Bipartisan poll finds broad support for public land conservation in Montana

Not sure what to make of this

“Of those polled, 48 percent listed conservation issues as the primary factor in supporting elected officials and 38 percent they were somewhat important. Conservation issues were less important for 9 percent and not important to 4 percent.”

“When asked if protecting public lands in Montana has generally been more of a good or bad thing, 78 percent responded “good” and 15 percent “bad.””

“A slim majority of 51 percent favored protecting more lands as wilderness.”

But of course, “it probably will not affect how legislators vote …” 

8 Comments

  1. Polls seem to love words like “conservation”, which can mean many different things to many people. Now, what if another poll were to ask people if they want all lands “managed” for the best use for the most people? How many people would “vote” against such a statement, without any further description of “management”? I distrust polls because most of them are designed to produce the single result wanted by the pollsters. Rarely do polls want to know the truth about an issue, preferring “loaded questions”, instead.

  2. Larry,
    Amen. This sort of poll is absolutely meaningless as key words such as “Conservation”, “Management”, or “Protection” have the same specificity as “liberal”, “conservative”, “progressive”, or “moderate”. They mean (connote) whatever the pollee (is that a word?) perceives them to mean.

  3. Ah, darn, I lost my bet.
    This one done by “The University of Montana’s Crown of the Continent and Greater Yellowstone Initiative surveyed 500 voters to gauge opinions on public land debates in the Crown of the Continent. ”
    But here’s something that matters:
    “The job of the university is to provide information and science to the public, and the poll would have been published regardless of the results, said Rick Graetz, co-director of the Crown of the Continent and Greater Yellowstone Initiative.”
    Rick Graetz is about as green and preservationist as they come, publishes Montana magazine which reads like a Wilderness Society pamphlet most of the time. Would love to see the actual wording of the questions. More digging coming.

    • Thanks for ferreting this out Dave. After reading the questions, I really don’t see a bias here. Maybe there could have been some negative statements about conservation to consider, but there was a chance to say that protection of public lands is bad for the economy and only 14% did. Maybe the use of “when” rather than “if” in question 27 was deliberate, but overall this looks like an attempt to be objective to me. But maybe that’s because it aligns with my biases.

      I was wondering why you focused on the sponsoring organization and spokesperson rather than the purportedly bipartisan conductors of the poll and the questions themselves. (I would also disagree that the “friends and partners” of this initiative, like the College of Forestry and Conservation, the Mansfield Library and Montana DNRC, fit your “advocacy” characterization.)

  4. I’m wondering how different the answers would be if it said ‘your annual, taxes will be increased by $___ if you answer this question in the affirmative’. Even better if it came up with a total for all of your answers at the end. Imagine the differences of opinion on how to come up with such numbers.

  5. A fluff poll. A couple highlights:

    ….70% say “wilderness has been a good thing”…but if it’s been so good…why does only 50% support more?
    …”48% think conservations issues are primary factor…”…but who IS really opposed to “clean water and air, which are lumped in with “open spaces” and “public lands.” How much of the 48% think it’s an important issue because they think it’s all fouled up. A rancher who is threatened by the sage grouse listing may think “conservation issues” are pretty damn important to him…but that doesn’t mean he supports sage grouse listing. (classic fluff question)
    ….I luv “we should NOT allow greedy private companies to develop public lands if it limits–access- too.” Now, what timber projects limit access to.
    …..do find the support for “locally crafted management”…interesting.
    Now, I wish they would have asked the the following questions:
    ….Do you support more or less logging on national forests? (The annual Montana Chamber of Commerce poll consistenetly finds around 80% for)
    ….Would you support the State of Montana taking fee title to 10% of current USFS lands and manage them?
    …..Do you support litigation of USFS timber sales by environmental groups?
    ….Do you have a positive or negative view of the “Alliance for Wild rockies” (LOL…sorry…had to throw that one in.)
    Observations: It’s never black or white…but shades of gray. It’s never an “either-or” proposition. The Montana Wilderness Association wants more wilderness…but it also wants more logging. I’m gonna guess that the vast majority of users in “The bob Marshall” are wealthy white hunters who can afford the guided hunt…and I’ll also bet they’re big supporters of the NRA…and most likely a bunch of Republicans who would favor more logging also. I used to oppose wilderness areas…but now I think it’s a legitimate multiple use (I find it a touch ironic that ALL wildernesses were areas that had NO natural resources to exploit…as in Gold or Timber…the Bob was so burned off 100 years ago…it had no decent timber to exploit((and terrain issues too)).

    Well…off to work another Saturday…but I did sleep in! LOL.

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