Environment will be top-tier issue in 2000 elections

Conservation group launches $43,000 "Vote Environment" advertising effort in Billings to raise environmental issues with candidates and voters

BILLINGS - BILLINGSóConservationists predict that Montanans 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) will launch a $43,000 ìVote Environmentî advertising program in the Billings media market. The Billings advertising effort is part of a $7.4 million national advertising, polling and grassroots public education effort designed to encourage candidates running for all levels of public office to address environmental issues and to urge voters to find out where the candidates stand on such issues.

The ads, airing on Billings television stations from June 23 through July 15, feature children and highlight issues pertaining to clean water and air. The ads inform viewers that "Who We Elect Matters," and urge them to "Vote Environment." LCVEF also launched ads in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, Seattle, Wash., Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta, Ga., Columbus, Ohio, Lansing, Mich., Minneapolis, Minn., and Sacramento, Calif.

As a key component of the public education effort, LCVEF also launched a www.VoteEnvironment.org Web site that houses the television ads and encourages visitors to take an on-line pledge to ask the candidates where they stand on environmental issues and to "Vote Environment."

The Web site also contains the group's extensive environmental polling data. Over the course of the year, LCVEF is evaluating the saliency of environmental issues and how they influence voter participation. Working with state environmental groups and a variety of pollsters, the group this year will conduct 22 state and three national polls on environmental and conservation issues and their relationship to civic participation. The polling analysis will be available over the Internet.

A survey of likely Montana voters conducted January 20 to 24, 2000*, showed that clean air and clean water are top-tier voting issues for Montanans. According to the poll:

  • Seventy-three percent of voters say protecting the quality of drinking water is either an extremely or very serious problem, and another 19 percent say it is somewhat serious; only eight percent say it is not too serious a problem.
  • Sixty-six percent of voters say protecting rivers, lakes, and streams is an extremely or very serious problem, with an additional 23 percent indicating it is somewhat serious.
  • Montana voters show their concern for environmental issues at the ballot box, with 57 percent saying clean air, clean water and open space are a very important and primary factor in deciding how to vote.
  • Seventy-one percent of those polled feel that we can have a clean environment and a strong economy at the same time.
  • Sixty-six percent of Montana voters want either tougher enforcement of environment laws or stronger laws.
  • This poll shows that at a fundamental level, Montanans care a great deal about protecting clean air, water and open spaces. In fact, they rank clean air and clean water at the same level as education, health care and taxes," said Theresa Keaveny, Executive Director of Montana Conservation Voters Education Fund.


Purcell added, "This research, coupled with the "Vote Environment" program will encourage voters to find out where candidates from the state house to the White House stand on environmental issues and urge those candidates to actually address the issues."

*Methodology: The polling firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates conducted a telephone survey from January 20 to 24, 2000. Six hundred (600) likely November 2000 general election voters in the State of Montana were selected at random and interviewed by trained, professional telephone interviewers. The margin of error for the overall survey results is +/-4.0 points.

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. For more information, please visit the LCV Education Fund Web site at www.lcvef.org.


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