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Texas voters see no conflict between having a healthy environment and a strong economy

June 12, 2000                   

Austin -- Texas voters are extremely concerned about clean air and water and 81 percent say  environmental issues play a role in how they make their voting decision, according to a statewide poll released today.  The Tarrance Group, Inc poll of 600 likely voters across the state of Texas indicates a strong commitment to environmental protection by voters in all parts of the state and across party lines.  The telephone poll was taken between May 30 and June 5, 2000 for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Texans understand the connection between a healthy environment and a strong economy.  They believe we can have both.  And the vast majority of voters, eighty-one percent, consider environmental issues when deciding how to vote, said Margot Clarke, State Director for the LCV Education Fund.

Texas voters want more environmental protection, not less, Clarke added. Seventy-four percent of Texans believe that the laws protecting the environment are either not strong enough and we need stronger laws, or that the laws are tough enough but are not strictly enforced and should be.

Highlights of the poll include:

  • Voters in Texas are nearly unanimous (84 percent) in saying that environmental issues, particularly clean water, clean air, and open space are important considerations in making a voting decision.
  • When given a choice, fifty-three 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 water is the environmental issue that Texans are concerned about the most, with 31 percent naming water quality in an open-ended question. Air quality followed at 20 percent.
  • An overwhelming majority of Texans (78 percent) do not believe that there has to be a tradeoff between a clean environment and a strong economy.
  • Texans want more environmental protection, not less. Seventy-four percent of Texans believe the laws protecting the environment are either not strong enough or they believe the laws are tough enough but are not enforced -- 16% say need stronger laws and 59% say we need stricter enforcement.  
  • Eighty-one percent of voters think campaign contributions influence how elected officials vote on environmental issues. 
  • Seventy-four percent of Texas voters agree with the statement that only mandatory regulations for companies can guarantee the reduction of pollution that industries emit into the environment as opposed to 22% who believe that we need to move from a system of mandatory regulations for companies concerning pollution to a voluntary system because voluntary programs are less confrontational and more efficient.
METHODOLOGY

The telephone survey of N=600 registered Texas voters who are likely to vote in the 2000 election was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by The Tarrance Group, Inc.  The survey was conducted between May 30 and June 5, 2000.  A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.



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