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Bipartisan poll details western conservation views

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, according to a 2012 Colorado College State of The Rockies Conservation in the West poll released last week.

The survey, completed in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, found strong approval ratings for most governors in the region, and an electorate divided in hotly-contested U.S. Senate races in Montana and New Mexico. Key swing voters in these contests often express pro-conservation views, the pollsters said.

The poll was conducted by Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm, and Dave Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a Democratic firm.

It surveyed 2,400 registered voters in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Montana on Jan. 2-7, 2012, and yields a margin of error of + 2.0 percent nationwide and +4.9 statewide.

The full survey and individual state surveys are available on the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project.