From a February 8 post on the New York Times’ Green blog:
A new poll tracking the conservation attitudes of residents of the six Rocky Mountain States shows that support is strong for greater protection of public lands and investment in renewable energy. It also offers some clues to why public policy does not dovetail with public opinion in those areas.
While support for more conservation has remained constant during the three years since the poll began, David Metz, who works for the Democratic-leaning polling company Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, said he set out this year to understand why western politics and policy depart in some ways from public opinion.
He learned that 54 percent of Rocky Mountain residents are unaware of how their leaders have voted with regard to protecting land, air and water. “People don’t have a clear idea of what their elected officials are doing,” Mr. Metz said.
For example, more than two-thirds of people interviewed either said that no drilling was taking place on public lands or that they didn’t have enough information to answer whether it was or not. In reality, 38 million public acres across the United States, including land in 42 national park units are leased for oil and gas drilling, something that most western lawmakers support.
“There’s a mismatch,” Mr. Metz said. “One of our goals with this poll is to show a common scientific set of data to better connect where public officials are and where the public is.”