Maryland Voters Rank Clean Air and Water On Par with Crime and Drugs, Education, and Healthcare, Poll says

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland voters rate the protection of clean air and clean water as top concerns on the same level as crime and drugs, education, and health care according to a new poll released today by the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF) in conjunction with Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. In fact, clean air and water rated above taxes as well as Medicare and Social Security as an issue of concern to voters. Nearly 90 percent of Maryland voters said that the environment figures strongly in their voting decisions.

The Garin Hart Yang poll of 606 likely November 2000 voters indicates a commitment to environmental protection by voters in all parts of the state and across party lines. The poll was taken from May 11-16, 2000 for the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

"This poll shows that at a fundamental level, Maryland voters care a great deal about protecting clean air and water. In fact, they rank these issues at the same level as crime and drugs, education and health care," said Ann Riley, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for LCVEF.

Susan Brown, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, continued, "When nearly 90 percent of Maryland voters consider clean air, clean water and open space an important factor in making a voting decision, all candidates up and down the ballot should stand up and take notice."

Highlights of the poll include:

Maryland voters rated clean air and water as a top concern, following only education, crime and drugs, and health care. More voters indicated concern about clean air and water than taxes and Medicare and Social Security. When asked how important are issues involving clean water, clean air and open space in making a voting decision, 89 percent of voters said those issues were important, 46 percent very important and 43 percent somewhat important.

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. Maryland voters choose pro-environment Candidate A, overwhelmingly 82 percent to 14 percent over Candidate B.

When asked what conservation or environmental concerns voters worried about the most, 32 percent said water quality is their greatest worry. Followed closely by air quality.

A full 73 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 (61 percent) would rather see a clean environment than a strong economy (28 percent). Eighty-four percent of Maryland voters want either tougher enforcement of environment laws or stronger laws.

Seventy-five percent of Maryland voters support strong limits on growth and development to protect Maryland's quality of life, as compared to 15 percent who believe that growth and development is inevitable and the economic benefits offset problems that growth creates.

Sixty-one percent of Maryland voters believe that state funds should be used to expand mass transit, such as light rail and buses, while 23 percent believe those funds should be used to build more roads and highways.

The telephone survey of 606 registered voters likely to vote in the 2000 election was commissioned by LCVEF and conducted by Garin Hart Yang. The survey was conducted May 11-16, 2000. A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.

The Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is a new statewide nonprofit nonpartisan organization dedicated to maximizing the participation of conservation minded citizens in public policy decisions made at the state and local levels regarding Maryland's environment and natural resources.

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

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