Just two weeks after President Trump described wildlife trophy hunting as a “horror show,” a new nationwide survey of the American electorate reveals that an overwhelming number of Americans of all political persuasions agree with him, especially Republicans. Americans in every demographic group and both major political parties demonstrate a deep dislike of trophy hunting, and there is negligible support for allowing trophies parts from elephants and lions to come into the country.
The survey showed that voters, by a more than five to one margin, oppose allowing American trophy hunters to import into the U.S. the parts of elephants and lions they kill in Africa, with 78 percent opposing and 15 percent supporting the imports. Those trophy imports are opposed by 76 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats, and 75 percent of non-partisan voters. More broadly, 69 percent of Americans say they oppose trophy hunting, including 79 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of Republicans, and 67 percent of non-partisan voters.
Results followed the recent global backlash against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announcement that elephant and lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe and Zambia would be permitted into the U.S. On November 17, President Trump and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the USFWS decision to permit imports of elephant and lion trophies was placed on hold pending further review.
The survey found that a majority of Americans support this decision by the President, with the strongest support coming from Republicans (72 support to 19 oppose) and conservatives (64 support to 24 oppose) but also pluralities of Democrats (48 support to 35 oppose) and liberals (49 support to 28 oppose) backing the President on trophy hunting.
One claim of pro-trophy hunting advocates is that trophy hunters provide much needed revenue for Africans living in economically depressed regions and that the need for revenue outweighs the need to preserve wildlife populations. The survey showed that 78 percent of Americans disagree with this claim, including 75 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats.
“These polling results demonstrate that Americans of all political persuasions oppose trophy hunting by massive margins,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Republicans are most aligned with President Trump’s views that trophy hunting is a ‘horror show,’ but Democrats and Independents back him on this, too.”
Editorial boards throughout the nation have called on President Trump to ban imports of lion and elephant trophies. So did conservative pundits, including Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage and Mark Levin.
Wildlife watching revenues dwarf the dollars generated by trophy hunting. Kenya banned all trophy hunting in 1977, and Botswana outlawed all trophy hunting in 2014.
The survey of 3,011 registered voters was conducted by the Remington Research Group from December 2–December 3, 2017. The survey was weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2018 General Election. Margin of Error is +/-2.2% with a 95% level of confidence. The survey results can be viewed here (PDF).