PNS Daily Newscast UPDATE - October 17, 2019 

Congressman Elijah Cummings has died. Also on the rundown: President Trump puts some distance between himself and policy on Syria. South Dakota awaits a SCOTUS ruling on the insanity defense, plus the focus remains on election security for 2020.

2020Talks - October 17, 2019 

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two members of the Squad, endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders. Plus, some candidates are spending more than they're raising.

Daily Newscasts

Poll: Western Voters Prioritize Public Lands

A new poll by the Center for Western Priorities shows only 18 percent of New Mexico voters are in favor of shrinking national monuments. (
A new poll by the Center for Western Priorities shows only 18 percent of New Mexico voters are in favor of shrinking national monuments. (
July 23, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Recent Trump administration actions on public lands could play a deciding role in upcoming elections, especially among independent and swing voters in states such as New Mexico.

A new poll from the Center for Western Priorities says voters in five Western states take a dim view of the federal government rolling back environmental regulations and opening up more public lands to mining and energy development.

Aaron Weiss, the Center’s media director, says the group's research confirms the strength of what some call the Outdoor Voting Bloc.

"The takeaway that we saw here among New Mexico voters is that public lands can be a deciding issue and a differentiating issue for candidates from both parties," Weiss states.

Other states in the poll are Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Nevada.

In the five states combined, the poll showed that voters give the Trump administration only a 27 percent approval rating for its handling of public lands issues.

Weiss says a candidate's views on protecting public lands could be a bigger factor for independent and swing voters than their party affiliation.

He notes the research shows strong support for increasing conservation measures and balanced energy development, especially renewable energy.

But he adds that voters don't want any of that to come at the expense of wildlife.

"Only 25 percent in New Mexico support opening up public lands near monuments and parks for oil and gas drilling, and opposition, up toward 70 percent," he points out.

Only 18 percent of New Mexicans polled said they're in favor of shrinking national monuments. New Mexico's monuments have so far escaped being reduced in size or eliminated.

Lawsuits are still pending over President Donald Trump's decision last December to shrink the size of two national monuments in Utah – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM