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2 POLLS, 1 IN JUNE, 1 IN OCTOBER, SUGGEST THAT
VOTERS WILL APPROVE THE COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE;
A 3 RD POLL, USING A DIFFERENT QUESTION, RAISES DOUBTS  

[This report is based on the information provided by the polling organization, with regard to the two Quinnipiac University Polls, and by the publisher and the State of Colorado, with regard to the Denver Post Poll. Any opinion or comment from me will be bracketed in italics. Curtis Crawford]

THE JUNE POLL - The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in various states and nationwide as a public service and for research. From June 17 24, 2008, more than four months before the November election, 1,351 Colorado likely voters were questioned concerning issues and candidates. The survey was conducted in partnership with The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com., and had a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent. One question dealt with the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative:

18. As you may know, there is a proposed state constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It says that the state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public contracting, or public education. Do you think that you will vote for or against this state constitutional amendment?

LIKELY VOTERS

CO
Tot
Rep
Dem
Ind
Men
Wom
Wht
His
Union HsHlds
For
66%
61%
71%
68%
67%
66%
66%
68%
63%
Against
15
18
15
13
17
14
16
14
18
DK/NA
18
21
14
19
16
20
18
18
18

[That the amendment was supported here more solidly by Colorado Democrats than Republicans is surprising. For four decades, Democrats, more strongly than Republicans, have backed affirmative action, by which they usually mean racial or ethnic discrimination in favor of minorities who gave suffered discrimination in the past. When selecting delegates to their national conventions, the Democrats require their state parties to adopt aggressive affirmative action programs, including goals and timetables. Were the Democrats who answered Yes in this poll objecting to their Party's long preference for racial preference? Or did they simply not realize what this amendment would do: that it would forbid any affirmative action programs, that involve discrimination or preference based on race, ethnicity or sex, in State-sponsored education, employment, and contracting? Another puzzle is that Hispanic respondents, whose group stands to lose from a ban on State preference, favored it a bit more that Whites, who stand to gain from such a ban.]

AN OCTOBER POLL BY THE SAME ORGANIZATION - From October 8 - 12, the Quinnipiac University Poll questioned 1,088 Colorado likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent. This survey was also conducted in partnership with The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com. After other questions on national and state candidates and issues, respondents were asked about the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative, using the same wording as in the July poll:

22. As you may know, there is a proposed state constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It says that the state shall not discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to any group or individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public contracting, or public education. Do you think that you will vote for or against this state constitutional amendment?


LIKELY VOTERS

CO
Tot
Rep
Dem
Ind
Men
Wom
For
63%
63%
57%
69%
63%
62%
Against
21
20
26
16
22
20
DK/NA
16
17
17
15
15
18

[Here, the biggest change is the sizable drop in Democratic support, though it's still a majority.]

AN OCTOBER POLL SPONSORED BY THE DENVER POST According to the Denver Post of 10/6/08, this Poll was conducted Sept. 29 through Oct.1, by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. A total of 625 registered Colorado voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. All stated they were likely to vote in the November general election. An additional 200 independent/unaffiliated voters were interviewed, and the statewide results have been proportionately weighted to reflect the responses of all independent/unaffiliated voters. The margin of error is no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the "true" figure would fall within that range if the entire population were sampled. The margin of error is higher for any subgroup, such as regional or gender grouping.

The poll referred to the 16 ballot initiatives by their official numbers, providing no description. So, when asking about each initiative, each pollster was supposed to read to each respondent the same questions that would face voters in the ballot box. For the Civil Rights Initiative, Amendment 46, this question was:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning a prohibition
against discrimination by the state, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the state from
discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the
basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment,
public education, or public contracting; allowing exceptions to the prohibition when bona fide
qualifications based on sex are reasonably necessary or when action is necessary to establish
or maintain eligibility for federal funds; preserving the validity of court orders or consent
decrees in effect at the time the measure becomes effective; defining "state" to include the
state of Colorado, agencies or departments of the state, public institutions of higher education,
political subdivisions, or governmental instrumentalities of or within the state; and making
portions of the measure found invalid severable from the remainder of the measure?

The Answers: Yes 42% . . . No 29% . . . Undecided 29%

[The Denver Post report of this poll provided no breakdown of the results by political affiliation, sex, race or ethnicity. Moreover, it did not include the text of the question, which the respondents were trying to answer Yes or No. As you see, the question was complicated, the kind of language that most people pay lawyers to understand for them. But this question does contain a reasonably fair summary of the amendment's eight provisions. If we object that the average voter can't handle this complexity, we're making an argument against the wisdom of allowing citizens to amend their state constitution by ballot. Without more information, predicting the outcome on Election Day is more risky than it seemed based on the Quinnepiac University polls.]

Return to Table of Contents for Nebraska & Colorado Civil Rights Initiatives

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