Conservation is a winning election issue in the West

Aug 17, 2023

The latest “Winning the West” poll from the Center for Western Priorities shows that public lands conservation remains a winning election issue for Western voters in Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada. Overwhelming majorities say that national public lands, parks, and wildlife issues are not only important to them but that these issues will play an influential role in how they choose to vote.

Heading into next year’s elections, 87 percent of Western voters—with strong majorities across parties—say a candidate’s support for conservation plays an influential role in how they choose to cast their ballots. Specifically, 71 percent of Western voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who prioritizes public lands from being taken over by private developers and oil and mining companies. 71 percent also say the same thing about a candidate who supports protecting and investing in national parks and monuments.

In regard to the Biden administration, 74 percent of Western voters say doing more to protect and conserve public lands, parks, wildlife, and national monuments would make them view the administration more favorably. That view is held by 93 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents, and even 53 percent of Republicans.

Local monument proposals are popular among voters in the states surveyed. The poll found that 79 percent of voters in Arizona support the recently designated Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni–Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument. 84 percent of voters in Colorado support the Dolores River Canyon Country national monument proposal, and 77 percent of voters in Nevada support the Bahsahwahbee national monument proposal (locally known as Swamp Cedars).

“Voters understand that one of the things that makes the Western way of life, the Nevada way of life, is that we care about these issues,” said Lindsey Vermeyen, senior vice president for Benenson Strategy Group, who conducted the poll. “We care about our public lands, and our monuments and protecting these things for future generations.”

Learn more at CWP’s Winning the West website or download the poll results.

Quick hits

Westerners want more conservation action from elected officials

Center for Western Priorities [poll results] | Westwise blog | Nevada Independent | Colorado Sun

A monumental request for California’s public lands


Pinyon jay to be considered for endangered species protection

Arizona Public Radio | National Parks Traveler

Editorial: Why does the Grand Canyon need a national monument? Take one look and you know

Arizona Republic

Study shows how Glen Canyon Dam has put Grand Canyon archaeological site at risk

Arizona Daily Sun

Battle rages over ‘sweetheart deal’ between Trump administration and giant water district

Los Angeles Times

Tracy Stone-Manning: Public lands have many uses. Management has to prioritize landscape health

Idaho Statesman

BLM issues notice for lease sale in New Mexico

Carlsbad Current-Argus

Quote of the day

Support for monuments in the abstract is strong, but support for specific monuments in each state is through the roof because folks in each state know the lands and they know what should be protected. I think monuments are where you really see bipartisanship come through. In Colorado, protecting a place like the Dolores River is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. It’s a Colorado issue.”

—Aaron Weiss, Center for Western Priorities deputy director, Colorado Sun

Picture This


marmot with grass in its mouth

@rockynps Is it time for second breakfast? Rocky’s Yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) are busy foraging for alpine grasses and other food sources and building up their body fat for winter. Fun fact, Yellow-bellied marmots are hibernation champions! They live in colonies of 10-20 individuals and spend over half of their lives in hibernation. Marmots will enter their burrows in September to early October and they will stay huddled with their colony in a burrow insulated with hay for approximately 200 days until the following April or May.


Featured image: Results from the 2023 Winning the West poll, Center for Western Priorities