The following was announced March 31 by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition:

A new eight-state, Great Lakes regional opinion survey finds overwhelming support for continuing the federal government's efforts to improve the health of the Great Lakes.

More than eight in ten residents - 86 percent - approve of the government spending more than $300 million a year to clean up toxic waste and bacteria, reduce run-off pollution from cities and farms, and protect and rebuild wetlands. More than six in ten residents - 63 percent - strongly support continued funding. Only nine percent want to reduce federal funds for this purpose.

The poll was commissioned by the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.

In this era of intense political party polarization, support for funding Great Lakes restoration transcends party politics, according to the poll, as majorities of Democrats (92 percent), Republicans (80 percent) and independents (88 percent) want the federal government to invest in Great Lakes restoration.

"The most remarkable finding in this survey is the unusual consensus among Democrats, Republicans and independents on an issue regarding federal spending - they all agree that the government should spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars a year to keep the Great Lakes healthy," said John Russonello, partner with Belden Russonello Strategists, a Washington, D.C. - based firm which conducted the poll.

The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 5 to 18 using landlines and cell phones. The sample size was 1,535 adults in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York (excluding the New York City metropolitan area) and Pennsylvania (Erie County, only).

The data were weighted by age to reflect the population of the region. The margin of sampling error is &lusmn;2.5 percentage points.

For details, more poll results and other information, visit Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.