Pennsylvania Statewide Public Opinion Survey Finds Support High for Conservation

July 13, 2015

The Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg recently completed a statewide telephone survey of 601 adult Pennsylvanians to assess public support for state funding to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms. The survey results found strong majority support throughout all regions of the state and across all demographic groups for increasing state funding for land and water conservation, even if it would cost the average household $10-20 more annually.1

The survey questions were commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land.

Overall, 90.7% of Pennsylvanians surveyed indicated that they would support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms. When asked if they would support increasing state funds at an average cost of $10-$20 more annually per household, 80.6% were in support.

90.7% indicated support when asked, “Would you support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms?”

80.6% indicated support when asked, “Would you support increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms, even if it would cost the average household $10-$20 more annually?”, including:

  • 75.3% of Republicans, 82.4% of Democrats, and 86.7% of Independents,
  • 75.3% of males and 85.6% of females,
  • 81.1% of whites, 63.5% of African Americans, and 91.1% of Hispanics,
  • A solid majority of voters in every region ranging from a low of 69.6% in the Northwest to a high of 90% in the North Central region.

The results are consistent with previous surveys in 2012 and 2014. In the spring 2014 survey, 82.6% of respondents supported increasing state funds to conserve and protect open space, clean water, natural areas, wildlife habitats, parks, historic sites, forests, and farms, even if it would cost the average household $10 more annually. The 2012 survey found 77.7% support when the same question was polled.

Overall, the results of the survey show that Pennsylvania residents clearly value the state’s natural resources.

Results showed continued overwhelming public support for increasing state funding for land and water conservation, and a willingness to pay $10-20 more annually per household for these purposes.

1 METHODOLOGY: A total of 601 telephone interviews with adult Pennsylvanians were conducted between March 4 and April 15, 2015. The Penn State Poll used a dual frame design consisting of a representative landline sample with a cell phone sample supplement. Project activity was directed by Stephanie L. Wehnau, Director of the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.