Rocky/CBS4 poll: Coloradans favor ending affirmative action |

Rocky/CBS4 poll: Coloradans favor ending affirmative action

Kevin Flynn
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado voters are poised to end race- and gender-based affirmative action programs in next week’s voting, but the margin in favor of Amendment 46 is soft, new poll numbers show.

The initiative is leading 53 percent to 40 percent, with 7 percent undecided. But Lori Weigel, a Republican pollster, and Democratic counterpart Rick Ridder both said issues that hover near the 50-percent mark can be in trouble as the election nears and others make up their minds.

“The ‘yes’ side was much lower than I anticipated,” Ridder said. “Right now, voters are clearly at best lukewarm about it.”

Weigel, whose firm Public Opinion Strategies conducted the Rocky Mountain News/CBS4 News poll, said many voters may still not know what the amendment means, and that it could lose steam.

“That’s the danger zone,” Weigel said of the 50-percent mark. “You always want to be beyond margin of error in terms of comfort level. I wouldn’t be sleeping well at night if I were the proponents of 46. I would be pushing pretty hard.”

Amendment 46, the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, prohibits the state from granting preferential treatment to anyone based on race, sex or ethnicity in hiring, education and contracts. It effectively ends government-sponsored affirmative action programs that use race or gender.

Jessica Corry, head of the campaign in favor of Amendment 46, said her group isn’t taking a single vote for granted.

“We’re elated to be over 50 percent given that there have been malicious personal attacks against our campaign,” Corry said. “We’re working every second of every day to get to undecided voters.”

She was referring to radio ads from opponents of 46 attacking Ward Connerly, the black California millionaire who has largely bankrolled the initiative and identical measures in other states.

The poll showed a high level of support among minority and women voters for the measure, which opponents take as an indication that there is a low level of awareness that it actually ends race- and gender-based affirmative action.

“People who would traditionally be supportive of the civil rights movement are the ones who are being targeted by the trick wording of this amendment, thinking they’re voting for civil rights,” said Melissa Hart, leader of the opposition Coloradans for Equal Opportunity.

The Rocky/CBS4 poll is based on interviews with 500 registered voters statewide. It was conducted Oct. 21-23 The margin of error is 4.38 percent.

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