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New Mexico voters rate environmental issues a high priority and important part of voting decision

June 28, 2000

Albuquerque - New Mexico voters are extremely concerned about water quality and quantity and 82 percent say that environmental issues play a role in how they make their voting decision, according to a statewide poll release today.  The Research and Polling, Inc. poll of 753 likely voters in the 2000 election indicates a strong commitment to environmental protection by voters.  The poll was taken between February 2 -16, 2000 for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.   

New Mexico voters want more environmental protection, not less said Susan George, Director of Defenders of Wildlife.  The people of New Mexico believe that the laws protecting the environment are either not strong enough or they are not being enforced.

Support for stronger environmental protection was wide spread across many key issues such as clean water and air, conservation of public land, and urban sprawl and development.  When thinking about the future, New Mexico voters place availability of future water supplies (8.3) and clean air and water (7.8) in the top six issues they are concerned about.  While this falls behind drunk driving (8.7) crime and drugs (8.6) and education (8.5), it ranks significantly ahead of taxes (7.3).

New Mexican voters are clearly worried not only about our future water supplies but about the quality of our water, said ­Edward Sullivan, Executive Director of New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.  The public is ready for environmental issues to be a top tier issue for policy makers, as it is clearly a top tier issue for voters.

The majority of New Mexicans do not believe that there must be a trade-off between the environment and the economy.  Of those who do believe there is a trade-off, a greater number of voters would choose the environment over the economy.

New Mexico voters understand the strong connection between a healthy environment and a strong economy.  They believe we can have both.  And the majority of voters, eighty-two percent, consider environmental issues when deciding how to vote, said Bob Langsenkamp, President of the New Mexico Conservation Education Fund. 

Highlights of the poll include:

  • Voters in New Mexico are nearly unanimous (82 percent) in saying that environmental issues are important considerations in making a voting decision.
  • When given a choice, sixty-two percent say they would favor a candidate who would act in the best interests of the environment over a candidate who would reduce the regulatory burden on business. 
  • Clean air and water is in the top tier of issues that New Mexico voters are concerned about on a scale with 10 representing extremely concerned.  When thinking about the future, New Mexico voters place availability of future water supplies (8.3) and clean air and water (7.8) in the top six issues they are concerned about.  While this falls behind drunk driving (8.7) crime and drugs (8.6 ) and education (8.5), it ranks significantly ahead of taxes (7.3).
  • The overwhelming majority of New Mexico voters (75 percent) do not believe that there has to be a tradeoff between the environment and the economy, they believe that we can have both.   
  • New Mexico voters want more environmental protection, not less. 69 percent of voters either believe that the laws protecting the environment are either not strong enough or they are not being enforced enough. 
METHODOLOGY

The telephone survey of 753 registered voters likely to vote in the 2000 election was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by Research and Polling, Inc.  The survey was conducted between February 2 - 16, 2000.  A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent.



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