BOSTON, October 5, 2000 —New England voters are very concerned about the protection of clean air and clean water, according to a poll released by the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) today.  New England voters ranked these two issues on par with healthcare, crime and drugs, and education.  The poll also found that voters think protecting clean air, water, and open space should be a top priority for elected leaders with nearly 92 percent saying that environmental issues would figure strongly in voting decisions.  Elected Leaders up and down the ballot should take notice –New England voters care about the air they breathe and the water they drink, and will support officials who will safeguard their environment.

The Mellman Group polled 926 likely November 2000 voters in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The poll was conducted June 12-18, 2000, for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.   

“New England voters are deeply concerned that the air they breathe is clean and the water they drink is healthy.  Ninety-two percent of voters consider these issues important to making their voting decision,” said Mike Fogelberg, LCVEF New England Regional Director.  “Our poll found that voters will support elected officials who will protect our air and water over those who will not.  Elected leaders should stand up and take notice that these issues matter to voters on a very fundamental level.” 

Highlights of the poll include:

• Voters in New England rated clean air and water as the top environmental concerns, on par with healthcare, crime and drugs, and education issues.  Voters are more concerned about clean air and water than Medicare, Social Security and taxes.

• When asked how important are issues involving clean water and clean air in deciding how to cast their votes, 92 percent of voters said those issues were important (50 percent said very important and 42 percent said somewhat important).

• When given a choice between two candidates for elected office—Candidate A, who believes we must protect the environment and supports strong laws and enforcement of those laws, and Candidate B, who believes there are too many government regulations and supports efforts to relieve the burden of regulation on business—New England voters choose Candidate A 76 percent to 19 percent over Candidate B.

•  Eighty-six percent of voters polled believe that older coal and oil burning power plants should be required to meet the current emissions standards set by the Clean Air Act.  Only ten percent believe that they should be allowed to continue to operate as they are.

•  Eighty-eight percent of voters think that environmental factors like pollution are an important cause of increased rates of disease and health problems. 

•  Eighty-two percent of New England voters want tougher enforcement of environment laws or stronger laws.

•  Seventy-six percent of voters believe that we do not have to choose between a strong economy and a clean environment.  Of the 20 percent who do believe that we must choose between a clean environment and strong economy, 57 percent choose the environment and 35 percent choose the economy.

The telephone survey of 926 registered voters likely to vote in the 2000 election polled voters in Massachusetts (502), Maine (148), New Hampshire (72), Rhode Island (54), and Vermont (150) and was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by The Mellman Group.  The survey was conducted June 12-18, 2000.  A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent in 95 out of 100 cases for the entire sample.

Click here to download the PDF version of the New England poll summary!

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