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Reporting on science, technology and innovation in Arizona and the Southwest through a collaboration from Arizona NPR member stations. This project is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Additional stories from the Arizona Science Desk are posted at our collaborating station, KJZZ:

Poll Shows Strong Support For Conservation Among Western Voters

Amanda Solliday - KAWC

The latest Conservation in the West Poll is a survey of 2,800 registered voters in seven Western states, including Arizona. The questions cover a range of environmental topics, including public lands, energy, and water.

Colorado College administered the poll in December 2015, in partnership with both Democratic and Republican opinion research firms. The results were released last week.

A representative of one of these firms, Dave Metz, with Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, said the poll found “an acute and broad concern about both drought and low levels of water in rivers,” with more than 80 percent of voters considering each a problem.

Three-fourths of Western voters polled also believe conservation issues are important when deciding which candidate to support.

“Folks like the fact that we have these protected places. And for many of us, that’s why we either moved here or choose to remain,” said Mike Quigley, Arizona director of The Wilderness Society. “And folks want to see more of the special places in Arizona protected for future generations.”

Quigley points to a survey question referring to a national monument in the Grand Canyon watershed, which would create added protections for more than 1.5 million acres of land near the canyon rim. Nearly three-of-four Arizona residents polled support the proposal.

This is the sixth year Colorado College has administered the poll. The poll’s margin of error is +/-2.74 percent nationwide and +/-4.9 percent statewide.