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Ciruli Associates Poll
Immigration Remains Top Issue for Governor and Legislature to Address
Analysis by Floyd Ciruli
In the latest statewide Ciruli Associates poll, immigration leads for the second year in a row as the top issue Colorado voters want the governor and state legislature to address. Immigration, which never appeared prior to 2006 in nearly a decade of polling on voter priorities, currently receives the top nod from one in four Coloradans.
Question: What is the top issue you want the governor and state legislature to address? [MULTIPLE ANSWERS]
After immigration, health care surged into second place (15%), up from fourth last year, followed by more funding for education (6%), transportation (7%) and tax burdens (6%).
The latest Ciruli Associates voter poll (Sept. 12-15, 2007) was sponsored by the Economic Development Council of Colorado (EDCC), a statewide consortium of local and regional economic development professionals. The survey will be released and discussed at a statewide conference keynoted by Governor Bill Ritter on October 18, 2007. The statewide survey was conducted by Ciruli Associates with 504 likely Colorado voters. The 2006 EDCC poll was conducted September 26-October 2, 2006 with 500 Colorado voters. The statistical range of error is ±4.4 percentage points.
Immigration’s dominant position with Colorado voters is partially due to the failure of the federal government to engineer a politically satisfactory solution and its high salience in the media, especially radio talk shows and websites. In fact, Colorado state government addressed illegal immigration issues in the 2006 special session, and, more than most states, has little discretion remaining for additional state-level policy.
During the nine years shown in the timeline below, some issues are durable, such as education and the economy. Others are more transient. Growth was a top issue in 1998 (31%), but was 4 percent or less in recent surveys. In 2002, water was in third position with 18 percent of voters rating it most important; it is now 1 percent. Immigration may have a similarly short life span.
Also, war is a new entrant on the list, and under even less control of the governor or legislature than immigration. It will quickly disappear as the national debate subsides. Finally, the environment, which includes references to global warming and renewable energy, only received mention from 4 percent of voters even though state policymakers have been highly focused on the issue for nine months.
Question: What would you say is the top issue you would like the governor and state legislature to deal with in Colorado?
Top Issues and Variation Among Voters
Concern over immigration and illegal immigration is widespread, however, Republicans (35%) are much more likely than unaffiliated voters (24%) or Democrats (16%) to cite the issue as most important for state government to address.
Hispanics (29%) are somewhat more likely to mention immigration than Anglo (26%) voters. Men (25%) and women (27%) are similar in their rating of its importance.
Ciruli Associates, N504, 2007
Health care, the second-highest rated issue, is especially a concern among women (21%), Hispanics (25%) and voters in the North Front Range (22%). Also, more Democrats (20%) and unaffiliated voters (20%) rate it a top priority than Republicans.
Educational funding is a top issue from Democrats (15%). Republicans’ concern stood out on tax burdens (8%). Other areas of particularly high concern for a particular group was transportation among Eastern Plains voters (11%) and the economy among residents of the North Front Range (16%) and Hispanics (18%).
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Ciruli Associates is a non-partisan research firm providing polling, election analysis and political commentary to Colorado and national media organizations since 1976.