Oregonians overwhelmingly support the Clinton administration proposals to protect roadless areas within National Forests. Two thirds of the states residents support the President on this issue both in terms of the amount of land that would be protected nationally as well as based upon the amount of land that would be protected within the state of Oregon.
Some specific findings from the Oregon 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?
67% support the Clinton administration proposal (48% strongly support it). Given that opposition rises only to 27%, it has in excess of two-to-one support in the state.
Question 12: What if you learned that included in this proposal would be protections for up to 28% of national forest lands in Oregon, or about 4.4 million acres, which would still stay open for hunting, camping and fishing. Then would you favor or oppose this proposal?
The 'homestate' figures maintained the same strong support for the proposal that were shown for the proposal nationwide. In Oregon, the 'favor' figures after hearing the amount of Oregon land involved were 69% (47% strongly supporting) and dropped the opposition to 23%.
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 78% supporting the national model and 82% supporting the specific Oregon protections. Both as to the national perspective and the specific Oregon impact, the 55 and older age group was the least strong support group (with 61% supporting the national model and 61 % supporting the proposal in the Oregon lands question).
2. Support for the Clinton proposal was overwhelming among those who identify themselves as members of the two major parties. 78% of Democrats support the President on the issue (with support rising to 82% once the amount of Oregon lands involved were disclosed) and over 7 in 10 Republicans support the President on the issue. The only group whose support falls below 50% is Independent voters, but they also represent the group with the largest number of voters undecided on the issue (with over 25% of Independents undecided on the issue - either as to the proposal nationally, or as to the specific Oregon lands involved).
3. The strongest support for the Clinton proposals comes form the voter-rich Portland metropolitan area, where 74% support the national proposal (56% strongly) and 73% support the proposal after learning of the Oregon lands involved (51% strongly supporting). It should be noted that support never drops below 55% in any geographic area.
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 13% of the land in Oregon?s National Forests are permanently protected from logging and other development. Given this, do you think Oregon has too much, not enough, or about the right amount of permanently protected land in our national forests?
Nearly half (47%) of all Oregonians feel that the 18% national figure is too low. Only 13% 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 only age group where fewer than 50% of respondents felt that the 18% figure was 'not enough' were those 55 and older (with 30% of this age group feeling it was too low an amount).
2. Similarly, the younger a person's age, the more likely they are to believe that having only 13% of Oregon's forest lands protected as wilderness is not enough. 35% of those 55 and above feel that 13% is 'not enough' compared to 67% for those 18-34. Over 50% of members of all other age groups felt the Oregon protected lands figure was 'not enough.'
3. Geographically, the only area in which more than a quarter of the people feel that the 13% figure for protected lands in Oregon is 'too much' is the Coastal region with 27% taking this position. Those in the Portland metropolitan area are the most likely find the figure inadequate - 60% of respondents in this area felt the Oregon figure was 'not enough.'
4. Those with strong party identification were much more likely to find the amount of Oregon land currently protected to be inadequate. 58% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans found the 13% figure to be 'not enough,' compared to 30% of those who self-identify as Independents.
Question 7: To the best of your knowledge, are industrial activities like logging and mining allowed in National Forests?
55% overall are aware that these activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' allowed. 26% feel that the activities are 'definitely' or 'probably' not allowed. An additional 9% don?t know whether they are or not. Consequently, over a third of Oregonians 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 45% overall (29% strongly, 16% somewhat), with 51% supporting industrial uses (24% strongly, 27% somewhat) and 5% expressing no opinion
Discussion/Analysis of Questions 7 & 8:
1. Women are the group most unaware that logging and other activities are currently allowed on National Forest land - 52% of those who think such activities are 'probably not allowed' and 65% of those who think industrial activities are 'definitely not allowed' are women.
2. The strongest opponents of industrial activities in National Forests are self-identified Democrats who oppose the activities 60% to 38% in favor.