Poll: America’s Sportsmen Want Bold New Energy Solutions

DENVER, CO. (Aug. 27, 2008) – 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 July 27-31, 2008 by American Viewpoint, also shows that nearly half of these respondents have yet to commit to a presidential candidate in the November election.
“With less than three months until Election Day, hunters and anglers are still up for grabs, and it’s clear they are concerned about global warming and America’s energy future,” said American Viewpoint pollster Bob Carpenter.

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% either hunt or hunt and fish) 47% of these respondents believe that the statement, “Gun rights are important, but conservation is just as important” describes their feelings.

“Candidates should take note. Conservation, climate and energy are issues sportsmen expect the next president and Congress to tackle immediately,” said Sue Brown, executive director of National Wildlife Federation Action Fund.

The poll surveyed 1,000 self-identified hunters and anglers, more than half of whom said they consider themselves conservative politically. 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.

“Hunters and anglers who care about conservation are looking for the candidate with the boldest, clean energy plan,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The 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.”

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:

– 85% agree with the statement “We can improve the environment and strengthen the economy by investing in renewable energy technologies that create jobs while reducing global warming.”

– 81% agree with the statement “The United States needs to set a bold new vision on energy policy, and set a goal to achieve 100% of its electricity from clean renewable sources of power within 10 years.”

– 55% believe additional development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biofuels will do more to stimulate and help the United States economy, over 34% 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% of those interviewed indicated they were Republican, 37% indicated they were Independent with 23% indicting they considered themselves Democrats. Fifty-one (51%) percent consider themselves Conservative, including 26% who consider themselves very conservative. In addition, 53% vote in every election with an additional 22% indicating they vote in almost all elections and 27% have not decided who they will vote for in the presidential election, with 20% indicating they are leaning toward one candidate.

“Drilling on our public lands that are critical habitat for wildlife for the last drop of oil is not going to solve our energy or climate crisis,” said Steve Torbit, Colorado hunter and Executive Director of NWF’s Rocky Mountain office. “Irresponsible 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.”

“I’ve spent my life fishing and hunting and I’ve witnessed firsthand the rapid changes triggered by global warming,” said Tony Dean, a Hall of Fame angler and popular host of Tony Dean Outdoors. “We 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.”

“Conservation is a way of life for millions of Americans who care about the natural heritage we’re leaving behind for our children and grandchildren,” said David Crockett, avid sportsman and descendent of legendary outdoorsman Davey Crockett. “The 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.”

Hunting and angling are significant economic drivers in the United States. In 2006, more than 42 million people hunted or fished in the U.S., 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.


Christine Dorsey