Colorado Eastern Plains

Agriculture remains king of the economy in Eastern Colorado.

The Western Way, an organization of conservation-minded conservatives, asked other Western conservatives what they think about energy, public lands and COVID-19 economic recovery in a new survey.

Colorado Politics got the first look at the results, which indicate conservatives have their eye on those issues just as much as left-leaning voters are presumed politically to look for solutions in another direction.

The organization heard from conservatives in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming between Aug. 7 and Aug. 14.

Eighty percent of respondents to the online survey said energy issues — including domestic production, energy independence and cleaner sources of production — would help determine how they vote on a candidate.

Seventy percent rated public lands, waters and wildlife as deciding factors as well.

“It’s no surprise that Western conservative voters favor pragmatic solutions to energy and public lands issues, and they take notice when elected officials work to offer these types of solutions,” Greg Brophy, The Western Way's Colorado state director and a former state senator from the Eastern Plains, said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“These survey results make clear that voters do not see a strong economy and a healthy environment as a binary choice, conservatives want both and expect their elected leaders to deliver.”

The survey asked those who identified as conservative what they they would tell a candidate:

• 87% want policies that encourage energy efficiency.

• 79% want policies that prioritize lowest cost new resources of energy generation.

• 72% want policies that encourage greater use of renewable energy, including long-term goals.

• 68% support research and development for innovations in energy production, such as nuclear, renewable, carbon capture and battery storage.

As far as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown, respondents weighed in on investments in infrastructure and rural economies through energy projects, as well as expanding local advanced manufacturing jobs.

The survey indicated:

• 86% said investments to upgrade and expand the country’s aging electrical infrastructure system to increase resiliency and reliability were important to the recovery.

• 85% said investments in public lands infrastructure, and the outdoor recreation economy were important.

• 77% said it was important to support and grow their state’s advanced manufacturing industry by offering loans, credits, and other incentives to companies who create local manufacturing jobs.

The full survey results are available by clicking here.

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