BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
In a survey conducted by Magellan Strategies between August 5 and 7, 54 percent of voters said they intend to vote yes to allow the state to keep extra revenue it would otherwise have to refund to taxpayers under the rules of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Thirty percent of voters said they would vote no on the measure and 15 percent were undecided. The ballot language requires that the extra money must be spent for public schools, higher education, roads, bridges, and transit.
Referred to the voters by the Democrat-controlled state legislature, the question on the ballot this November 5 asks voters to allow the state to permanently keep the extra revenue, to be used for the identified purposes in specific proportions. One-third of the extra money must be used for public schools and one-third must be used for higher education. The remaining one-third is to be spent on the combined category of roads, bridges and transit.
The results of the survey varied widely by party affiliation, with 72 percent of Democratic voters surveyed saying that they intend to vote yes compared with only 32 percent of Republicans. Said Magellan, “It is important to note that this question was weighted based upon past odd-year election voter turnout demographics where Republican respondents make up 36% of the sample, Democrats 34% and unaffiliated voters 29%.”
Magellan further explored voters’ overall opinion of TABOR. They found that a plurality of 46 percent of Colorado voters have a favorable opinion of TABOR, while 36 percent view it unfavorably and 18 percent have no opinion on it.
The 46 percent who favor TABOR say the primary reason they support it is “it is a check on government spending, holding elected officials accountable and requiring them to explain big spending decisions.”
The 36 percent of respondents who do not support TABOR believe that it has had a negative impact on our state being able to provide adequate funding for public education, transportation and other government services.
Magellan found that 62 percent of respondents support the primary TABOR component that requires voter approval for tax increases. Only 26 percent oppose requiring voter approval for tax increases and 12 percent have no opinion. For that reason, Magellan doesn’t see TABOR being fully repealed anytime soon. On that specific question, Magellan got a yes for full repeal of TABOR from only 36 percent of respondents, while 48 percent said no and 18 percent were undecided.
Magellan also explored voters’ feelings about refunding excess revenue as required by TABOR versus allowing the state to keep it even when the purpose of retaining it was not specified. (It is specified in Proposition CC). To that question, 47 percent of voters said yes, 39 percent said no, and 13 percent were undecided, seeming to confirm voters view of the primary importance of TABOR as a control against new or increased taxes.
Asked about their overall opinion of TABOR without addressing its various components, 60 percent of Republicans had a favorable opinion of TABOR, while 32 percent of Democrats viewed it positively, along with 47 percent of unaffiliated voters.
Magellan Strategies is a Louisville CO-based polling and survey research, campaign consulting, voter modeling, and digital marketing firm. Its CEO David Flaherty has been involved in Republican politics since 1992, having worked in Washington DC for 14 years at the Republican National Committee, Americans for Prosperity (described most often as libertarian/conservative), and the US House of Representatives.
The survey was done via telephone and online by contacting 500 Colorado voters deemed likely to cast ballots in the 2020 general election. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.38% at the 95 percent confidence interval.
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