"Vote Environment" advertising in Lansing designed to make environment a top-tier issue in 2000 elections

With release of ads and public opinion research, conservation group dedicates over $134,000 to raise environmental issues with candidates and voters in Michigan

LANSING - Based on polling analysis released today, conservationists predict that Michigan 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) announced 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. LCVEF will spend $134,000 in Lansing on "Vote Environment" advertising.

Television ads were launched last week in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tenn., and Atlanta, Ga. Tomorrow, the ads will begin airing in Lansing and run through June 9, 2000, to highlight threats from polluted air and water and inform viewers that "Who We Elect Matters," urging them to "Vote Environment." Through early summer, the ads will also air nationally on select cable stations in the following cities: Seattle, Wash., Columbus, Ohio, Billings, Mont., Sacramento, Calif., and Minneapolis, Minn.

"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" advertising launch coincides with the release of a statewide poll indicating that Michigan voters are as concerned about clean air and water as they are about education, crime and health care. More than 74 percent (63 percent strongly) of voters say they would be more likely to support a candidate for public office who will work to protect the environment and support strong laws and enforcement of those laws.

"The poll released today shows that Michigan voters are deeply concerned about clean air and clean water and they are willing to back that concern up with their vote," said Lisa Wozniak, LCVEF Great Lakes regional director. "The 'Vote Environment' campaign will inform and educate voters about the connection between environmental concerns like clean air and water and voting - candidates running for state house to White House should take notice."

The poll findings confirm that clean air and water are top-tier voting issues and that Michigan voters strongly support environmental issues and prefer candidates who share that view.

  1. Voters in the state rated clean air and water as a top concern, following only education, crime and drugs, and health care. Forty-two percent of respondents are extremely concerned and 36 percent are somewhat concerned about clean air and water. More voters indicated concern about clean air and water than taxes and the economy and jobs.

  2. When asked how important are issues involving clean water, clean air and open space in making a voting decision, 91 percent of voters said those issues were important, 60 percent very important and 31 percent somewhat important.

  3. When given a choice between two candidates-Candidate A believes we must protect the environment, and supports strong laws and enforcement of those laws. Candidate B believes there are too many government regulations, and supports efforts to relieve the burden of regulation on business. Michigan voters choose Candidate A, 74 percent to 17 percent over Candidate B.

  4. When asked what conservation or environmental concerns voters worried about the most, 37 percent said water quality is their greatest worry.

  5. Sixty-eight percent of voters in the state say there is no need to pick between the environment and the economy. But if a choice had to be made between a strong economy and a clean environment, a majority of voters (59 percent) would rather see a clean environment than a strong economy (28 percent).

  6. On the question of deregulation of the state's electricity industry, 75 percent of voters (55 percent strongly, 20 percent somewhat) support requiring as part of the deregulation plan, that electricity providers take steps to reduce the pollution they produce.

  7. Seventy-five percent (54 percent very, 21 percent somewhat) of Michigan voters are willing to pay two dollars more per month on electric bills if it would help reduce the air pollution from coal-burning power plants by about 80 percent.
The telephone survey of 500 registered Michigan voters likely to vote in the 2000 election was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates. The survey was conducted March 18-21, 2000. A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.

The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues, increasing the capacity and effectiveness of state and local environmental groups, and encouraging citizens to participate in the democratic process.


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