"Vote Environment" Program in Columbus designed to make environment a top-tier issue in 2000 elections

With release of ads and public opinion research, conservation group dedicates over $340,000 to raise environmental issues with candidates and voters in Ohio

COLUMBUS - Based on polling analysis released today, conservationists predict that Ohio voters will make the environment a top-tier voting issue in the 2000 elections. To make that claim a reality, the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) today is announcing a $340,000 "Vote Environment" campaign in Columbus.

The ads highlight threats from polluted air and water and inform viewers that "Who We Elect Matters," urging them to "Vote Environment." Television ads have been launched in a number of places around the country, including Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta, Ga. and Lansing, Mich. Through early summer, the ads will also air nationally on select cable stations and in Seattle, Wash., Billings, Mont., Sacramento, Calif., and Minneapolis, Minn. This is part of a $7.4 million national advertising, polling and grassroots public education effort designed to encourage candidates to address environmental issues and voters to find out where the candidates stand on such issues.

"Throughout the country, voters are paying more attention to issues that directly affect the quality of their lives, from the safety of the water they drink and the quality of the air they breathe, to suburban sprawl that is eating away at green space and increasing traffic congestion," said Beth Sullivan, LCVEF Executive Director. "This is the year when the environment will emerge as a critical election issue-an issue that candidates seeking all levels of elective office will be well-served to address."

The "Vote Environment" Program launch coincides with the release of a statewide poll indicating that Ohio voters are as concerned about clean air and water as they are about education, crime, health care, Medicare and Social Security. They are more concerned about clean air and water then they are about taxes, the economy and jobs. More than 90 percent of voters say they would be more likely to support a candidate for public office who will work to protect clean water, clean air and open space and who supports strong laws and enforcement of those laws; 57 percent of those surveyed said they would "strongly" support such a candidate.

"The poll released today shows that Ohio voters are deeply concerned about clean air and clean water and they are willing to back that concern up with their vote," said Marnie Urso, LCVEF Ohio State Director. "The 'Vote Environment' campaign will inform and educate voters about the connection between environmental concerns and voting - candidates running for offices from the state house to White House should take notice."

The poll findings confirm that clean air and water are top-tier voting issues and that Ohio voters are highly concerned about environmental issues and prefer candidates who share that concern.

  1. Voters in the state rated clean air and water as one of the issues they are most concerned about, following only education, crime and drugs, health care and Medicare and Social Security. Thirty-six percent of respondents indicated extreme concern about clean air and water, and 52 percent indicate more moderate concern. Voters indicated higher levels of concern about clean air and water than about taxes, the economy and jobs.
  2. When asked how important are issues involving clean water, clean air and open space in making a voting decision, 90 percent of voters said those issues were important, 57 percent labeled the issue "very important" and 33 percent "somewhat important."
  3. When given a choice between two candidates-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. Ohio voters overwhelmingly favor Candidate A over Candidate B, 79 percent to 10 percent.
  4. When asked to name the conservation or environmental concerns they worry about the most, 26 percent of voters surveyed said their most pressing environmental concern is availability or quality of their water.
  5. Seventy-two percent of voters in the state agree that "we can have a clean environment and a strong economy at the same time without having to choose one over the other."
  6. Eighty-one percent of Ohio voters want either stronger environmental laws or strict enforcement of current laws. Twenty-one percent want stronger laws, 60 percent want strict enforcement of current laws. Only 4 percent of Ohio voters want environmental laws relaxed.

The telephone survey of 500 registered Ohio voters likely to vote in the 2000 election was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates. A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.

Click here to download the PDF version of the Ohio poll summary!


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