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Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a two-fold problem.

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Poll: 80 Percent of Wyomingites See Public Lands as Economic Key

January 31, 2012

CASPER, Wyo. - Most Wyoming voters think you can protect land and water and have a strong economy at the same time, according to a new poll of attitudes throughout the Rockies. Lori Weigel with the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies also found near-unanimous support among Wyoming voters from both parties that National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and wildlife areas are "essential."

"Now, part of this may be due to this overwhelming sense that public lands are an essential part of their state's economy."

The report notes that Wyoming is home to three of the top 10 U.S. destinations for snowmobiling, with skiing, camping and hunting also big for the state.

Two more points from the survey: Voters support energy development on public lands, and also support industry regulations to protect land, water, wildlife and quality of life.

Another survey topic showed that voters approve of the Legislature's decision to dedicate $200 million to the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust. Trust Executive Director Bob Budd calls that finding "humbling."

"I think it is an affirmation of the sense of Wyoming citizens that they value the environment, they value the outdoors, and the opportunities they provide."

Voter attitudes about elected officials were assessed in the poll, with 77 percent approving of the job Governor Matt Mead is doing. That's the strongest show of support for any public official in the six states polled. At the same time, 62 percent of voters say U.S. Senator John Barrasso deserves re-election.

Results from the 2012 Colorado College State of the Rockies "Conservation in the West" poll are at bit.ly/wLXh07.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY