Idahoans strongly support the Clinton administration proposals to protect roadless areas within National Forests. Over half of the state?s residents support the President on this issue as to the amount of land that would be protected nationally. This support rises to nearly two-thirds (64%) based upon the amount of land that would be protected within the state of Idaho.
Some specific findings from the Idaho survey concerning National Forests include the following:
Question 11: Half of the National Forest lands in the U.S. have already been logged, mined, have roads and remain open to commercial development. 18% is permanently protected. The remaining 31% are wild but unprotected areas roadless areas. The Clinton administration has proposed to protect nearly all of these remaining wild but unprotected areas. This means that it could be used for most types of recreation, including hunting, camping and fishing, but that logging, new roads, mining, oil drilling, and off-road vehicles would be prohibited. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?
- 57% support the Clinton administration proposal (39% strongly support it). Opposition to the measure fails to hit 40%. Only 26% of Idahoans strongly oppose the President on this proposal.
Question 12: What if you learned that included in this proposal would be protections for up to 38% of national forest lands in Idaho, or about 8 million acres, which would still stay open for hunting, camping and fishing. Then would you favor or oppose this proposal?
- The 'homestate' figures significantly increased support for the proposal among Idaho voters. The 'favor' figures, after hearing the amount of Idaho land involved, were 64% (39% strongly supporting) and the opposition dropped to just 30%. Thus, after learning the impact of the Clinton forestry proposal for their own state, Idahoans support the measure by more than two-to-one.
Discussion/Analysis of Questions 11 & 12:
1. As to the Clinton proposal to protect remaining roadless forests, age was an important factor. The results grew in support as the age group got younger - the highest support levels were among 18-34 year olds with three-fourths supporting the measure (79% supporting the national model and 75% supporting the specific Idaho protections). Both as to the national perspective and the specific Idaho impact, the 45 - 54 and older age group was the least strong support group, although even within this age group support rose above 50% based upon the amount of land in Idaho that would be protected (this group supported the Clinton proposal nationally at 48%, rising to 52% based upon the Idaho lands included.)
2. As to party affiliation, Democrats were the strongest supporters of the proposals. 78% of Democrats support the President based upon the national lands involved, with support rising to 85% based upon the Idaho forest lands that would be protected. The next strongest support group were those who identify themselves as Independents. This group of critical swing voters support the President by 60% on the national protections and 66% after learning the amount of Idaho land involved. The only group whose support falls below 50% is Republican voters, and only upon the national question (42%). Support among Republicans rises above 50% based upon the Idaho land figures (to 51%).
3. There were also significant gender differences, with women representing a very strong support group for the President?s proposal. As to the national amount of land protected, women supported the president with 66%, compared to only 28% who opposed the proposal. The ratio of women supporting the President rose above three-to-one based upon the Idaho lands involved (71% supporting, 20% opposing.)
Question 9: National Forest lands in the United States total 192 million acres. Currently 18% of these lands are permanently protected from logging and other development. Given this, do you think the U.S. has too much, not enough, or about the right amount of permanently protected land in our national forests?
Question 10: Currently 18% of the land in Idaho?s National Forests are permanently protected from logging and other development. Given this, do you think Idaho has too much, not enough, or about the right amount of permanently protected land in our national forests?
- Three-fourths of all Idahoans feel that the 18% national figure is either 'too low' (35%) or 'about right' (42%). Only 19% believe the current amount of protected land is 'too much.'
Discussion/Analysis of Question 9 & 10:
1. On the issue of whether 18% nationally of current forest land protected as wilderness is too low an amount, age was a large determinant. The numbers of Idahoans who feel that the 18% figure is 'not enough' grow increasingly large as the age groups get younger (from a low of 28% for those 55 and older to a high of 48% for those 18-34.)
2. Similarly, the younger a person?s age, the more likely they are to believe that having only 18% of Idaho?s forest lands protected as wilderness is not enough. 29% of those 55 and above feel that 18% is 'not enough' compared to 40% for those 18-34.
Question 13. Currently, Idaho?s National Forests contain 30,000 miles of roads. This is about 5 times the amount of roads in the state?s highway system. Given this fact, would you favor or oppose closing some of the roads in National Forests to protect Idaho?s clean water, fish and wildlife habitat?
- Over half of the people of Idaho would favor closing some roads in forests. 54% said that they would support such a proposal (37% strongly support) to protect the state?s fish, wildlife and water.
Discussion/Analysis of Question 13:
1. Nearly two-thirds of women would consider closing roads in forests (65%). Over half of men would also support the idea (53%.)
2. Party identification was a strong factor in the level of support for the notion of closing roads in National Forests. 80% of Democrats said that they would support the concept (60% strongly support), as would 59% of Independents. Nearly half of Republicans said that they would consider closing roads, with 47% saying they would support the idea.
Question 7: To the best of your knowledge, are industrial activities like logging and mining allowed in National Forests?
- 74% overall are aware that these activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' allowed. 17% feel that the activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' not allowed. An additional 8% don?t know whether they are or not. Consequently, one in four Idahoans have an incorrect assumption or lack of knowledge about the protected nature of forest lands.
Question 8: In fact, these activities ARE allowed in National Forest Lands. Given this, do you support or oppose logging, mining, and other industrial activities on National Forest Lands?
- Opposition to industrial activities on forest lands rises to 29% overall (16% strongly, 13% somewhat), with 67% supporting industrial uses (33% strongly, 34% somewhat) and 4% expressing no opinion
Discussion/Analysis of Questions 7 & 8:
1. 33% of women oppose industrial activities on national Forests lands (19% strongly). One in 5 women are also unaware that such activities currently take place (7% of women believe that they are 'definitely' not allowed and an additional 13% believe that they are 'probably' not allowed.)