Alexandria, VA- Prominent conservative polling firm Baselice & Associates, Inc., which has previously polled for the Trump/Pence campaign, conducted a recent survey of voters in the state of Alaska, regarding the proposed lifting of the Roadless Rule throughout the currently protected Tongass National Forest.
The poll was commissioned by Citizens for the Republic, the organization founded by Ronald Reagan, which promotes the principles of limited government, maximum freedom, personal responsibility, peace through strength, and defense of the dignity of every individual.
The poll comes in response to a proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to fully exempt the Tongass National Forest from the protections of the roadless rule. The public comment period on this proposal ended in mid-December.
A plurality (49%) of Alaskans oppose exempting the entire Tongass National Forest in Alaska from the protections of the Roadless Rule, which would allow more commercial logging and construction of new logging roads in these Roadless areas. Only 43% are in favor of the proposal by the U.S. Forest Service to fully eliminate these protections on the forest.
Of those polled, 31% were registered as Republican, 15% registered as Democrat, 23% as Undeclared, and 16% as Independent. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of those surveyed were Anglo/White, 13% were Alaskan/Native American, 2% Asian, 2% African American, and 9% identified as Other.
61% of those polled identified as frequent hunters and/or fishers, with 15% asserting that they hunt/fish several times a month/on a monthly basis. Of those who hunt/fish monthly or more, a majority, (48%), voiced opposition to exempting the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule, with only 32% approval. The exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Rule would significantly impact and restrict the hunting/fishing community of Alaska and disrupt the state’s recreational economy.
The poll found that an overwhelming 70% of participants agreed with the following statement:
“Hunters and fishers want to keep the current policy in place because it protects hunting and fishing opportunities on the Tongass.”
An issue that has previously divided the GOP, the poll emphasizes the support from self-identified Republican hunters and fishers to maintain the Roadless Rule.
According to a new USDA Forest Service study published last week, Alaska’s Tongass and Chugach National Forests contribute an average of 48 million salmon a year to the state’s commercial fishing industry, with the average value of these “forest fish” that are brought back to the dock estimated at $88 million per year, a quarter of the yearly catch to the entire state’s fishing industry.
The survey was conducted among of N = 300 registered voters Alaska on January 28-29, 2020. The margin of error to the results of this survey is +/- 5.7% at the .95 confidence level. Sixty-two percent of respondents were interviewed on their cell phones and 38% were interviewed on their landline phones. 38% of survey respondents live in the northern region of Alaska, 40% in Anchorage, and 22% in the southern region of Alaska.
Mike Baselice, founder of Baselice & Associates, Inc., and respected conservative pollster, had the following comments on the results of the poll, “Three out of four Alaska voters are clear in their desire to protect the Tongass National Forest. This starts with voters’ opposition to exempting the Tongass National Forest from the protections of the Roadless Rule.”
Ron Maxwell, famed director of Gettysburg, Gods and Generals, and Copperhead, and conservationist spokesperson for Citizens for the Republic’s campaign to protect the Tongass, responded to the poll results, “It comes as no surprise that most agree with the necessity to protect our nation’s wildlife and personal freedoms, especially hunters and fishers in the Alaska region. At the founding of our country we existed as hunters and fishers, and we must not enable the destruction of the wild for corporate greed.”
An online petition has been created by Citizens for the Republic to bolster support for the campaign to maintain the Roadless Rule for the Tongass National Forest, with more than 150 signatures.