After combing through the Colorado College poll hailed yesterday by the Denver Post as proof that westerners now think like easterners, we’ve come to the conclusion, that no it didn’t.
What the poll did was ask 400 folks each from seven states including Colorado who are likely to vote Democrat, a number of poorly written questions designed to elicit support for increased federal control and regulations of public land.
When asked if caretakers of federal land should continue to work and protect the range, if multiple use of the land should continue to include ranching, recreation and energy development, the respondents said nothing because that’s not what they were asked.
A Colorado College poll released Monday indicates a majority of Westerners don’t support the mission championed by the Oregon militia led by Ammon Bundy, said Ken Salazar, the former U.S. senator for Colorado who served four years as President Obama’s interior secretary.
The State of the Rockies Project’s Conservation in the West Poll of voters in seven Mountain West states indicated 58 percent oppose turning over lands currently under federal control to state governments, and 60 percent oppose selling pieces of public lands to reduce the federal budget deficit.
We didn’t see Bundy’s name mentioned anywhere in the polling questions. Instead, the lead question was whether national forests, wildlife refuges and national monuments should be sold and state taxpayers pick up the costs. Not surprisingly, 58 percent said no.
Had they asked for more local say in the management of those lands, the answer would have been overwhelmingly in support of letting us say what goes on in our backyards.
Do public lands help the economy? An overwhelming number of 72 percent said yes, but agreed more federal regulation is needed because the pollster told them we were using antiquated equipment and methods to develop energy. We suspect if folks were told that Colorado has some of the toughest regulations in the nation, the answer would have been different.
Those polled did agree by 71 percent that lower gas prices is good for the economy, and since a lot of that gas is coming from western lands, one can only presume that means they support energy development out here.
So who were these people included in the poll? Swing sub groups that include 16 percent Latinos, 38 percent “sportsmen,” 24 percent millennials, 33 percent moderates, and 18 percent suburban women. That adds up to 129 percent.
Not only did they exclude ranchers, Republicans and independents, but also women who live outside of major metro areas.
If they had been honest and asked Westerners if we thought the Bundy’s had gone off the reservation, the majority of us would have said yes.
But Colorado College is so desperate to become a bigger lefty laughing stock than Boulder, they skewed the questions to back their own philosophy that Washington owns us, and Washington should be telling us what to do with the land we’ve protected for more than a hundreds years.