FORT COLLINS, Colo.— A peer-reviewed study authored by 11 researchers in public opinion, biology and economics at Colorado State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows 84% support among Colorado’s public for Proposition 107 to reintroduce gray wolves. The proposition will appear on November’s ballot.
The study also found that Colorado’s 10 largest-circulation daily newspapers focused more on themes related to the overblown negative impacts of wolves than on the public’s broad support for reintroduction.
“Almost everyone in Colorado appreciates the ecological benefits of restoring the balance through wolf reintroduction,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity. “But journalists who faithfully seek to report both sides of the story sometimes make the continental divide appear to be a political divide, when in fact city dwellers and rural folks want wolves almost equally.”
The study published last week, “Public Perspectives and Media Reporting of Wolf Reintroduction in Colorado,” found that while voters were signing petitions to place Proposition 107 on the November 2020 ballot last summer, almost 80% of Western Slope and Eastern Plains residents and almost 85% of Front Range residents would vote “yes.”
The survey found similarly strong support for the wolf reintroduction initiative among self-identified hunters, ranchers, gun rights advocates and property rights advocates.
“We understand that in the news business controversy attracts readers,” said Rob Edward of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund. “But the hidden story that reporters are missing is the ‘kumbaya’ aspect of wolf reintroduction, the fact that reintroducing wolves to restore natural balance unifies Coloradans.”
“Anti-wolf interest groups are working hard to use the press to scare Coloradans away from voting to restore gray wolves to our state,” said Jonathan Proctor, Rockies and Plains director at Defenders of Wildlife. “Despite these efforts to undermine, Coloradans remain firmly in support of restoring wolves and the natural balance to our state.”
The 734 respondents for the survey were recruited online at random and agreed to participate without knowing the survey’s subject matter. The survey included all Coloradans and not just registered voters. Results were weighted demographically by age, gender and region.
The survey found support for wolves at 84.9% among Front Range residents, 79.8% among Western Slope residents, and 79.3% among Eastern Plains residents, along with 83.3% among ranchers statewide.