In six out of eight Western states, voters would reject outright a proposal to have their local government take over federal land.
Only in Utah, did a majority of voters support a state takeover of federal land, while more voters in Wyoming support taking back the land, but not enough to garner a majority, according to a new poll conducted for the Center for American Progress. The poll asked a number of questions on attitudes toward the federal government and use and maintenance of the land it owns and found that voters had strongly positive attitudes toward a handful of federal agencies, though their overall attitudes about the federal government were strongly negative.
When combined, 52 percent of the voters polled opposed the idea of their state taking back the land. Democrats, independents and even moderate or liberal Republicans were opposed to the idea, with the only ideological group with majority support for a state takeover of federal land being conservative Republicans. Two hundred voters in each state were asked a series of questions by phone about public lands, Sept. 10-14.
Federal ownership of land within Western state borders has been an issue of contention for some time, heating up in recent months and years in Utah in particular. The state has passed laws and written letters demanding it be allowed to take back the land within its border, roughly 66.5 percent of which belongs to the federal government, according to data compiled in 2010 by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Proponents of a transfer say they’re sick of the federal government dictating how and when the land is used, while opponents say state takeovers are just a stepping stone to developing the land.
Here’s a look at some of the survey’s findings: