Several interesting questions this week in the Idaho Politics Weekly poll, the most telling being the partisan variations among Idahoans when asked if the State of Idaho should take over ownership of federal lands in the state.

Among all residents, found pollster Dan Jones & Associates, there is a bare majority – 51 percent want the state to take over the federal lands, 38 percent oppose and 11 percent don’t know.

But when you break out the 607 respondents by political party affiliation, big differences:

-- 64 percent of those who told Jones they are Republicans “strongly” or “somewhat” favor the state taking over federal lands; and only 27 percent oppose; 9 percent of Republicans said they didn’t know.

-- Just the opposite for Democrats; only 28 percent favor taking over the lands; 62 percent oppose; and 10 percent didn’t know.

-- Political independents are split; 48 percent favor the state taking over the lands; 41 percent oppose, and 11 percent didn’t know.

There is a general movement among the western states who have large percentages of their land in federal government control – Idaho, Utah, Nevada and such – where the GOP-controlled state governments are moving to gain control of their national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands.

Here is a map of the federal lands in Idaho.

In general, folks in the rural areas and Republicans favor the state taking over the lands, while many city-dwellers – who recreate on the federal lands but don’t use them in their livings – oppose the efforts.

Geographically in Idaho, 34 percent of eastern Idaho residents “strongly” support taking over the federal lands, 28 percent of western Idahoans “strongly” support the land taking, while a third of northern Idahoans “strongly” support taking the land back, Jones found.

On another issue, asked if they believe children should be vaccinated for measles, 76 percent said yes, 21 percent said no and 4 percent didn’t know.

 

Break that out by political party, and 72 percent of Republicans said kids should be vaccinated, 24 percent said no and 4 percent didn’t know.

Democrats are very much in favor of it, 88 percent said yes, 8 percent said no and 3 percent didn’t know.

Political independents – 76 percent said yes, 20 percent no and 4 percent didn’t know.

Finally, as you may know the NBC national news anchor, Brian Williams, has been given six months off without pay for not telling the truth about several of his personal experiences while covering major stories – most particular his retelling of his helicopter being hit by enemy fire and forced to the ground while he was on a story several years ago in Iraq – when in fact it was not his helicopter, but one in his group of aircraft.

Sixty percent said they favored NBC’s decision to put Williams on probation for the incidents, 21 percent oppose that move, and 19 percent didn’t know.

 

Asked if Williams should come back to the anchor chair or be let go, 43 percent said he should come back, 22 percent said he shouldn’t and 20 percent didn’t’ know.

 

Jones conducted the poll for Idaho Politics Weekly February 17-25 of 607 adults, it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.