CLCV poll finds strong support for environment across party lines

Press Release
September 20, 2018

Sean Trambley, [email protected], 925-250-3174

New Poll in Key CA Congressional Districts: Overwhelming Support for Environmental Issues Across Party Lines

In addition to strong support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the poll shows clear opposition to expanded offshore drilling, exploitation of public lands

LOS ANGELES — The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) today released a new poll that shows overwhelming support for environmental issues in key congressional districts across the state. The poll demonstrates that across party lines, voters want their Members of Congress to protect public lands, oppose offshore drilling, and support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Of particular note, independent voters — likely to be a key demographic in the midterm elections — support these important conservation issues.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), surveyed likely voters in CA-4, represented by Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove); CA-25, represented by Steve Knight (R-Palmdale); CA-45, represented by Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel); and CA-48, represented by Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).

“At a time of daily attacks by the President and his administration against the most basic protections for people and our environment, Californians are united across party lines in demanding that their Members of Congress step up to reject the politics of pollution,” said Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer, California League of Conservation Voters. “Democrats, Republicans, and independents all want stronger protections for public lands, oceans, and the California coast.”

This poll shows that key swing voters in these communities expect their representatives in Congress to fight for the environment. But to date, these Members of Congress instead of leading have joined the attack. The scorecard created by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) to rate Members of Congress on environmental issues bears this out. Congressman McClintock has a 4% lifetime score from the LCV, Congressman Knight a 3% score, Congresswoman Walters a 4% score, and Congressman Rohrabacher a 10% score.

“The message is clear: residents in these congressional districts - where some of the most closely contested races in the county are taking place - want leaders who will stand strong to protect our air, water, and natural landscapes,” continued Creasman. “But with daily opportunities to fight against attacks on the health of our communities and environment, these members continue to fail to deliver for their constituents. Members of Congress would be wise to stand up for their constituents and our environment now.”

Among the key findings of the poll are the following:

Over 82% of voters in all four congressional districts share that it is very important or somewhat important that their Member of Congress protect public lands, coastlines, and clean air and water. In each district, more than 72% of Republicans and more than 75% of independent voters also share this perspective.

More than ⅔ of voters in the four congressional districts want their Member of Congress to publicly support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a national program that funds — at no expense to taxpayers — national and local parks, trail and beach projects. In each district, well over a majority of Republican voters and more than 63% of independent voters share this perspective.

A majority of voters, including a majority of independent voters in the three coastal Congressional Districts - CD 25, 45, and 48 - favor protecting our beaches and ocean from expanded offshore oil drilling.

“These polls show overwhelming bipartisan agreement when it comes to conserving and protecting public lands, coastlines, air and water,” said Jim Williams, Polling Analyst at Public Policy Polling. “It’s very unusual in this day and age of hyper-partisanship and political tribalism for voters across the political spectrum to agree so uniformly on an issue.”

Voters Support Bipartisan Effort to Continue the Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is overwhelmingly popular with voters in these four congressional districts. Created more than 50 years ago, LWCF uses a portion of revenue from offshore drilling to protect land, water, and recreation areas for Americans. No taxpayer funds go towards the program.

LWCF will expire on September 30 if Congress doesn’t act. In both the House and Senate, legislation to permanently reauthorize the program has widespread, bipartisan support. Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to permanently reauthorize the program and send the bill to the full House, but the September 30 deadline still looms.

California’s Members of Congress will be key to the reauthorization of LWCF. Of California’s 53 representatives in the House, 39 are co-sponsors of H.R. 502. However, only one Republican, Steve Knight (CA-25) has weighed in favoring the bill. The representatives in the other three congressional districts have yet to weigh in on this important legislation.

This poll demonstrates that LWCF also has widespread support back home in key California Congressional Districts. When asked whether their Member of Congress should support LWCF, more than ⅔ of voters shared that they would like to see their representative publicly push for the program’s continuation. In Congresswoman Mimi Walters' district (CA-45), voters across party lines want to see her champion this issue. This includes 86% of Democrats, a majority of Republican voters and 63% of independent voters.

Protect our Public Lands, Parks, National Monuments and Coasts, Say Voters

This polling data also shows how strongly voters feel about their public lands, such as national parks and national monuments. Over 82% of voters in all four congressional districts believe that it is very important or somewhat important that their Member of Congress protect public lands, coastlines, and clean air and water. In Congressman McClintock’s District (CA-4), 84% of voters share this belief, including 79% of Republicans and 75% of independents.

The numbers also highlights Californians’ intimate understanding of the economic impact of our protected public lands. Strong majorities believe protecting and increasing access to our national parks and monuments, our coast, and our forests to support our tourism and travel industries are more important to California’s economy than drilling, logging, and mining. Research from the Outdoor Industry Association shows that outdoor recreation generates $92 billion in consumer spending in California, more than 10 percent of the the nation’s $887 billion outdoor economy.

Finally, voters in these congressional districts also want to see the California coastline protected from offshore oil drilling and expect their elected officials to do more to oppose recent proposals by the Trump Administration to expand offshore oil drilling, including off the Southern California coast. Of particular note, a majority of voters as well as a majority of independent voters in Congressman Rohrabacher’s district (CA-48) oppose offshore drilling. This district includes many beach communities such as Huntington Beach.

Polling Background and Further Information

The poll was conducted September 7-9, 2018. For Congressional Districts 25, 45, and 48, the poll surveyed approximately 500 voters. In the 4th Congressional District, the poll surveyed 706 voters. The poll has a +/- margin of error of 4.4% for the 25th, 45th, and 48th Congressional District polls. The 4th Congressional District poll has a +/- margin of error of 3.7%. For more information, visit Polling materials are also available here.

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