‘Personhood’ gets pounded in Colorado poll
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado
DENVER, Colorado ” Amendment 48 is getting clobbered by more than a 2-to-1 ratio, making it unlikely that Colorado will become the first state in the nation to grant constitutional rights to a fertilized egg.
The Rocky Mountain News/ CBS4 News poll showed the Personhood Amendment losing, 68 percent to 27 percent.
The bad news for the proponents of the measure can be found inside the numbers. Of the 68 percent polled who said they’d vote against the ballot measure, 61 percent fell under a “definite no” category.
With such rigidity among those saying “definite no,” pollster Lori Weigel said it’s pretty much a slam-dunk that it will fail on Election Day.
“Once a ballot measure falls under 50 percent support, it is very difficult to turn around that dynamic,” Weigel said. “For this ballot measure, this is not a hole to dig yourself out of, it’s a chasm.”
The measure made a big splash when it qualified for the Nov. 4 ballot after proponents collected more than 130,000 signatures. It quickly became entangled in the hot-button debate surrounding abortion.
As the shortest ballot measure – a point co-author Kristi Burton used as a selling point – it was represented by her as a simple measure without lofty goals.
All she said it was trying to do was define the word “person” in the Colorado Constitution.
But opponents saw it as a Pandora’s Box that would force lawmakers and courts to sort through thousands of references in state statutes where laws would have to be changed, because passage would grant inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law to the fertilized egg.
Fofi Mendez, campaign manager for No on 48, said one of the big fears was that people wouldn’t know about the ballot measure and what it meant until they stepped into the voting booth.
Opponents launched a massive campaign featuring television and radio commercials as well as multiple media events to get the message out.
Based on the polling, Mendez said it appeared to be working.
“We have been sharing with voters that were willing to listen that this is an extreme measure,” Mendez said. “I think most voters are seeing that it’s extreme and goes too far. Folks are hearing the message.”
But Burton said she was skeptical of the poll numbers.
“I’ve heard different information from different people involved in past efforts,” she said. “Sometimes, polls don’t accurately represent what the numbers will be on Election Day. That’s when we’ll learn what the truth really is.”
Rick Ridder, a Democratic pollster with RBI Strategies, said the truth is that the measure is failing, even in areas where it might traditionally receive more support.
He said a principal reason might be the pressing economic issues, or secondarily, the war in Iraq. Ridder said when those issues become paramount, social issues tend to take a back seat.
“Nobody is wondering how we define a person when your 401(k) is plummeting,” he said.
The breadth of shallow support can be seen among groups that might appear to be friendly to the measure – including Republican men and women. Neither group eclipsed 50 percent support.
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