A New Poll Released in Key CA Congressional Districts Shows Overwhelming Support for Environmental Issues Across Party Lines

September 22, 2018 by TWN Staff
From left, Kayla Skye, Zachary Canu and Josh Zarrabieta, carefully walk along the sharp rocky shoreline at Gaviota State Park Beach where the pier is closed and cliffs prevent pedestrians from walking very far along the beach, on June 15, 2018. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The environment is shaping up to be a key issue in California battleground congressional districts this election, according to a new poll released from the CA League of Conservation Voters. The survey demonstrates that across party lines, voters want their Members of Congress to protect public lands, oppose offshore drilling, and support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Of particular note, independent voters — a key demographic in the midterm elections — support these important conservation issues.

As the current Administration proposes opening 90% of the American coastline to offshore drilling and considers opening National Monuments and public lands to drilling and mining, CA Republican incumbents in these districts are finding themselves between their party and voters.

“At a time of daily attacks by the President and his administration against the most basic protections for people and our environment, Californians are united across party lines in demanding that their Members of Congress step up to reject the politics of pollution,” said Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer, California League of Conservation Voters. “Democrats, Republicans, and independents all want stronger protections for public lands, oceans, and the California coast.”

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), surveyed likely voters in congressional districts represented by Tom McClintock (CA-4); Steve Knight (CA-25); Mimi Walters (CA-45); and Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48).

These districts, currently represented by Republicans, are facing strong challengers as their party’s views on environmental issues and public lands protections are at odds with the views of their constituents. Over 82% of voters in all four congressional districts share that it is very important or somewhat important that their Member of Congress protect public lands, coastlines, and clean air and water.

In each district, more than 72% of Republicans and more than 75% of independent voters also share this perspective.

“These polls show overwhelming bipartisan agreement when it comes to conserving and protecting public lands, coastlines, air and water,” said Jim Williams, Polling Analyst at Public Policy Polling. “It’s very unusual in this day and age of hyper-partisanship and political tribalism for voters across the political spectrum to agree so uniformly on an issue.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is overwhelmingly popular with voters in these four congressional districts. Created more than 50 years ago, LWCF uses a portion of revenue from offshore drilling to protect land, water, and recreation areas for Americans. No taxpayer funds go towards the program.

LWCF will expire on September 30 if Congress doesn’t act. In both the House and Senate, legislation to permanently reauthorize the program has widespread, bipartisan support. Last week, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to permanently reauthorize the program and send the bill to the full House, but the end of the month deadline still looms.

More than two thirds of voters in the four congressional districts want their Member of Congress to publicly support the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a national program that funds — at no expense to taxpayers — national and local parks, trail and beach projects. In each district, well over a majority of Republican voters and more than 63% of independent voters share this perspective.  

Steve Knight, representing California’s 25th district and challenged by DCCC Red to Blue Candidate Katie Hill, was the first to buck party leadership and offering public support for the LWCF in an opinion piece published in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal earlier this month.

This poll demonstrates that LWCF also has widespread support back home in key California Congressional Districts. When asked whether their Member of Congress should support LWCF, more than ⅔ of voters shared they would like to see their representative publicly push for the program’s continuation. In Congresswoman Mimi Walters’ district (CA-45), voters across party lines want to see her champion this issue. This includes 86% of Democrats, a majority of Republican voters and 63% of independent voters.

A majority of voters, including a majority of independent voters in the three coastal Congressional Districts – CD 25, 45, and 48 – favor protecting our beaches and ocean from expanded offshore oil drilling.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, representing California’s 48th Congressional District which include many beach communities such as Huntington Beach, is a surfer representing one of the most iconic beachside congressional districts. A majority of voters as well as a majority of independent voters in his district oppose offshore drilling. This district includes many beach communities such as Huntington Beach.  

This polling data also shows how strongly voters feel about their public lands, such as national parks and national monuments. Over 82% of voters in all four congressional districts believe that it is very important or somewhat important that their Member of Congress protect public lands, coastlines, and clean air and water. In Congressman McClintock’s District (CA-4), 84% of voters share this belief, including 79% of Republicans and 75% of independents.   

With the environment shaping up to be a key issue ahead of the midterms, voters’ views of their representative’s record on the the environment will be paramount.

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