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A look at what’s top of mind for Colorado voters heading into the election year

A new poll shows that cost of living, crime and public safety, and housing affordability are what worry Coloradans the most
A collection box stands outside the Denver Elections Division for the city's election Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in downtown Denver. The 2023 municipal general election ballot consists of races for various local offices including mayor, which has drawn 16 candidates to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Hancock, city council, clerk and recorder and auditor as well as three local ballot measures. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Cost of living, crime and public safety, and housing affordability are the top issues for Colorado voters heading into the 2024 election year, according to the results of a statewide poll released Tuesday.

When asked to select their top two issues, 40% of those polled said the cost of living, 29% said crime and public safety, and 28% said housing affordability. Other top issues voters mentioned, in order, were homelessness, the economy, education, climate and the environment, and health care.

The poll was conducted on behalf of the Colorado Polling Institute, a nonpartisan nonprofit that launched this year. The survey was conducted by Cygnal, a Republican political firm, and Aspect Strategic, a Democratic firm, on Nov. 26 and 27 among 652 likely 2024 general election voters in Colorado. It had a 3.83 percentage point margin of error.

A slight majority of those polled – 50.4% – said that Colorado is headed in the right direction, while 43% said it’s on the wrong track. And 6.5% said they were unsure.

Looking closer at the survey’s results, Coloradans who have lived in the state for 20 years or longer had a more negative outlook on the state’s direction, according to Kevin Ingham, who leads Aspect Strategic. Those who think the state is headed in the wrong direction are most consumed by cost of living concerns.

“For those voters that we call settled transplants – those are people who’ve been here between five and 20 years – they see the direction of the state is (headed) in the right way by nearly a 20-point margin,” he said. “And then newcomers who have been here less than five years, they are brimming with optimism, but 77% saying we’re heading in the right direction.”

Some other big takeaways from the poll:

  • When asked about the future, 63% said they expected Colorado to become a worse place to purchase a home, while 41% said it was going to become a worse place to raise a family.
  • When asked how they would vote on Initiative 50, the 2024 ballot measure from a conservative political nonprofit capping statewide property tax increases at 4% annually, 34% said they would vote “yes” on the question, while 35.2% said they would vote “no” and another 31% said they were undecided.
  • A majority of those polled – 51.4% – said they hadn’t heard enough about what passed during the special legislative session on property tax and other financial relief to form an opinion. Of those who had an opinion, 23% said they approved of what was passed while 26% said they disapproved.

When it comes to Initiative 50, Ingham said it could go either way.

“It’s still early,” he said. “We’re 11 months out from the election and with such a large number of undecided, it could obviously go either way.”

The poll also asked participants about certain institutions and groups. Here are the results:

Republicans tended to have more distrust of Colorado’s institutions than Democrats, said Ingham and Brent Buchanan, who founded Cyganl.

“Clearly the distrust in our society has a distinctly partisan and ideological curve,” Ingham said. “The more conservative you are, the higher you rank in the distrust index. And as you move left, we see more fall into the low distrust category.”

Buchanan said the level of trust also broke down among educational and income levels, with those with higher educational and income levels more trusting of institutions and people and vice versa.

The Colorado Polling Institute’s founder is investor David Carlson, who founded “A Denver For Us All,” a similar group that polled during the city’s mayoral race.

The nonprofit’s advisers include TeRay Esquibel, who leads a nonprofit mobilizing public school alumni; former Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black; Republican political consultant Tyler Sandberg; and Democratic political consultant Curtis Hubbard.

Hubbard has served as an adviser to The Colorado Sun but has no influence over editorial decisions.

The nonprofit’s donors include Carlson, Esquibel, Black and Sandberg, as well as lobbyist Travis Berry and Tiffany Coolidge, a political consultant who has worked with Republican candidates in the past.

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