Poll: Half Of Sportsmen Rank Conservation With Gun Rights

DENVER -- Crypter Glenn Thrush reported earlier this month that a poll showed hunters and fishermen supported Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but not by the gaping margins that they had back President Bush over John Kerry. Bush had a 27-point edge over the Massachusetts senator in 2004 and a 50 point margin over Al Gore in 2000. McCain, meanwhile McCain only leads by only 14. Sportsfolks in the Thrush piece speculated that McCain needed to show himself as an outdoorsman and highlight Obama’s advocacy of gun control. The bloc could include as many as 50 million people.

But a new poll of a thousand self-identified hunters and fisherman, run by American Viewpoint and commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation, suggests that something else might be driving hunters and anglers: the desire to conserve places to hunt and fish. Forty-seven percent of fisherman, 40 percent of hunters and 47 percent of those who do both told pollsters that “Gun rights are important, but conservation is just as important. Thirty-six percent said that gun rights were the most important issue. A quarter of the sportsmen polled were undecided as to who to vote for, and of those, 52 percent put conservation on par with gun rights. (The nonprofit group didn't ask who they'd vote for for legal reasons.)

“One of the most cherished things in life is to pass on a love of the outdoors from father to son,” said Davey Crockett, a sportsman descended six generations from the ‘coonskin cap hero, at an NWF event Wednesday.

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), on hand for the reception, said that he wasn’t sure how many sportsmen were in his district. “We have great ponds in Central Park and they’re stocked,” he said. “But there’s no fishing allowed.”