Coloradans Unified on Climate and Water Change, See Urgent Connections to Economy, Agriculture and Health
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2022 — The Walton Family Foundation, in collaboration with Morning Consult, released a poll today revealing that 74% of Coloradans are worried about climate change and water scarcity, with at least 3 in 5 voters saying that drought, increased temperatures, wildfires, extreme weather and flooding are a product of climate change’s effect on water resources. Some 64% of Colorado voters say it is very important for the state government to invest in water conservation efforts, and 48% say that Governor Jared Polis should be doing more to address water-related environmental challenges.
One-quarter of American voters believe their state will not have enough water during their grandchildren’s lifetimes (the next 100 years). The numbers are substantially higher in Colorado, with 55% of Coloradans saying they believe the state would not have enough water in the next 100 years, and 79% believe climate change will impact generations to come.
“It’s shocking that more than half of the residents in Colorado don’t think there will be enough water in their home state for their grandchildren to live out their lives,” said Moira Mcdonald, Environment Program Director of the Walton Family Foundation. “The Colorado River Basin is living through a historic drought fueled by climate change, and this poll shows there is urgency and unity among all voters to meet these challenges head-on. This is a time for bold leadership.”
Concerns around water access also have an outsize impact on Native American communities – many of whom live in the broader Colorado River Basin. A staggering 48% - over half a million people - of tribal homes across the United States do not have access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, or basic sanitation.
The poll also showed a majority of Coloradans agree climate change will alter important aspects of life in the U.S. like agriculture (77%), water resources (76%) and the economy (73%).
“What we see here is that Coloradans understand climate change is water change. Droughts, floods, wildfires and big storms all make climate change very real for people, and voters are united in their call for solutions,” said Mcdonald. “We should be hopeful that, despite divisions in our country, Coloradans want to come together to protect water, communities and nature.”
A full 88% of Coloradans also agree it is urgent that we protect lakes, rivers and streams, and 86% agree that we need to ensure sustainable uses of water. Some 85% of Colorado voters support the use of natural infrastructure like protecting groundwater supplies, maintaining healthy rivers and streams, and restoring floodplains to address climate change.
Other key findings from the poll include:
- 61% of Coloradans are more likely to vote for state and federal candidates who make addressing climate change and water-related environmental issues a key part of their platform.
- 77% of Colorado voters agree that political parties should find more common ground on addressing climate change (85% of Democrats, 83% of independents and 58% of Republicans).
- 78% of Colorado voters agree that there is still time to address climate change (79% of Democrats, 79% of independents and 76% of Republicans). However, 76% of Colorado voters believe that if climate change is not addressed in 10 years, the impact on water resources will be moderate to severe.
- 75% of Colorado voters believe drought is a product of climate change.
To read the full poll results, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org/worldwaterday.
This poll was conducted March 4-8, 2022, among a sample of 300 registered voters in Colorado. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of Registered Voters based on gender, age, education, race, ethnicity, marital status, homeownership and 2020 vote choice. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.
The national poll was conducted March 4-6, 2022, among a sample of 2,005 registered voters across the United States. The interviews were conducted online, and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on gender, age, educational attainment, race, marital status, homeownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.