Horse News

Westerners (Blue or Red) Aren’t Happy with Zinke

by Ula Chrobak as published on

A new study polled western voters’ views on the interior secretary, Trump’s public lands agenda, and downsizing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante

Republican and Democrat, the majority of westerners don’t think Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is doing a great job. They’re especially displeased by the downsizing of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, and they think preserving western land is a major priority.

That’s according to a new study by the Center for Western Priorities called “Winning the West,” released Wednesday. When asked their impression of Interior Secretary Zinke, most western voters (42 percent) responded that they had an unfavorable view of his time on the job, versus those who responded favorably (25 percent) or said they don’t know (33 percent) how he has done. Even among Republicans, just 47 percent were pleased with the secretary’s work. And Zinke had especially high unfavorable ratings in Nevada and his home state of Montana.

“Regardless of political party, [voters] value candidates that are going to stand up to protect public lands,” says Jennifer Rokala, the executive director of the Center for Western Priorities.

The study polled 2,500 voters in the political battleground states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Montana, asking questions about conservation, energy, and policy approaches to public lands.

Some of the more interesting findings:

  • 56 percent of all voters disapprove of the Trump administration on public lands issues.
  • 74 percent opposed reducing Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.
  • 67 percent oppose increasing public land available for oil and gas development.
  • 64 percent oppose rolling back regulations for extraction development.
  • 84 percent favor investment in renewable energy.

The overwhelming majority (81 percent) of voters think outdoor recreation is important to the future of the region’s economy and, according to the poll results, that future depends on conserving public lands. Brian Gottlieb, a researcher who prepared the findings, says the study shows westerners feel strongly enough about these issues that they’re willing to cross the aisle come election time. For example, hunters and anglers—who skew politically conservative—indicated that they would vote for a Democratic candidate who supports access to public lands (and, presumably, their ability to hunt and fish on them) and that they would reject a Republican who wants to make cuts to these areas.

“The importance of outdoor recreation to the West and the western economy really stood out,” Gottlieb says. “Those numbers cannot be ignored.”

For the most part, western voters prefer a middle-of-the-road political approach that strikes a balance between conservation and energy development, according to Gottlieb and Rokala. This means that, in the coming election, candidates’ stances on energy, conservation, and public lands will be important deciding factors. More than 80 percent of people surveyed said public lands, parks, and wildlife issues were somewhat or very likely to influence their decision when it’s time to vote.

There’s definitely a more balanced political approach to public lands than what’s going on in D.C. right now, Rokala says. “Our hope is that candidates take this data, digest it, and use it to inform their positions on public lands and meet the voters where they are,” she says.

8 replies »

  1. Zinke’s boss was elected by even fewer people, around 25% of eligible voters:

    And this regarding Primary voters:
    “Just 14 percent of eligible adults — 9 percent of the whole nation — voted for either Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton.”

    The biggest block of voters STAYED HOME! Democracy dies a horrrible death in the presence of apathy:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You just can’t come into town and dismantle everything because you want your way. It is not supposed to work that way, you are working for the people and the people will like you or they won’t, THEY DON’T The Wild Mustangs & Burros in each state belong to the people, they are the history of that State, they want then preserved not destroyed for the cattle Rancher who is getting wealthy on your land. You in your state have to rise up and tell them who is the boss. People, Get Involved!!!! Save these Poor animals who are innocent and need the people to be their Voice!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They GOT what they voted for! An ignorant Moran who only sees $$$ signs and benefit to he and his family! Many of us saw this coming. Too bad you didn’t do your research before voting! Some of this damage can be irtrpairable! Happy Now! And to the farmers in the Midwest and other areas, hope your happy when YOU can’t sell your crops or pay your bills! How many farms will be foreclosed on? And 12 billion is nothing! Get your butts out to the polls!

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least the farmers are going on the record against newly proposed federal cash handouts, wanting instead better trade “deals.” Can’t help but compare with grazing permit handout holders. Even one who supports wild horses is quoted elsewhere on this blog about “owning” his permit, which is a complete farce.

      Livestock grazing permits are granted privileges, by law, which can be modified or revoked by the BLM or USFS. They were clearly NOT to be construed as property or used as property rights. And yet this is a many $Billion dollar boondoggle today. And we, the people, are to believe wild horses and burros cause so much damage it is worth selling them for pennies a pound to an export slaughter market while the price of cattle and sheep drastically drop, so the demands for higher livestock AMLs and reduced fees will begin in short order, if not already happening. Fees were already reduced by the maximum allowed by law for this year!

      For $1.41 around 1500 lbs. of beef can forage on our public lands for a month. By weight, that’s about two wild horses, who once captive cost us all between $4-5 PER DAY, not even counting the millions spent on roundups, removals, processing for a few thousand animals. Just in captive conditions, $4 per day comes to $120 PER MONTH.

      So taxpayers are being paid $1.41 in fees and taking on a minimum of $120 debt for an equivalent forage use. There are of course many other costs, but even this is ludicrous. Who else would make such a stupendously lopsided and irresponsible deal? Only those using OTHER PEOPLE”S MONEY (ours).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – or voted for the Green party which obviously did not stand a chance of winning – so what is the point? What exactly could be gained by either of those two choices? Being able to say “they voted”? Actually they might as well have stayed home like far too many did. Wonder if enough people learned anything from this “lesson”?


    • I agree, Louie – For either of the “parties” to choose the nominee when we, the taxpaying citizens, do not approve those choices – yeah thats wrong. But voters need to wake up and speak out.

      Liked by 1 person

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