Public Opinion Poll: Utahns’ Views on National Park Closures

October 8, 2013  |  Posted in: Survey  |  9 comments

As part of the federal government’s partial “shutdown,” national parks and monuments have been closed. These actions have produced various acts of civil disobedience nationwide. Nine counties in Utah dependent on tourism dollars are seeking a declaration of emergency because of the problem. To assess the opinion of Utahns on these circumstances, Libertas Institute conducted the following poll.

We surveyed 500 random Utah voters on October 7, 2013 via an automated phone system. Sampled voters were contacted and administered a questionnaire. The margin of sampling error is ±4.38%.

Those wishing to perform their own analysis of the survey results may download the full data here. Questions? Contact us.

1. Do you believe that the federal government’s closure of national parks was a necessary action in light of the recent so-called “shutdown”?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

2. Various news reports have highlighted the actions of individuals removing barricades, traffic cones, or other obstacles so as to gain entrance to closed public parks. Do you support or oppose this form of civil disobedience?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

3. Would you support or oppose the state of Utah funding the operations of national parks located within the state in order to keep them open during the shutdown?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

4. If the state of Utah offered to fund national parks within the state, and that offer was rejected by the Obama administration, would you support or oppose government officials removing barricades, traffic cones, or other obstacles so as to let Utahns and out-of-state tourists enter national parks located within the state?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

5. Do you believe that the shutdown of national parks in Utah will have an impact on the tourism industry in Utah?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

6. Would you support or oppose the state of Utah fully taking over the operation of national parks located within the state on a permanent basis?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

7. Where do you place blame for the shutdown of national parks in Utah?

Here is the breakdown by age group:

Here is the breakdown by political affiliation:

Analysis

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there appears to be partisan division on this political issue. For example:

  • Democrats were three times more likely than Republicans to oppose state or county officials forcefully opening parks if an offer to fund them out of state coffers was rejected by the Obama administration.
  • Democrats were also three times more likely than Republicans to oppose state ownership of national parks. Independents fell in the middle of the two parties.

The question of blame produced very interesting results in relation to this partisanship. Very few respondents blamed Democrats in Congress specifically. 58% of Republicans blame the Obama administration for shutting down the parks, but roughly the same percentage of Democrats blame Congressional Republicans. A healthy amount of respondents across all political affiliations point the ire at Congress in general.

Given Utah’s efforts to take charge of federal lands and see that they are managed by the state, it is interesting that 55% of Utah voters would support state ownership of Utah’s national parks, with only 23% opposed.

Despite disagreements on various issues (respondents were evenly split on the question of civil disobedience to gain park access, for example), Utah voters appear fairly united on the fact that park closures were not a necessary action. Should state officials consider taking action to open up Utah’s national parks, they appear to have strong public support for their potential interventions.



Did you find this survey interesting? Share it with your friends!


Featured

Google+