Coloradans will focus on public lands, parks and wildlife when voting in elections, according to a survey released Thursday by the Center for Western Priorities, a Denver-based environmental advocacy group.
The ”Winning the West” survey found that 82% of Colorado voters consider outdoors issues to be important when choosing candidates, and 97% say the mountains and outdoors are what make the state “special.”
“We continue to see the rise of public lands and the outdoors as an important issue in competitive races in the mountain West,” said Jennifer Rokala, the group’s executive director.
Trump administration proposals seen as unfriendly to public lands have been unpopular in Colorado, the poll also found, including the move to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.
“Against the backdrop of the current administration’s unpopular agenda on public lands, it will be worth watching to see if more candidates highlight an agenda of protecting Colorado’s outdoor way of life in their strategies to win,” Rokala said.
Many respondents said they would like to see more protections for public lands from oil and gas development, though most said the industry does not need to be completely restricted.
When given two options, voters chose to “limit” rather than “prohibit” oil and gas extraction on public lands by a margin of 68% to 47%, the poll found.
This new report, like past releases from the Center for Western Priorities, is meant to guide politicians in running campaigns for Coloradans.
“Coloradans care deeply about our public lands and we vote on them,” Rokala said.
The poll was conducted in August and September for the Center for Western Priorities by Alexandria, Va.-based Gottlieb Strategic Research, which conducted 2,800 online surveys of likely voters in Colorado as well as Arizona, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points for all voters and 4.4 points for Colorado alone.