From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1997:
The strength of the animal protection vote should be clear from the November
1996 referendum victories won against various especially abusive forms of hunting and
trapping in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Washington, and even Alaska.
Similar victories came in 1994, in Arizona, California, and Oregon, which then
passed the legislation that it affirmed last year. Referendum losses have come only in Idaho
and Michigan, two of the states with the highest ratio of hunters per capita.
Independent polls by Gallup, the Associated Press, and others have shown rising
support for animal protection, including endangered species protection, for more than a
decade. In November, this translated at last into political victory––in a manner distinctly
separate from other voting trends. All eight referendum victories came in states which also
elected conservative governors or legislatures, or both, in either 1994 or 1996. The animal
protection vote cut across partisan lines, as demographic studies have projected it should
since at least 1990. People who voted for fiscal conservatism and “family values” often
firmly rebuked traditional hunting-and-trapping-oriented wildlife management.
Animal protection lobbyists should be on a roll. Legislators should be aware that
when they pick up a gun for a photo-op, they lose as many votes as they gain.