Most Idahoans support a federal judge’s ruling earlier this year that a state law banning secret filming of commercial agriculture operations is unconstitutional, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds.
In August Federal Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled the law violates 1st Amendment free speech protections.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds that 53 percent of Idahoans support the judge’s ruling, 32 percent oppose it, and 16 percent don’t know.
Jones polled 508 adults from Aug. 20-31; the survey having a margin of error of plus or minus 4.35 percent.
The Idaho law and similar legislation in other Western states has been controversial, as animal rights advocates and others protest how some commercial agriculture production operations treat their animals.
Some of the more radical groups regularly get members hired into such operations, and then the protesters film operations with the intent of harming the owners and forcing changes to how the animals are treated.
In the new survey, Jones finds that Republicans, Democrats and political independents all support the judge’s ruling, but to different degrees:
-- Republicans agree with the striking down of the law, 47-35 percent with 17 percent “don’t know.”
-- Democrats support the judge’s ruling, 64-30 percent with 6 percent don’t know.
-- Political independents support the decision, 62-35 percent with 14 percent don’t know.
The more rural the area, the more those residents disagree with the judge – although all geographic areas Jones breaks out still support the striking down of the law:
-- Eastern Idaho residents – which has some farm/ranching operations – support the judge, 48-38 percent.
-- Western Idaho (including Boise), supports the judge, 64-30 percent.
-- Northern Idaho supports the ruling, 51-33 percent.
The judge’s ruling was relatively broad in its language, and it is unclear if lawmakers will attempt to modify the law to accommodate his free speech concerns.