LOS ANGELES - A new poll of Los Angeles County voters, released today by San Gabriel Mountains Forever on a press conference call with Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), demonstrates strong support across the political and demographic spectrum for permanent protection of the San Gabriel Mountains. In fact, a majority say they would tell President Barack Obama to take action on this proposal now.
"For more than a decade, our communities have been asking elected officials to help protect and enhance our San Gabriel Mountains. Congresswoman Chu's bill would do that," said Daniel Rossman, chair of San Gabriel Mountains Forever. "But while Congress deliberates, President Obama can act decisively to conserve our heritage by taking the first step -- designating a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. This poll reveals the community wants to see him do it."
The survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, the largest Republican polling firm in the country, found that four-in-five Los Angeles County voters (80 percent) express support protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers -- with almost universal support (88 percent) among Latino voters in the County.
Specifically, voters support permanent protection for the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers because they see this as providing tangible benefits to the community, with particular importance on clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, and ensuring there are accessible public lands protected from development for children to play and experience nature.
Download an mp3 of the teleconference here.
The strong survey results come on the heels of legislation introduced by Rep. Chu to protect the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers. A diverse coalition of community members has worked for more than a decade to permanently protect the San Gabriel Mountains, bringing together mayors and elected officials, business owners, representatives of local water districts, faith and community leaders, residents and more.
"Public opinion has shown for over a decade that the people of the San Gabriel Valley want permanent protections for the San Gabriel Mountains," said Rep. Chu. "Since Hilda Solis first carried legislation that commissioned the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study, through the long study process, and through the drafting of my San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act, the people have voiced their support. This newly released public opinion poll further confirms that we need to protect these mountains now. I am calling on the Administration to help. We need a San Gabriel National Monument."
The San Gabriel Mountains provide Los Angeles County residents with clean air, 70 percent of their open space, and one-third of the county's drinking water supplies. The poll showed that support for protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers is widespread and crosses political and racial lines and includes:
88 percent support from Latinos, 82 percent support from Asian Americans, 76 percent support from African Americans, and 76 percent support from Whites;
87 percent support from self-described liberal voters, 81 percent of moderates and 74 percent of conservatives;
84 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Independents/Decline to State voters, and 68 percent of GOP voters; and
73 percent of those who hunt or fish.
"This is an extraordinary demonstration of public support for public lands," said Lori Weigel, Partner with Public Opinion Strategies. "The voters clearly see value in conserving the San Gabriel Mountains - and expect their elected officials to do something about it."
More than two-thirds of Los Angeles County voters (including 81 percent of Latinos) say they would have a more favorable impression of a "candidate for public office if he or she supported this proposal regarding providing greater protection and attention to the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers." Fifty-five percent of all county voters, including 70 percent of Latino voters, say they would tell President Obama to take action on this proposal now.
The voters are not alone in their sentiment. On August 5, 2014, celebrated civil rights activist Dolores Huerta published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Daily News and San Gabriel Valley Tribune that highlighted the San Gabriel Mountains, writing, "These communities and more around the country want the rich diversity of our country's heritage honored. They want places for their kids to play in the great outdoors, breathing in fresh air. They want our president to build a legacy around our country's public lands."
Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 400 registered voters throughout Los Angeles County, California, with an oversample of Latino voters, May 27-31, 2014. The poll, which has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.38 percent, is available on the San Gabriel Mountains Forever website.
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About San Gabriel Mountains Forever
San Gabriel Mountains Forever (SGMF) is a diverse partnership of residents, cities, local businesses, health and environmental justice organizations, faith and community leaders, and recreation and conservation groups. The vision of San Gabriel Mountains Forever is: Protection and enhancement of our mountains, rivers and parks with access for all. Online at www.sangabrielmountains.org and www.facebook.com/sangabrielmountains
About Public Opinion Strategies
Public Opinion Strategies is the largest Republican polling firm in the country. Since the firm's founding in 1991, they have completed more than 10,000 research projects, interviewing more than five 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, CNBC, and National Public Radio rely on Public Opinion Strategies to conduct their polling. The firm conducts polling on behalf of hundreds of political campaign , as well as trade associations, not-for-profit organizations, government entities and industry coalitions throughout the nation.