Idahoans said they were most concerned about water quality of all of the environmental issues facing them.
They shared that concern with residents polled in Oregon and Washington by DHM Research is an independent and non-partisan public opinion research and consultation firm based in Portland, Ore. But they weren’t as concerned as folks downstream.
And Idahoans were less willing to drive less and consume less to combat climate change. But more said they should spend less and adjust their lifestyle to address the poor economy.
Here is a link to the poll.
The poll was a part of an environmental journalism collaboration by public radio stations in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and Idaho Public Television. DHM Research polled 1,200 people in the region, with 400 in each state. The online survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
John Horvick, a senior associate with DHM Research, said he was most surprised by the consistency of residents in the three states. But there was a clear difference between Idahoans and their coastal neighbors.
“Idahoans are about eight to 15 percent less concerned about all these various issues,” Horvick said.
Residents of all three states said improving habitat was the most important factor for improving salmon runs. Still only 50 percent of Idahoans responded that way, reflecting that more than 10 million acres of its salmon habitat protected in wilderness or roadless lands. Fifty-nine percent of Oregon and Washington residents said improving habitat was the most important. But Idahoans were slightly more supportive of building new hatcheries, increasing the spilling of water away from power turbines.
Only 17 percent of Idahoans said removing dams was the most important factor. But in another question, 45 percent said we should keep dams to 18 percent who called for removing them. Still, just like recent Boise State University surveys people’s answers were more balanced when the question was asked in a different way.
About a third said keep the four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington and another third said other solutions aren’t working so consider removing them without significant increases in power rate or hurting the economy.
One of the shockers of the poll was that 78 percent of Idahoans said they would support the building a wind farm within sight of their home. The Idaho Legislature nearly passed a moratorium on wind generation because a group of eastern Idaho residents raised concerns about the aesthetics and impacts of the huge towers and blades.