Sara Wilson

(Colorado Newsline) Just half of Coloradans think the state is heading in the right direction with 11 months until an election that will see shakeups in the state’s congressional delegation and representation at the state Capitol.

That outlook features a partisan divide as well, with Democrats more optimistic about the state of things — Colorado’s top elected officials are all Democrats and the party holds a majority in the Legislature — and Republicans more pessimistic. Unaffiliated voters, who make up the largest voting bloc, are somewhere in the middle.

That’s according to a statewide new poll released Tuesday from the Colorado Polling Institute. The survey was conducted by Aspect Strategic, a Democratic political firm, and Cygnal, a Republican political firm, Nov. 26 and 27 among 652 likely 2024 general election voters in Colorado. The margin of error is 3.83%.

Voters named cost of living, public safety and housing affordability as the priority issues they want the government to focus on, followed by homelessness, the economy, education, climate and the environment, and health care.

When it comes to housing, 63% of respondents said they think buying a home in Colorado will be worse in the future. The sentiment was similar no matter how long the person has lived in Colorado or whether they own or rent their home. Housing affordability was the top issue for people aged 18 to 29 and for renters.

Housing is likely to continue being a primary focus of the Legislature next year as Democrats try to resurrect portions of a failed land use bill to make different types of development more feasible. Just under half of voters would support legislation to establish targets for local governments to build housing near transit.

Respondents were also pessimistic about the economy and financial mobility overall — 59% of people felt that a good standard of living is difficult to obtain in Colorado, even if you “work hard and play by the rules.”

“The 59% that are losing faith that hard work leads to a good standard of living is alarming in and of itself. But this belief defies traditional political fault lines,” Kevin Ingham, who leads Aspect Strategic, said. “Fifty-six percent of Democrats and 53% of Republicans agree that hard work often isn’t rewarded, and nearly two-thirds of unaffiliated voters say the same. Taken with that data about the housing market, it tells a pretty sobering story. We now have large majorities of Coloradans telling us that core pillars of the American dream, like homeownership and success through hard work, are becoming unattainable in Colorado.”

A majority of people had not heard enough about the recent special legislative session on property taxes to have an opinion on the outcome. Slightly more people (25%) disapproved of the passed legislation than approved it (22.6%).

Pollsters also asked about Initiative 50, a 2024 ballot measure that would cap statewide property tax increases at 4% annually. They found that 34% would vote yes, 35% would vote no and 31% are undecided. Though the measure is backed by a conservative group, Democrats and renters were more likely to say they support it.

“We’re 11 months out from the election and with such a large number of undecideds, it could obviously go either way. But there’s definitely some work to be done here for the proposal backers,” Ingham said.

Next November, Colorado voters will decide on eight congressional races, seats in the state House, some state Senate seats and any measures that land on the ballot, as well as the presidential election. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who represents the Republican-leaning 4th Congressional District in the eastern part of the state, is not running or reelection, and the race has attracted numerous candidates. The races for at least two other congressional seats — those currently held by Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Yadira Caraveo — are expected to be tight.

The full results of the poll are available on CPI’s website.