It’s official. We finally have proof that Arizonans love the Grand Canyon more than just about anything else.
In early May, Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, questioned 600 Arizona voters on a number of mostly political topics, with a 4% margin of error. They included the question: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the Grand Canyon?”
Why would they ask that? I don’t know. But there it is, tucked among education funding, same-sex marriage, the performance of university coaches, how good a job the governor is doing, and even whether Arizona should adopt Daylight Saving Time.
Yep, Daylight Saving Time. My state never catered to the fancy notion of changing clocks twice a year. Or as someone once said, you just can’t cut off one end of a blanket, sew it on the other, and declare it a longer blanket. It’s the issue that takes third place in this poll for what people in my state agree on most: 69% of Arizonans insisted that we can continue to skip all of that falling back and springing forward business.
Second place for the issue that most Arizonans agree on is a tie: 73% of respondents are not sure what they think about Arizona State University basketball coach Bobby Hurley and 73% have a favorable opinion of the desert. I can get behind both of those ideas, too.
But the single-biggest thing Arizonans feel strongly about? No surprise, it’s the Grand Canyon. It has a 94% favorable rating.
Good thing our politicians are not running against the Grand Canyon in the next election.
But even forgetting about the 4% of respondents who weren’t sure how they felt about Arizona’s most famous national park (really?), there is still that puzzling 2% who find it downright unfavorable.
What possible reasons would anyone have for holding an unfavorable opinion of our state’s incredible natural wonder? The Fox television news Phoenix affiliate KSAZ took to the streets to find out and eventually found two people with negative views.
The first complainant expressed concern that the canyon is inaccessible for people with disabilities—though, in fact, facilities in the park, including the lodges, are very accessible.
The second negative response still has me shaking my head. “I’m not really into anything natural in the United States, like the parks,” said one man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “I don’t even go to Disneyland or Disney World.”
However, should this gentleman, through some change of heart, ever find himself in Disneyland, he should take a ride on the park’s signature railroad. Its route will take him by the world’s longest diorama, constructed in 1958 to showcase one of America’s most iconic parks, the Grand Canyon!
About the author
Kevin Dahl Arizona Senior Program Manager, Southwest
Kevin Dahl works as Arizona's Senior Program Manager in the Southwest region. He focuses on issues concerning Arizona's national parks, including such well-known places as Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro.