This memorandum is based on a survey of 500 registered, likely general election voters in Michigan. Telephone interviewing was conducted from March 11 through March 14, 2000. The statistical margin of error for the general election sample as a whole is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for subgroups is larger.
Most Michigan voters are unaware that logging and mining are currently permitted in national forests, and are opposed to these activities. Only 4 in 10 (41%) Michiganders are aware that industrial activities like logging and mining are currently permitted in our national forests. The remaining 59% either do not know whether these activities are permitted, or actually believe that they are not permitted. When voters are informed that activities like logging and mining are allowed inside national forests, a majority (52%) say they are opposed.
Michigan residents overwhelmingly support protecting more national forest land, both in Michigan and the rest of the country. After being informed that 18% of the land in the United States' national forests is currently protected from logging, mining, and other commercial development, a majority of Michigan voters (55%) avers that too little of the national forests are protected. Less than 3 in 10 (29%) believe that this is the right proportion of national forest land to protect, while only 5% say that we are protecting too much of our national forest land. When informed that currently 3% of national forest lands in Michigan are protected, a similarly large majority (56%) say that not enough land is being protected, while a mere 6% feel that too much land is protected and 28% feel that about the right amount is protected.
Michigan residents overwhelmingly support the Administration's proposal to protect more of the national forests. An overwhelming 69% of Michiganders favor the recent proposal by the Clinton Administration to protect almost all of the remaining unprotected wild areas in national forests, while only 23% oppose it. This support extends across demographic groups, with large majorities of both men (63% favor) and women (74% favor) supporting the proposal, as well as voters of all party affiliations- Democrats (80% favor, 18% oppose), independents (66% favor, 22% oppose), and even close to 6 in 10 Republicans (59% favor, 29% oppose). In addition, the proposal is supported by large majorities across the state: Wayne County (63%-29%), Oakland and Macomb counties (74%-23%), the Flint/Saginaw/Lansing area (74%-16%), Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (62%-25%), and Western Michigan and the UP (63%-21%).
Support is even greater when respondents are informed of the proposal's impact within Michigan. When Michiganders are informed that the Administration's proposal would prohibit logging, mining and other industrial activities - but not hiking, fishing or camping - on 32 thousand acres of national forest land within Michigan, support for the measure actually increases to almost three-fourths (74% favor, 18% opposed). This increase occurs across demographic groups, even among those who are slightly less likely to endorse the national proposal. For instance, men (72% favor, 20% oppose) favor the proposal by 9 points more after hearing its impact on Michigan, while women (76%-16%) go up by only 2 points. Similarly, Republicans (65%-24%) and independents (73%-16%) increase by 6 and 7 points respectively, while conservatives (69%-23%) favor the proposal by 8 more points, and residents of Wayne county (70%-22%) by 7 more points.
Finally, Michigan voters are likely to hold candidates accountable at the ballot box for their views on the Administration's proposal. When offered a choice between two candidates running for the State Legislature, one who favored the Administration's forest proposal, and one who opposed it, voters chose the candidate who supported the Administration's plan by an overwhelming 60-point margin (71%-11%). Women preferred that candidate by a 68 point margin (75%-7%), as did Democrats by a 77 point margin (82%-5%), independents by 63 points (71%-8%) and Republicans by 38 points (58%-20%). That candidate enjoys at least a 30 point margin across demographic, geographic and party lines.
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