Methodology: From February 27 to 29, 2000, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates conducted a telephone survey among 800 likely voters in California. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 3.5 percent. The margin of error for subgroups within the general sample will be higher.
According to a recent statewide survey of likely voters in California, there is overwhelming support for President Clinton?s proposed roadless plan that would protect the remaining wild but unprotected areas in national forests, as 71 percent of California voters favor the plan compared to only 22 percent who oppose it. Furthermore, support is strong and consistent throughout the state and transcends partisan, gender, and age differences.
There is a solid foundation of support for the plan as a strong majority of voters (58 percent) opposes allowing any sort of development on national forest lands, including logging, mining or other activities. A minority favors such activities (34 percent), but only nine percent feels intensely about allowing such activities on national forest lands. Similar numbers of voters believe there is not enough permanently protected land in our national forests, as 56 percent hold this view, compared to three out of ten who feel there is about the right amount of protected land, and only seven percent who believe there is too much protected land.
There is strong and intense support for the specific roadless plan. In fact, support reaches to such levels and intensity that the reality is that few voters either oppose the plan or do not have an opinion either way. Public opinion is one-sided across the political and geographic spectrum, as solid majorities of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, men and women, younger and older, and inland and coastal voters alike back the plan. The survey provided a brief description of the plan1, and, in response, most voters favor the roadless plan, with more than half strongly favoring (51 percent strongly in favor, 71 percent in favor overall). Only 22 percent oppose the plan and seven percent are undecided.
When told how the plan will impact California, namely that an additional 29 percent of national forest lands in the state would be protected from logging, new roads, mining and off-road vehicles but remain open to most forms of recreation, support was even stronger, with 76 percent in favor (52 percent strongly in favor), and even fewer opposed (18 percent) and undecided (six percent).
1 As I just mentioned, National Forest lands in the United States total 192 million acres. 51% of this land has already been logged, mined, or has roads, and remain open to commercial development. 18% is permanently protected. The remaining 31% are wild but unprotected roadless areas. The Clinton administration has proposed protecting nearly all of these remaining wild but unprotected areas. This means that it could be used for most types of recreation including camping, hunting and fishing, but that logging, new roads, mining, oil drilling, and off-road vehicles would be prohibited. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
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