2012 National Survey of Hunters & Anglers

Conservation Issues Important to Hunters and Anglers

09-25-2012 // Chesapeake Beach Consulting
Yosemite and River
Anglers and hunters, who tend to be Republican and conservative voters, view conservation as important as gun rights.  They express support and concern about a number of conservation issues including access to public lands, global warming solutions, Gulf clean-up, clean water protections and protecting our children’s future according to a recently completed national survey of 800 anglers and hunters.
  • Hunters and anglers favor restoring Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways in order to protect our health and important fish and wildlife habitat.
  • A plurality of sportsmen think protection of America’s public lands should be given a priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies such as oil, gas and coal that the United States produces.
  • Anglers and hunters believe global warming is currently occurring and they believe we have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future.  And, they overwhelmingly believe the economy can be strengthen and jobs created by investing in renewable energy while reducing global warming pollution.
  • BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 Gulf oil spill and be required to pay to restore the Gulf to ensure the recovery of fish and wildlife populations. 
  • Children not spending enough time outdoors is a problem and a threat to wildlife conservation in America.

Download the full poll results (pdf)

Hunters and anglers tend to be conservative, Republican or Independent.  And, they vote.  

  • 42% of those interviewed indicated they were Republican, 32% indicated they were Independent with 18% indicting they considered themselves Democrats.  27% indicate they split their ticket when voting
  • 50% consider themselves conservative, including 22% who consider themselves very conservative.
  • 60% vote in every election with an additional 21% indicating they vote in almost all elections.

Conservation is just as important to these hunters and anglers as gun rights.

  • 47% believe that gun rights are important, but conservation is just as important.  37% believe that gun rights are the most important issue facing sportsmen, while 13% believe that gun rights are not as important as conservation issues.
    • A partisan divide is evident here with 56% of Democrats indicating that gun rights and conservation are equally important while 50% of Republicans believe that gun rights are the most important issue.  50% of Independents believe the two issues are equally important as do 54% of ticket-splitters.

The sporting public favors restoring Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways including smaller creeks and streams.

  • 79% favor restoring Clean Water Act protections including 57% who strongly favor this.
    • We again see strong bi-partisan support with 94% of Democrats, 78% of Independents and 73% of Republicans favoring restoring Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways. 

Hunters and anglers want public lands protected and they want access to public lands that to date have been inaccessible and they want the government to take their needs and desires into account when issuing oil and gas leases.  Outdoor recreation in this country contributes $730 billion a year to the U.S. economy. 

  • 49% believe protecting public lands should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies such as oil, gas and coal the United States produces.  Just one in three (34%) favor development of energy supplies even if our public lands suffer.
  • 79% of these hunters and anglers support allowing them access to public lands that to date have been inaccessible.  58% strongly support this action.
    • Opening up access is not a partisan issue with 83% of Republicans, 79% of Independents and 71% of Democrats supporting open access.  And, those voters not aligned with one party (ticket-splitters) favor this access by a margin of 77% to 18%.
  • 88% agree that prior to the federal government issuing an oil or gas lease to drill on public lands the various resources and uses of the land should be considered including fishing and hunting, protection of wildlife habitat and insuring air and water are kept clean. 
    • Hunters and anglers overwhelming across all demographic groups agree including 91% Democrats and 87% of Republicans and Independents.
  • 84% want the federal government to make it a priority to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and manage public lands for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation.
    • Again we see strong agreement across all demographic groups including among 90% of Democrats, 84% of Independents and 82% of Republicans.  And, 85% of those that do not vote a straight party ticket (ticket-splitters) agree by a margin of 85% to 11%.

These hunters and anglers believe global warming is occurring and believe we have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future.  They also believe that global warming is a cause of the recent hot temperatures we have experienced. 

  • 59% agree that global warming is occurring.
    • Majorities in every region of the country, both men and women and all age groups agree that global warming is occurring as do 86% of Democrats and 61% of Independents.
    • Republicans split on this question with 45% agreeing and 49% disagreeing. 
    • Ticket-splitters agree global warming is occurring by a margin of 67% to 28%.
  • 66% agree with the statement “We have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future”.
    • Majorities of all partisans agree with this statement, though there are clear partisan differences.  90% of Democrats agree while 53% of Republicans agree.  Those voters available to either party (ticket-splitters) agree with this statement by a margin of 75% to 20%.
  • 57% of these hunters and anglers believe global warming is a cause of the hot temperatures we have experienced recently including the hottest July on record.
  • 72% agree that we can improve the environment and strengthen the economy by investing in renewable energy technologies that create jobs while reducing global warming pollution.
    • Strong bi-partisan agreement is shown on this question, though Democrats (90%) agree in higher numbers than Republicans (67%) or Independents (65%).  Ticket-splitters fall between Democrats and Republicans at 81% agreement.
  • 57% want the President and to enforce the authority granted to the EPA by the Supreme Court to limit carbon dioxide and other air pollutants.
    • Support for this enforcement is partisan based with Democrats favoring enforcement while Republicans are split.  55% of Independents favor enforcement as do 67% of Ticket-splitters.

Hunters and anglers want BP held accountable and want monies collected from fines used for Gulf restoration and not spent on roads, bridges, ports and convention centers.   

  • 81% of hunters and anglers agree that BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 oil spill and required to restore the Gulf to ensure the recovery of fish and wildlife populations. 
    • Bi-partisan agreement is shown on this question with 97% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans and 78% of Independents agreeing that BP should be held accountable.  81% of ticket-splitters agree BP should be held accountable
  • And, 87% of these hunters and anglers want the monies collected to used exclusively to restore fish and wildlife habitat and not for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, ports and convention centers. 
    • Strong partisan agreement is shown here with 88% of Republicans and 81% of Democrats agreeing with this statement. 

Children spending hours each day in front of the television or computer screen and not enough time outdoors is a problem and a threat to the future of wildlife conservation in America.

  • 87% of hunters and anglers believe it is a very serious or serious problem that children today are not spending enough time outdoors and away from television, computers and video games. 
    • Partisans of all stripes agree this is a problem with 91% of Democrats, 88% of Republicans and 83% of Independents viewing this as a problem. 
  • And, 91% are concerned a great deal or somewhat that this lack of connection to nature and the outdoors is a threat to the future of wildlife conservation in America.  65% are concerned a great deal.
    • This strong degree of concern extends across partisan lines with 68% of Republicans, 64% of Democrats and 60% of Independents expressing a great deal of concern.

This national public opinion poll conducted among 800 self-identified hunters and anglers was conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting from August 23 through September 1, 2012 for the National Wildlife Federation.  The sample for this survey was randomly drawn from a list of self-identified hunters and anglers.  To qualify, a respondent must have indicated they were a hunter, an angler or both as well as a registered voter.  All interviews were conducted by telephone, including 15% of the interviews by cell phone.  The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 3.2% at the 95% confidence level.

33% of these respondents indicated they only were anglers while 12% were only hunters.  55% indicated they both fished and hunted.

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