New OIA poll released: voters in Western swing states say outdoor recreation economy is key issue


Media Contact:
Gareth Martins
Outdoor Industry Association
303.327 3539

October 22, 2015

New OIA poll released: voters in Western swing states say outdoor recreation economy is key issue

BOULDER, Colo. -- In advance of the GOP presidential debate in Boulder on October 28, a new poll released by Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) today shows that majorities of likely voters in the battleground states of Colorado and Nevada say issues involving public lands, water and wildlife are important factors in deciding whom they support.

The poll found that these issues have significant influence on voters, with 84 percent in Colorado and 77 percent in Nevada saying public lands, waters and wildlife are somewhat important, to very important in their voting decisions. The poll also shows most voters in Colorado and Nevada believe outdoor recreation and access to national public lands help the economy and are essential to the quality of life in their state.

The survey found that nearly nine in 10 voters in Colorado and more than eight in 10 in Nevada participate in outdoor recreation on public lands, with three-quarters of those surveyed stating that these places belong to all Americans, not the individual states in which they are located.

Download the topline report here.

“The polling data confirms what we’ve always believed,” said Amy Roberts, executive director of OIA. “People in Colorado and Nevada, but really all across the West and around the country, regardless of political affiliation, know that outdoor recreation and access to national parks, national forests and national monuments are key to quality of life, job creation and healthy economies in their states. It’s no wonder that an overwhelming majority of voters are in favor of protecting these places and will support candidates who share these beliefs.”

Further, majorities across the political spectrum in Colorado and Nevada are opposed to proposals that would give state governments control over America's public lands. Voters in both states also believe that these places have a positive impact on protecting our nation’s history and heritage.

The poll was conducted October 6–10, 2015, by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the nation’s leading public opinion research firms, and included 500 likely Republican, Democratic, and independent voters in each state.

“The survey results show the strong connection that voters in these critical swing states have with national public lands and outdoor recreation,” said Lori Weigel, partner at Public Opinion Strategies. “They recognize the economic contribution that public lands and outdoor recreation make in their state, and want their state to encourage this sector of the economy.”

Voters in both Colorado and Nevada agreed that their states should invest more in jobs and businesses related to outdoor recreation and tourism, even above those in the oil and gas and mining industries in both states, the health care industry in Colorado and the gaming industry in Nevada.

Consumer spending on outdoor recreation contributes $13.2 billion to Colorado’s economy and $14.9 billion to Nevada’s, as well as billions more in salaries and wages in each state.

Additionally, access to outdoor recreation attracts outdoor businesses and supports 125,000 jobs in Colorado.

“We chose to base our business in Colorado because of the state’s natural beauty, the abundance of public land nearby and the quality of outdoor recreation all around us,” said Tom Barney, CEO of Cortez-based Osprey Packs. “These places inspire the Osprey team every day and help us build the best products for our customers to get outside.”

Similarly, Nevada’s 148,000 outdoor recreation industry jobs depend on access to public lands.

 “Whether it’s exploring the wild places in northern or southern Nevada or visiting new national monuments like Basin and Range, we have amazing opportunities for our employees and customers alike to lead a healthy active lifestyle here,” said Ron Hunter, Patagonia Activism Manager in Reno. “It's great to see Nevadans agree about the importance of protecting these places today and for future generations of Americans.” Patagonia employs more than 400 people at its facility in Reno.

The road to the White House runs through Colorado and Nevada, and candidates from both parties running for president, the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate or state legislatures should review OIA’s polling data to gain a better understanding of how important issues involving America’s public lands, waters and wildlife are to voters in those key western states. Investing in outdoor recreation on national public lands is not only smart economics, it is smart politics.

Download the media packet including this press release, polling memo and infographic summary here.


About Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 employees of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services.

For more information, visit or call 303.444.3353.

Link to Topline Report:

Link to Polling Memo, Infographic Summary & this press release: