How to win Colorado’s undecided vote: land conservation

Undecided Coloradans across the spectrum value and even prioritize environmental conservation, a new report finds.

The Center for Western Priorities launched its 2016 “Winning the West” campaign Thursday with a new report about how swing Democrats, Republicans and Independents ultimately cast their votes.

The campaign seeks to show how candidates’ positions on public lands issues can help or hurt their campaigns in western battleground states, which also include Montana, New Mexico and Nevada.

Three focus groups and interviews with more than 1,000 likely voters show that Coloradans value open spaces, renewable energy and the preservation of public lands.

Statewide, it seems voters in these demographics take pride in the mountains and open spaces Colorado boasts. Public lands, water and wildlife ranked fifth in a list of priority issues, behind only the economy, healthcare, education and the federal budget.

Notable findings from the report also include:

  • Protecting public lands is a priority to voters, even in the face of economic development.
  • Candidates who promote selling off public lands are especially vulnerable when it comes to undecided voters.
  • Though Republicans also value sources like natural gas, voters tend to support a push toward renewable energy.

The full report is available here.


Photo credit: WildEarth Guardians, Flickr Creative Commons