westerners are both aware of the risks that climate change poses and supportive of action to address it," he said.

And while the issue of climate change still involves a great deal of partisan polarization, Metz said the results suggest it's getting to be more bi-partisan in the Mountain West. Regardless of party, one-third of voters ranked it among the three environmental issues that concern them the most.

Latino respondents expressed a large concern over climate change, which ranged anywhere from six to eleven percentage points higher than the white respondents when asked about it. For instance, 72 percent of Latinos said climate change had impacted their state over the last ten years, compared to 59 percent of white respondents.

Maite Arce is president and CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation. She said the results didn't surprise her.

"This makes really good sense to us," she said, "because Latinos and other communities of color are disproportionately impacted by pollution, wildfires and clean water issues."

And consistent across each of the eight states, respondents overwhelmingly identified as being "conservationists."

The poll drew from interviews with 400 voters across the Mountain West, including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, for a total of 3,200 respondents. Interviews took place between January 11-19, 2020, and were conducted in both English and Spanish. The bi-partisan polling team was comprised of New Bridge Strategy and Fairbanks, Maullin, Metz and Associates.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter,  Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.
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