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New Poll Shows Strong Support for the Endangered Species Act in Montana


September 29, 2015

Defenders of Wildlife: Melanie Gade – (202) 772-0288; mgade@defenders.org

Earthjustice: Maggie Caldwell – (415) 217-2084; mcaldwell@earthjustice.org

New Poll Shows Strong Support for the Endangered Species Act in Montana

HELENA, Mont. – Three-quarters of Montana residents support the Endangered Species Act and a strong majority also believes that that decisions about which imperiled species should or should not be protected under the law should be made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, not by members of Congress, according to a new poll conducted by Tulchin Research. These poll results arrive even as this Congress has been flooded with more than 80 bills, amendments, and riders, including numerous provisions in the funding bills for the Department of the Interior and other agencies, designed to weaken the act or remove protections for specific species.

The poll, conducted in September for Defenders of Wildlife and Earthjustice, shows that:

  • Three-fourths (75%) of registered voters in Montana support upholding the Endangered Species Act.
  • Eighty-two percent (82%) of registered voters in Montana believe that decisions about which species should or should not be protected under the Endangered Species Act should be made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, not by members of Congress.
  • Sixty-three percent (63%) of registered voters in Montana are more likely to vote for a member of Congress who supports environmental safeguards like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
  • Sixty-seven percent (67%) of registered voters in Montana reject the notion that the Endangered Species Act “hurts the economy and destroys jobs”, believing instead that “the law is necessary” and that “we can protect our natural heritage for future generations while growing our economy and creating jobs.”

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“This poll shows a majority of Montanans clearly support the Endangered Species Act which is in keeping with the state’s long history of conserving wildlife, even when the challenges are great. But today that history is jeopardized by a Congress seemingly bent on weakening the act, further jeopardizing imperiled species in Montana. I’m hopeful these poll results demonstrate to Montana’s elected officials where their constituents stand on this issue and that they respect that position and reject any appropriations bill or other must pass legislation that includes riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act and further jeopardize imperiled wildlife.”

Drew Caputo, Earthjustice VP of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife and Oceans, issued the following statement:

“We commissioned the poll in light of the current wave of congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act, including efforts by some in Congress to make decisions about specific imperiled species based on politics rather than science. We wanted to gauge Americans’ resolve to protect our nation’s wildlife. What we found is that across gender, age, ethnic, geographic and political lines, American voters whole-heartedly support the Endangered Species Act and don’t believe politicians should meddle with a law that has proven 99% successful in bringing species back from the brink of extinction.”


Form Sept. 8- 13, 2015, Tulchin Research conducted a telephone survey of 200 likely November 2016 voters in Montana, using live professional callers and dialing both landlines and cell phones. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 6.9 percentage points.

This Congress has already established itself as one of the most environmentally hostile congresses in history. Since January, Members of Congress have introduced over 80 proposals that would cripple endangered species conservation. Some legislative proposals put specific imperiled wildlife species on the chopping block, while others attack core provisions of the Endangered Species Act itself.  

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.

Earthjustice uses the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change.  For more information, visit www.earthjustice.org and follow us on Twitter @Earthjustice.