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Survey of Humane Voters

By Gary Bogue
Monday, March 12th, 2007 at 9:08 am in Humane voter survey.

Did you know nine in 10 humane voters will be likely to cross party lines to vote for an animal-friendly candidate?

I just received the press release below from the Humane Society of the United States. I think you’ll find it to be VERY interesting.

I’ve always wondered if humane, animal-friendly people could become (or already are) a political force in elections and other situations.

Finally … somebody … in this case, the Humane Society of the United States … has decided to take a look at this very thing.

The next big question — how do all these nice people get organized?

Survey of Humane Voters Reveals Bipartisan Support for Animal-Friendly Candidates
WASHINGTON (March 12, 2007) — While the 2008 election is still 20 months away and presidential hopefuls are starting to hit the early primary states, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) today announced the results of a national survey of humane voters showing broad-based interest and concern for animal protection issues from Americans of all major political affiliations.

Among the survey’s highlights, nine in ten humane voters across all party affiliations said they would be likely to cross party lines to vote for an animal-friendly candidate. A majority of these voters also said that animal protection was a more important priority to them when selecting candidates than any other top issue of the day, including the environment, health care, education, jobs, the economy, and immigration.

“This survey confirms what we have long known: that people who care about the humane treatment of animals are becoming a powerful political force, and are so passionate about the issue that they will cross party lines to select a candidate who is better on animal welfare issues,” said Michael Markarian, president of HSLF. “Lawmakers should realize that support for animals is not just good public policy, but also good politics.”

Drawn from a large sample of animal welfare donors and advocates, nearly 2,300 respondents answered questions related to their party affiliation, their political activities, and their knowledge and relative importance of animal protection issues when selecting a candidate. The survey was conducted by the Seattle-based Humane Research Council.

Results from the national survey include:
** Humane voters “get out the vote” and make their voices heard. Nearly every one of the respondents has voted in national or local elections (94 percent), and 86 percent have contacted an elected official.

** Animal protection is an important electoral issue. Overall 82 percent of respondents rated animal protection as a 5, 6, or 7 on a scale from 1-7 where 7 means “very important”; when voting. Of these, half rated animal protection issues a 7 when voting (41 percent of the total sample).

** Animal protection issues resonate with voters across all party affiliations. Nearly half of respondents reported themselves as Democrats (46 percent), a fourth (24 percent) as Independents, 17 percent as Republicans, and 13 percent answered “none of the above.”

** Humane voters will cross party lines to support a candidate strong on animal protection. A strong majority (60 percent) of respondents report they would be “very likely” to vote against their usual party affiliation for an animal issue, with another 29 percent reporting they would be “somewhat likely,” yielding an overall proportion of nearly nine in ten (89 percent) who are likely to vote against their usual party affiliation for animals. More than half of Democrats (55 percent) and Republicans (58 percent) and seven in ten Independents (71 percent) reported being “very likely” to cross party lines over animal issues.

** Among humane voters, animal protection issues rate above other top-tier policy and political issues in terms of both knowledge and relative importance. On a scale of 1-7, with 7 being “very knowledgeable,” two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) rated their knowledge of animal protection issues as a 5, 6, or 7. By comparison, 64 percent rated their knowledge of environmental protection similarly, 58 percent for health care, 54 percent for education, 52 percent for jobs and the economy and 45 percent for immigration. With respect to relative importance, more than half of respondents (57 percent) ranked animal protection as the first or second priority. Nearly the same number (51 percent) rated environmental issues among the top two concerns. All other issues ranked significantly lower — with 39 percent ranking health care, 26 percent ranking public education and 20 percent ranking jobs and the economy — among the top two priorities.

** Among animal protection issues, problems plaguing pets continue to be of paramount concern to humane voters, followed by animal fighting, factory farming, and other issues. Nearly three-fourths of respondents (72 percent) rank pet overpopulation as one of the top two issues facing animals. By comparison, 46 percent ranked animal fighting among the top two concerns and 40 percent said the welfare of farm animals is a priority. An even number of respondents ranked hunting, trapping, and fur issues (21 percent) and urban wildlife conflicts (21 percent) among the top two animal issues facing policymakers.

** Humane voters are willing to increase their level of political activity on behalf of animal protection issues. Compared with political activities they have taken in the past, humane voters are likely to increase their engagement. Approximately half (53 percent) have contributed money to political candidates or campaigns in the past, compared with 85 percent who report they are likely to do so in support of animal protection issues. While about a third of respondents have volunteered their time to a political campaign (36 percent), posted a political campaign sign in their yard (33 percent), or put a political campaign bumper sticker on their car (30 percent), twice as many are willing to do so to advance animal protection issues (73 percent, 65 percent and 61 percent, respectively).

More about the Humane Society Legislative Fund at www.hslf.org

More about the Humane Society of the United States at www.hsus.org

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