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Poll reveals highly favorable sentiments for our country's National Forests and the benefits they provide.

Survey Reveals Americans' Overwhelming Support for Our National Forests

Americans agree funding for forests should not be cut; are willing to support small tax increase

Hiker on overlook.jpg
photo by Photography | Erin Paul Donovan

MISSOULA, Montana – The National Forest Foundation (NFF) announced today results of a new nationwide survey of voters revealing strong personal connections many Americans have with the National Forests and the benefits these lands provide.

These connections are so strong that four in five voters polled said despite federal budget problems, funding to safeguard National Forests should not be cut. Even more impressive, seven in 10 Americans said they would support a small increase in taxes in order to provide additional funding to restore damaged forest land and conserve additional lands.

Key findings from the bipartisan poll, conducted in partnership with research firms Public Opinion Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, are noted below:

- 81 percent of Americans across the political spectrum believe funding of National Forests should not be cut, despite federal budget problems.

  • 74 percent of Republicans surveyed
  • 80 percent of Independents surveyed
  • 89 percent of Democrats surveyed

- 72 percent of voters surveyed would support additional funding to maintain and restore National Forest lands even if it meant a small tax increase.

  • Such supporters include groups that are traditionally more tax sensitive: 63 percent of seniors and 56 percent of conservatives said they would support additional funding even if it meant a small tax increase.

- 83 percent of voters agree that conserving America’s land, air and water is patriotic.

- Seven in 10 American voters from across the political spectrum agreed that one of the things the U.S. government does best is protect and preserve the country’s natural heritage through National Forests.

“The NFF has long recognized Americans’ personal connections to their National Forests through our work bringing people together to restore and enhance these public lands. This survey not only reveals these connections, but also shows there is strong support for funding of National Forest land and water,” said Bill Possiel, President of the National Forest Foundation.

“More than 160 million people visited a National Forest last year, generating $13 billion for the U.S. economy and helping sustain 223,000 jobs in local communities. This survey illustrates that respondents believe our National Forests have an impact on their overall well-being, and they appreciate the environmental benefits these forests provide.”

This expression of voter support for the National Forests comes at a time when funds are being diverted from forest restoration, wildfire prevention and other categories in the U.S. Forest Service budget in order to bridge the gap in funding needed to fight wildfires. In fact, this year the Forest Service has already allocated $1.5 billion to fire-related activities, $600 million more than anticipated.

Click here for more in-depth results on the survey.

Note: The NFF national survey was co-conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D). The poll surveyed 800 registered voters nationally in a statistically valid telephone survey. Respondents were contacted on both landline and cell phones.The survey was conducted from July 20-24, 2013, and yields a margin of error of ±3.46 percent overall.

About Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) – a national Democratic opinion research firm with offices in Oakland, Los Angeles and Madison, Wisconsin – has specialized in public policy oriented opinion research since 1981. The firm has assisted hundreds of political campaigns at every level of the ballot – from President to City Council – with opinion research and strategic guidance. FM3 also provides research and strategic consulting to public agencies, businesses and public interest organizations nationwide.

About Public Opinion Strategies
Public Opinion Strategies is the largest Republican polling firm in the country. Since the firm’s founding in 1991, it has completed more than 10,000 research projects, interviewing more than 5 million Americans across the United States. Public Opinion Strategies’ research is well respected, and prestigious media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, NBC News and CNBC rely on Public Opinion Strategies to conduct their polling. The firm conducts opinion research on behalf of hundreds of political campaigns, as well as trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and industry coalitions throughout the nation.

About the Polling Partnership of FM3 and Public Opinion Strategies
FM3 and Public Opinion Strategies have conducted bipartisan research on a wide range of public policy issues over the last decade, in particular on conservation-related initiatives and policies. Together, the two firms have jointly conducted research on behalf of political campaigns, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and public agencies in 40 states and nationally. In these states, the two firms have conducted 680,000 interviews among voters and consumers.

NFF Specialists

Mary Mitsos

Vice President, Conservation Programs 
NFF conservation programs, community-based conservation

Greg Peters

Director of Communications
NFF conservation programs and events, community-based conservation

Wes Swaffar

Ecosystem Services Program Manager
Tree-planting & Carbon Capital Fund programs 

Vance Russell

Director, California Program 
NFF programs in CA 

Adam Liljeblad

Director of Conservation Awards
Grants and grant programs