Poll: Westerners least happy with government | VailDaily.com

Poll: Westerners least happy with government

Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post
President Barack Obama waves as he walks to Air Force One with Col. Steve Harrison as he arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Monday, June 15, 2009, prior to departing on a day trip to Chicago to speak to the American Medical Association. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Poll: Westerners unhappy with government

Nationwide, Westerners are unhappiest about the federal government, even though 60% approve of Obama.

By Mark Jaffe

The Denver Post

POSTED: 06/15/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT

PARK CITY, Utah – Westerners are more dissatisfied with the federal government than folks in other regions – but they still give President Barack Obama high marks.

One in four fear they may lose their jobs, yet calls for more oil and gas drilling are less popular in the West than in any other region.

Those findings by pollster Frank Luntz were presented Sunday at the Western Governors’ Association conference.

Westerners also are looking for solutions and accountability.

“The message is, enough is enough, solve it already,” Luntz told the group, which included Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

The polling done in the past few months found 44 percent of Westerners unhappy with the federal government, followed by the South with 37 percent, the Midwest at 34 percent and the Northeast at 32 percent.

Still, more than 60 percent of those polled approved of the job Barack Obama has done.

“People are not partisan,” Luntz said.

The economy was identified as the No. 1 problem by 55 percent and immigration by 8 percent. In no other region did immigration show up even that high, Luntz said.

It was, however, in energy that the West displayed its singular profile.

While a large proportion of people in other regions – 67 percent in the Northeast and 73 percent in the South – called for more domestic oil and gas drilling, only 55 percent of Westerners supported it.

More people in the West – 88 percent – were concerned about climate change. Only the Northeast, with 86 percent concerned, was close.

“While we are all concerned about an issue like health care, energy and climate are really emerging as Western issues,” Ritter said in an interview before the session.

Luntz also warned the governors to be careful about the language they use, saying that instead of talking about “infrastructure,” which people equate with bureaucracy, they should talk about safer roads.

Touchstone words should be “safe,” “clean” and “healthy,” Luntz said.

“Well, the Western Governors’ Association is going to be safer, cleaner and healthier this year,” said Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the association’s new chairman.

Luntz, a Republican pollster and strategist, is with Lantz, Maslansky Strategic Research.

Mark Jaffe: 303-954-1912 or MJaffe@denverpost.com

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