Poll: Nevadans love their public lands, think renewables should be developed

The gaming industry and solar companies are popular in Nevada. The Public Utilities Commission and Cliven Bundy? Not so much.

Those are among the findings of a comprehensive poll of Nevada voters taken this month and expected to be released Wednesday (I obtained an early copy) that also found Nevadans wouldn't mind taxing mining companies (what else is new?) and still don't like Yucca Mountain (despite what Ted Cruz tried to tell me a few months ago). The survey also indicated Nevadans love their public lands, don't think there are too many acres, show significant support for designating Gold Butte as a national monument and found traditional Democratic positions hold more sway than GOP ones on public lands issues.

The poll also found that a third of Nevada voters agree with Cliven Bundy in his dispute with the feds but that almost half do not. If a candidate supports Bundy, 35 percent of voters would be less likley to vote for him or her. The poll showed middling backing for the BLM (43 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable), so this was not a good survey for Michele Fiore, as most are not.

The survey was conducted by Purple Strategies for the Center for Western Priorities, a nonprofit dedicated to what it calls responsible lands policies. The sample is slightly skewed Democratic, but generally comports with the Nevada electorate's demographics -- 700 voters surveyed, 3.7 percent margin of error.

Support for solar and other renewables was strong throughout the survey. The poll also showed big numbers for diversifying the economy beyond tourism and for protecting public lands from more development. Sorry, rurals.

Lots of interesting stuff here. The results are distilled in a PowerPoint I have obtained, and the full survey is posted below:

§Nevada voters believe public lands are important to Nevada’s economy and are an important part of what makes Nevada a good place to live.


§Many Nevadans are frequent visitors to the state’s open spaces, with nearly 9 in 10 stating they had visited public lands in Nevada at least once in the past year.
§There is broad bi-partisan support to designating the Gold Butte area as a National Monument.
§While many voters are aware of the Bundy dispute, nearly half of voters disagree with his approach with only a third agreeing with him.
§Nevadans value collaboration over confrontation and shy away from candidates supportive of Bundy.

§Candidates working to “win the west” in Nevada should focus on the importance of protecting public land and improving access while stressing public land’s direct link to Nevada’s economy.

§Proposals to expand motor vehicle use, or to sell lands to reduce the deficit, turn off many Nevada voters.
§Support for renewable energy development is strong, particularly expanding solar development.
§Ticket splitters gravitate toward a balanced approach from a candidate over party affiliation. 

Purple-NV Public Lands Survey Topline - May 6 2016 (1) by Jon Ralston

Winning the West Nevada by Jon Ralston