Poll suggests that regardless of political party, Western voters identify with the region’s outdoor spaces
CU Denver School of Public Affairs co-hosts event to discuss 2018 Winning the West Poll resultsToula Wellbrook | School of Public Affairs Oct 19, 2018
October 8, 2018 — DENVER, CO — University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs hosted “Public Lands in the West and the Outdoor Recreational Economy” on October 8 in conjunction with the school’s Wirth Chair in Sustainable Development and the Center for Western Priorities (CWP).
A panel of discussants reviewed the 2018 Winning the West Poll data, polled by Gottlieb Strategic Associates, that shows that regardless of political party, Western voters increasingly identify with the region’s outdoor spaces and deeply value access for hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. Panelists also discussed the implications for public land policy and for the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and other states.
Panelist Luis Benitez, Director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation highlighted the unique bipartisan nature of conservation: “I would argue that the outdoor industry is one of the few remaining bipartisan economies out there. You can go do any of these sports with any political stripe you can possibly imagine, and if you avoid the political conversation and focus on the recreation component, chances are that when you come down to defining what you love, what you want to protect, how you want to protect it, what it means to you, what it means to your family, what it means to your region, the answers are seemingly ubiquitous.”
Other panelists were Ellen Roberts, Former Colorado State Senator, and Aaron Weiss, Media Director, Center for Western Priorities. The panel discussion was moderated by Mark Safty, Wirth Chair, CU Denver School of Public Affairs.
"The results and the findings here are just really eye-opening,” said Mark Safty, Wirth Chair at the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs.
CWP launched its 2018 Winning the West effort with the release of polling data in five Western States highlighting the importance of public lands to voters from across the political spectrum.
University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs is ranked as the top public affairs school in Colorado and among the best in the nation. The school is creating the next generation of visionary leaders through its undergraduate and graduate programs in public affairs and criminal justice, taught by renown faculty whose expertise make them a go-to resource for state and national policy makers. The school is also known for the caliber of its leadership training programs.
The Center for Western Priorities is a nonpartisan conservation and advocacy organization that serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and practices, and ensures accountability at all levels to protect land, water, and communities in the American West.
Based in Denver, Colorado, the Center advances responsible conservation and energy practices in the West. We encourage open, public debate and work to advance those discussions online, in the media, and throughout Western communities by promoting responsible solutions and original research. The Center is a project of the Resources Legacy Fund.