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New poll shows surprising point of consensus for voters from across the political spectrum — 'broad majorities' agree

"Part of the reason to do polling like this is to hand a megaphone to the average voter."

Solar panel in Colorado College, clean energy.

Photo Credit: iStock

A poll from Colorado College has found that voters in some predominantly red western states are overwhelmingly in support of clean energy and conservation initiatives, the Los Angeles Times reports

A recent "Conservation in the West" poll conducted by Colorado College found that two-thirds of voters in the American west want to see 100% of their energy come from clean, renewable sources like solar and wind in the next 15 years. More than 60% of voters said they'd like their members of Congress to prioritize clean air and water and wildlife habitats and recreation.

The poll spanned more than a decade and surveyed voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. 

This is a somewhat surprising stance, considering 34% of voters polled identify as conservatives, 41% described themselves as moderates, and 22% identified as liberals. Despite their political standing, voters in the poll overwhelmingly supported a number of climate initiatives. 

Extreme weather events and strains on local water supplies caused by our changing climate may be the answer to why westerners are shifting their priorities. 

The west has faced many climate disasters, including extreme droughts, frequent forest fires, and even the recent severe winter storm

According to the poll, seven in 10 respondents see the changing climate as a serious issue, four out of five said loss of habitat for wildlife is a problem in their state, and two-thirds said they were concerned over the impact of oil and gas drilling on the Earth. 

Those polled also overwhelmingly supported the "30 by 30 initiative," which seeks to protect 30% of America's lands and waters by 2030.

Unsurprisingly, westerners also backed water conservation initiatives, with 87% of respondents in support of requiring their local governments to "determine whether there is enough water available before approving new residential development projects," and six in 10 voters supporting the banning of thirsty grass lawns at new homes. 

"Part of the reason to do polling like this is to hand a megaphone to the average voter," Dave Metz, who has conducted the survey for 13 years, told the LA Times

Although our changing climate may be portrayed as a partisan issue, the demand for climate action is far more popular than most people believe it to be.

A 2020 Pew Research Center survey revealed that two-thirds of Americans believe that the government should do more to slow down changing global temperatures and their negative effects, like worsening extreme weather events.

"At a time when partisanship colors most views of policy, broad majorities of the public — including more than half of Republicans and overwhelming shares of Democrats — say they would favor a range of initiatives to reduce the impacts of climate change, including large-scale tree planting efforts, tax credits for businesses that capture carbon emissions and tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles," the survey found

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