New Poll Finds Colorado Voters Increasingly See Themselves As Conservationists

· Jan. 25, 2018, 12:58 pm
Photo: Fraser River 2 | Fishing in the ColoradoNathaniel Minor/CPR News
Paul Bradley of Boulder fishes in stretch of the Colorado River in Grand County, Colorado on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.

New bipartisan poll results by Colorado College show voters — nearly 70 percent of Centennial State respondents — want more protections for water, air and wildlife habitat. Just over 20 percent want to maximize energy production on public lands.

Perhaps the most intriguing tidbit in the 2018 Conservation in the West Poll, the eighth consecutive year Colorado College has released results, is the number of voters who identify themselves as a conservationist.

“How people view themselves usually doesn’t change a whole lot over time,” said Lori Weigel, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, the firm that helped coordinate the poll. “We’ve seen over the last two years a big jump in the proportion of voters in Colorado who think of themselves as a conservationist.”

Seventy-five percent of Colorado voters self-identify as a conservationist, a 10 percent increase over the last two years. This value increased for voters across other interior West states like Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico Utah and Wyoming.

Outdoor industry leaders will discuss the poll results at the Outdoor Retailer event. The massive trade show chose Denver as its new home after deciding to leave Salt Lake City. The move was a response to Utah politicians' opposition to Bears Ears National Monument and other federal land protections.

Landing Outdoor Retailer was a big get for state and Denver civic leaders, another economic feather they can place in their hat. It’s an interesting intersection as Weigel said Colorado voters view conservation as a more serious problem than the economy.

“Especially here in Colorado, where unemployment is a very low concern, they’re more likely to focus on things like low level waters in rivers,” she said. “So I think that very local perspective is affecting how they view federal policy.”

With record low snowpack in parts of Colorado, voters also mentioned drought as a key concern. You can explore the poll results here.

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