Policy Update

NCEL Monthly Messenger: 2019 Conservation in the West Poll



NCEL Point of Contact

Ruth Musgrave
Conservation Senior Advisor

Western Voters Increasingly Identify as Outdoor Recreationists and Have Growing Concerns about Climate Change, Public Lands

For the past nine years, Colorado College has released its Conservation in the West Poll covering Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The 2019 results found increasing concerns over water issues and climate change; a bipartisan view on the value of public lands outdoor recreation; and broad support for renewable energy. The top two preferred energy sources for Western states are solar and wind.

Among Western voters, 70 percent view themselves as outdoor recreation enthusiasts and 68 percent call themselves conservationists. These views have consistently been bipartisan over the history of the poll according to Corina McKendry, Director of the State of the Rockies Project and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Colorado College.

Other highlights include:

  • 87 percent view outdoor recreation as important to the future of their state
  • 65 percent advocate for Congress to emphasize conservation on national public lands
  • 75 percent view rollbacks of environmental laws as a serious problem, up from 68 percent last year
  • 69 percent say that climate change is a serious problem, up from 61 percent in 2016
  • 86 percent support conservation of migration corridors
  • 75 percent see loss of wildlife habitat as serious or extremely serious
  • 77 percent of Western voters see water scarcity issues as extremely or very serious