New Poll: Ohioans Back Stronger Rules to Stop Farm Runoff, Federal Support for Clean Water Act

6/30/2014, 9:57 p.m.

Columbus, Ohio (June 26, 2014) – Solid majorities of Ohio voters from across political lines want stronger rules to curb farm runoff, support federal investments to restore the Great Lakes, and agree that the Clean Water Act should cover wetlands and small streams, according to a new poll released today by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and Ohio Environmental Council.

Read the poll and results at www.healthylakes.org

“Ohio voters care about clean water and the Great Lakes,” said Paul Fallon, president of the Columbus-based Fallon Research & Communications, Inc., which conducted the survey. “Our polling indicates that protecting Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes unites Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Ohioans across the political spectrum support state and federal policies that keep waterways clean.”

“In a time of intense partisanship at both the state and national levels, such consistent support across party lines for the Clean Water Act and Great Lakes restoration funding is noteworthy,” said John Russonello, partner at Belden Russonello Strategists, LLC. “Clean water unites people. Ohioans care about the Great Lakes. They support the Clean Water Act. And they are even willing to back stronger regulation to protect the lakes from pollution and farm run-off.”

The survey of 805 general election voters was conducted by Fallon Research & Communications, Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, between June 10 and June 13. Questions were written by Belden Russonello Strategists LLC in Washington, D.C. Highlights of the poll include:

  1. Over six in ten (62%) voters across Ohio believe the federal Clean Water Act should cover wetlands and small streams in order “to protect our health and important habitats from dangerous pollution,” while fewer than three in ten (29%) take the position that the Clean Water Act should not cover wetlands and small streams because “it will hurt farmers and businesses who will be forced to comply with unnecessary regulations.” There is broad bipartisan support for the Clean Water Act. When presented with arguments on both sides, those who say that the Clean Water Act should cover wetlands and small streams, include majorities of Democrats (77%) and Independents (62%) and a plurality of Republicans (45%).

  2. Two thirds (66%) of Ohio voters support the state enacting “stronger regulations to prevent run-off pollution from farms that ends up in the state’s rivers and streams.” Only one-quarter (25%) oppose the state enacting new regulations on farm run-off. The proportion of voters who strongly support this policy (43%) is nearly three times of those who strongly oppose (15%). Majorities of Republicans (51%), Democrats (75%) and Independents (72%) in support of stronger state regulations for clean water.

  3. Looking at regional water issues, a large majority of Ohio voters (76%) supports the federal government spending $300 million a year to restore the health of the Great Lakes. Fewer than one in five (18%) want to reduce the amount the federal government spends on the program that funds cleaning up toxic waste and bacteria, reducing run-off pollution from cities and farms, and protecting an rebuilding wetlands. Support is high among all political groups: 69% of Republicans, 77% of Independents, and 82% of Democrats.

  4. Nearly half (46%) of all Ohio voters have heard something about the invasive fish called Asian Carp. After a brief description of the problem of the fish entering the Great Lakes, over nine in 10 voters express concern, with 57% who say they are “very concerned” if the fish got into Lake Erie. Political party once again makes little difference in concern, with 55% of Republicans 64% of Democrats and 50% of Independents saying they would be very concerned if Asian Carp got into Lake Erie.