WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new national poll conducted for the National Wildlife Federation and released today shows three out of every four Americans want to see the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara said the results show the American people want Congress to ensure this critical program continues to support outdoor recreation for families, hunters and anglers, and wildlife-watchers with the community parks, trails, public lands and outdoor spaces critical to our shared heritage:
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has connected Americans with wildlife and outdoor recreation for more than half a century. The poll highlights not only that Americans of all backgrounds are united in their support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but also the immense public support for Congress taking long-overdue action to permanently reauthorize and fully fund this critical program. Failing to act in the face of this overwhelming support would be a massive missed opportunity for our wildlife and outdoor heritage.”
Key results include:
- 74 percent of voters want the Land and Water Conservation Fund renewed and funded;
- 63 percent of voters would feel more favorably about their representative in Congress if she or he “voted to authorize renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
- 48 percent of voters would feel less favorably about their representative in Congress if she or he “voted to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund but not fund it.”
“One result caught us by surprise,” said Jim Williams, a polling analyst with Public Policy Polling. “We told voters the economic case for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and a massive 88 percent said it was very or somewhat convincing that it supports the outdoor economy that generates $887 billion in spending and supports 7.6 million jobs. But an equal number of voters — 88 percent — were very or somewhat convinced simply because the Land and Water Conservation Fund protects important wildlife habitat. Protecting our great outdoors is an American value and voters simply think it’s the right thing for Congress to do.”
The telephone poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling on November 26-27, surveyed 662 registered voters and had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.
The National Wildlife Federation also released a series of polls on support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in a series of states and congressional districts, including Alaska, California’s 23rd Congressional District, Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired in September, uses fees from offshore oil and gas revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks, walking and biking trails, wildlife habitat, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces. The National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Clinton Anderson and Representative Wayne Aspinall to help secure initial passage in 1964. It also worked with subsequent Congresses to increase the program’s funding and improve its programmatic impact in 1968, 1970, 1977 and 2015.