Fish and Wildlife Economics and Statistics

Candidates Support of Hunting, Shooting, Fishing Vital to Capturing the Sportsman Vote

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL.  – Despite the remaining uncertainty and turmoil surrounding our nation’s potential presidential candidates, and countless state and local elections on the line in 2016, one thing is certain: Those candidates who fail to support hunting, sport shooting and fishing, will ultimately fail to win the votes of American sportsmen. And with nearly 14 million hunters, over 20 million recreational shooters and more than 33 million anglers, that is a lot of votes lost-enough that it could change the outcome of an election.

This fact was driven home recently when and surveyed anglers, hunters and shooting enthusiasts regarding their intention to vote in the upcoming presidential elections and how important support of fishing, hunting and sport shooting issues were in casting their vote. Those who said they intend to vote were high in both surveys with 92 percent of AnglerSurvey respondents and 94 percent of HunterSurvey respondents planning to vote for our next president this November.


A candidate’s position on sportfishing issues is important to anglers, with 72 percent of respondents saying it will impact their choice of candidate. Twenty-eight percent said it will not affect their decision. Among hunters and anglers, however, a candidate’s stance on gun and hunting issues is absolutely critical. Nearly 96 percent of those surveyed said a candidate’s positions on the topics will affect their voting decision, while just over four percent said they will not.

“Hunting, sport shooting and recreational fishing are activities that participants are most often extremely passionate about; so much so that it has a direct impact on how they vote,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at, and “Few sportsmen are willing to support a candidate who doesn’t support positions that are friendly to hunting, shooting and fishing, regardless of where they may stand on other issues.”
Authenticity can provide candidates an added bump among sportsmen, meaning those who not only support sporting issues, but understand them first hand through their own participation, have an advantage of winning over hunter and angler support.
Thirty-eight percent of anglers said if a candidate was known to fish, it would make them more likely to vote for them. On the hunting and shooting side, those surveyed placed more importance on a candidate’s need to “be one of them.” Those candidates who actually engage in hunting and recreational shooting saw their personal involvement winning potential votes from nearly 71 percent of those surveyed on
To help continually improve, protect and advance hunting, shooting and fishing, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the bi-monthly surveys at, and/or Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.


About, and  

Launched in 2006,, and help the outdoor equipment industry, government fisheries and wildlife officials and conservation organizations track consumer activities and expenditure trends. Survey results are scientifically analyzed to reflect the attitudes and habits of anglers and hunters across the United States. Follow them on Facebook at and