DENVER â€“ More than 80 percent of America's hunters and anglers believe the United States should set a bold, new vision on energy policy and set a goal to achieve 100 percent of our electricity from clean, renewable sources of power within 10 years, according to a new poll commissioned by National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. Three-quarters also believe America has a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children's future.
The nationwide poll conducted by American Viewpoint also shows that nearly half of the respondents have yet to commit to a presidential candidate in the November election.
â€œWith less than three months until Election Day, hunters and anglers are still up for grabs,â€ said American Viewpoint pollster Bob Carpenter, â€œand it's clear they are concerned about global warming and America's energy future.â€
The sportsmen polled tend to be swing voters who consider conservation to be as important as, if not more important than, gun rights. Despite the strong presence of hunters in the poll (67 percent either hunt or hunt and fish) 47 percent of the respondents believe that the statement, â€œGun rights are important, but conservation is just as importantâ€ describes their feelings.
â€œCandidates should take note. Conservation, climate, and energy are issues sportsmen expect the next president and Congress to tackle immediately,â€ said Sue Brown, executive director of National Wildlife Federation Action Fund.
The poll, conducted July 27-31, 2008, surveyed 1,000 self-identified hunters and anglers, more than half of whom said they consider themselves politically conservative. More than half said they vote in every election, and another 22 percent indicated they vote in almost every election. Respondents tended to be white, male, and middle-aged or older.
In Denver, at an event during the Democratic National Convention, sportsmen painted a vivid picture of what's at stake if the next Congress and administration do not confront climate change as part of a new national energy policy.
â€œHunters and anglers who care about conservation are looking for the candidate with the boldest, clean energy plan,â€ said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. â€œThe technology solutions that help families reduce their dependency on fossil fuels are the same technologies that will also solve the climate crisis, clean the air, and help protect America's natural resources for our children's future.â€
According to the poll, hunters and anglers believe the United States is off on the wrong track in terms of meeting our current and future energy needs and they agree we need to set a bold, new vision on energy policy.
Among the highlights:
â€¢ 85 percent agree with the statement, â€œWe can improve the environment and strengthen the economy by investing in renewable energy technologies that create jobs while reducing global warming.â€
â€¢ 81 percent agree with the statement, â€œThe United States needs to set a bold new vision on energy policy, and set a goal to achieve 100 percent of its electricity from clean renewable sources of power within 10 years.â€
â€¢ 55 percent believe additional development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biofuels will do more to stimulate and help the United States economy, compared to 34 percent who believe additional development of oil and gas sources such as drilling off our coast and in our wildlife refuges will do more to stimulate the economy.
In terms of political demographics, 37 percent of those interviewed indicated they were Republican, 37 percent indicated they were Independent, and 23 percent indicated they considered themselves Democrats. Fifty-one percent consider themselves conservative, including 26 percent who consider themselves very conservative. In addition, 53 percent vote in every election with an additional 22 percent indicating they vote in almost all elections. Twenty-seven percent have not decided who they will vote for in the presidential election, with 20 percent indicating they are leaning toward one candidate.
â€œDrilling on public lands that are critical habitat for wildlife, for the last drop of oil, is not going to solve our energy or climate crisis,â€ said Steve Torbit, Colorado hunter and Executive Director of NWF's Rocky Mountain office. â€œIrresponsible energy development is turning our public lands in the West into one giant pin cushion, and it won't reduce gas prices at the pump. We need commitments from our elected officials that they'll get down to the business of solving these problems without sacrificing what Americans cherish about the West.â€
â€œI've spent my life fishing and hunting and I've witnessed firsthand the rapid changes triggered by global warming,â€ said Tony Dean, a Hall of Fame angler and popular host of Tony Dean Outdoors. â€œWe can only solve our climate and energy crisis by cutting carbon emissions and developing new, clean energy sources at the same time. These problems are linked, and so are their solutions.â€
â€œConservation is a way of life for millions of Americans who care about the natural heritage we're leaving behind for our children and grandchildren,â€ said David Crockett, avid sportsman and descendent of legendary outdoorsman Davey Crockett. â€œThe decisions we make today will affect them long after we're gone. We owe it to them to do everything we can to find better energy choices that help prevent the worst consequences of climate change.â€
Complete poll results are available at www.NWFActionFund.org or www.targetglobalwarming.org.
Hunting and angling are significant economic drivers in the United States.In 2006, more than 42 million people hunted or fished in the United States, spending more than $76 billion, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
National Wildlife Federation Action Fund is a 501 (c)4 political action organization and a sister organization to the National Wildlife Federation.