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Support For Renewable Energy, Conservation May Help 2014 Candidates

The Colorado River in Colorado.
Rennett Stowe
CC BY 2.0
The Colorado River running through Colorado as it appeared in July, 2010.

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 Longmontare currently engaged in legal action over their measures.

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

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.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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