As natural resource management issues in Michigan continue to become increasingly politicized, this poll reinforces what has long been suspected; that is sportsmen in the western states have been able to balance a conservative political perspective and environmental and wildlife conservation. Bob Marshall writes:
A poll released Monday by the Colorado College found “western voters across the political spectrum–from Tea Party supporters to those who identify with the Occupy Wall Street movement and voters in between–view parks and public lands as essential to their state’s economy, and support upholding and strengthening protections for clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife.”
The 2012 Conservation in the West Poll, part of the college’s State of the Rockies Project, questioned voters of all political spectrums in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. It found “two-thirds of Western voters say America’s energy policy should prioritize expanding use of clean renewable energy and reducing our need for more coal, oil and gas. Even in states like Wyoming and Montana, which are more often associated with fossil fuels, voters view renewable energy as a local job creator.”
Significantly for sportsmen, the poll found that:
* 69% of anglers and 66% of hunters describe themselves as a conservationist–one of the highest proportions of any sub-group analyzed in the survey.
• 51% of sportsmen consider themselves to be conservative politically; 38% identify as supporters of the Tea Party movement. They are twice as likely to be Republicans (45%) as Democrats (21%), with the remainder Independents (32%).,
This is not election-year propaganda cooked up by one side. The research was conducted by two pollsters form opposite sides of the political fence: Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (a Republican firm) and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (a Democratic firm).
They found “swing voters across the west–who will be key to deciding the outcome of a number of U.S. Senate and governors’ races, and possibly the presidential race–nearly unanimously agree that public lands such as national parks, forests, monuments, and wildlife areas are “an essential part” of the economies of these states. Four in five western voters view having a strong economy and protecting land and water as compatible.”
This is important material for sportsmen to show politicians who have been voting to slash conservation spending and curb environmental regulations–especially those who claim to represent our interests.
It’s especially important for Republican sportsmen, because it’s been the GOP–particularly in the House–using the economy as a sledgehammer to batter fish, wildlife and habitat protections that sportsmen support.
More Specks and Reds for Florida Anglers
Management apparently is working for speckled trout and redfish in Florida. New regulations going into effect in February feature a move to regional management zones for each species and generally liberalize bag limits. Each species will have four management zones–northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest–but the boundaries for each of those are different for the different species.