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While partisanship remains strong among the rural electorate, more than one-third (37%) of rural voters appear "swingable" in future elections, depending on resonant policy proposals and messaging. Three messaging points — lowering prices; bringing good-paying jobs to local communities; and a populist message focused on corporate greed — received such broad support that they rivaled voters’ agreement on core values like family and freedom. Read additional analysis in the Daily Yonder's coverage.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on conservation, climate, and energy issues in Western states + new national polling on the Inflation Reduction Act + state-level polling in Minnesota about the state’s new clean energy bill and other environmental priorities.
Residents of US western states continue to prioritize conservation of the land, water, wildlife, and their ability to enjoy the outdoors. People in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho were surveyed for this poll. 97% of westerners believe the rising cost of living is a serious issue, and 89% believe the price of gasoline is a serious issue. There has been a 28-point increase since 2016 in the share of westerners who say that people moving to their state is a serious problem (from 47% to 75%). 50% of westerns say that the current shortage of water in the west is a serious crisis. The plurality of westerners (38%) say that businesses use the most water in their state, as compared to farmers and ranchers (34%) and households (25%).
Overwhelming majorities of voters in western states support pro-conservation policies. Wildfires and droughts are especially salient concerns throughout the region. The 2022 poll surveyed registered voters in eight western states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Majorities now say that inadequate water supplies (70%, up 30 points since 2011), the loss of natural areas (55%, +19 since 2011), the loss of habitat for fish and wildlife (55%, +17 since 2011), pollution of rivers, lakes, and streams (54%, +12 since 2011), and climate change (52%, +25 since 2011) are “extremely” or “very” serious problems in their state. Western voters are most acutely concerned about droughts and reduced snowpack (59% “very” concerned) and more frequent and severe wildfires (52% “very” concerned). Nearly three-quarters of western voters (74%) say that drought is an “extremely” or “very” serious problem in their state, an increase of 22 points since 2016. For wildfires, 91% say that “uncontrollable wildfires that threaten homes and property” are a serious problem in their state - an increase of 14 points since 2016.
This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new national polling on pollution in the manufacturing sector, investments in clean energy jobs and development, plastic pollution, and climate as a legislative priority + a major new report on environmental attitudes in western states.
A June 2021 poll found that 57% of Montana voters support the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan creating a national path to achieving 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. However, the support is very polarized: 95% of Democrats said they’re supportive, along with 53% of Independents, but just 32% of Republicans. Voters showed similar levels of support when asked about green investments, jobs, and consumer incentives associated with the American Jobs Plan.