State Of The Rockies: Western Voters Identify As “Outdoor Enthusiasts”

The 2019 State of the Rockies report says 70 percent of western voters identify as "outdoor enthusiasts." The annual bipartisan poll surveys how voters across the Mountain West feel about public lands, water, wildlife, and energy expansion. 

"It's not just a stereotype about the west," said Lori Weigel of New Bridge Strategy, a Republican-leaning opinion research firm that partnered with a Democratic-leaning firm to conduct the poll. "They are embracing it."

The State of the Rockies program is based at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and sponsors the survey.

"What we've seen is a consistent bipartisan support for public access, recreational access, and protection of public lands," said Corina McKendry, who directs the program. "What's happened in the last couple years is that sentiment has gotten even stronger."

The results also showed widespread support for improving animal migration corridors and re-authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The majority of those polled were also open to paying more taxes to make sure these efforts could succeed. 

Among the top concerns for western voters were worsening wildfires and the future of the outdoor recreation economy if public lands are not protected.

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 and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Colorado College is 91.5 KRCC's licensee.