NWF and Partners Release Gulf Poll Results

Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Support Gulf Coast Restoration

09-29-2010 // Emily Guidry Schatzel
Breton NWR

Today, National Wildlife Federation joined with a coalition of environmental, business, fishing and anti-poverty groups dedicated to restoring the Gulf to release polling results showing that nearly three out of four voters (72%) in Gulf region states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) say they’d be more likely to vote for federal legislators who support funding to restore the environmental health of the Gulf.

The poll is timely because yesterday a working group named by President Obama to create a long-term Gulf recovery plan—headed by Navy Secretary and former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus —recommended that a ”significant amount” of the penalties collected from BP for this summer’s oil spill should be dedicated to repairing the region’s ecological, economic, public health and psychological damage. While the U.S. House of Representatives has passed an oil spill response bill that directs funding to Gulf Coast restoration, the Senate, even with the elections fast approaching, has yet to act on oil spill response legislation.

The poll found that--regardless of political affiliation--voters across the Gulf region have a deep commitment to restoration and see it as key to the economic health of the region. In fact, majorities of Independents (67%), Democrats (82%) and Republicans (67%) said they are more likely to support federal legislators who will make new investments in restoration.

“These polling results confirm that voters all across the Gulf support the restoration of a healthy Gulf system, both environmentally and economically,” Karla Raettig, NWF’s National Campaign Director for Coastal Louisiana, said. “In the wake of the Gulf oil disaster this summer, the message to legislators is clear: invest in Gulf Coast restoration and make this region a priority.”

Across the Gulf region, more than two out of three voters (68%) recognize that degradation to the Gulf Coast as a result of man-made activities had occurred even before the recent oil spill, and more than three out of four voters (77%) believe it is important for the federal government to take steps to restore the health of the Gulf region, making this a strong voting issue in the upcoming elections.

Additional key findings of the survey include:
  • More than three out of five voters (62%) in Gulf Coast states say they are less likely to vote for federal legislators who do not support funding Gulf restoration.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 poll respondents (87%) across the five Gulf states agree that the environmental health of the Gulf Coast region affects their state’s economy very much or somewhat.
  • Nearly eight out of 10 poll respondents (78%) favor creation of a separate fund for the Gulf region and the Mississippi River Delta that includes penalty payments from BP for violating the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

The full polling information is available at the Walton Foundation website: www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/gulf-region-poll-results/

The bipartisan poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research and Consulting. The telephone survey of 2,061 voters from all five Gulf region states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) was conducted between September 7 and September 13, 2010. The polling margin of error is +/-2.2%.

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