- 14 percent of survey respondents said housing is the biggest issue facing their community, followed by 10 percent who said the economy is the most important problem
- 52 percent of people statewide think President Trump is doing a "poor" job
- 49 percent think Gov. John Hickenlooper is doing a "good" or "excellent" job
- 52 percent of people think legalizing marijuana has had a positive effect in Colorado
- Democrats/liberals are much more likely than Republicans/conservatives to think legal marijuana has had a positive effect
- 80 percent think climate change is having some kind of effect on Colorado’s environment
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The affordability of housing is the biggest issue facing residents of Colorado, according to a new poll from Colorado Mesa University.
The university teamed up with the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania to survey hundreds of Colorado residents on a multitude of issues, including the economy, education and politics.
Statewide, 14 percent of respondents said housing/real estate was the biggest issue facing their community, while 10 percent said the economy was the most important problem. Nine percent of respondents listed crime/drugs/violence, 7 percent said education and 6 percent said government was the biggest issue facing their community.
Only one percent of respondents said other hot-button issues, such as the legalization of marijuana, racism, civil liberties and immigration are the biggest issues facing their community.
Here are some more highlights from the survey, broken down by category.
Overall, when asked if they agree or disagree with the statement that there is adequate access to affordable housing in their community, 62 percent of Coloradans said they disagree. The problem of affordability seems to be the worst in the Denver metro area and south-central and eastern parts of the state. Sixty-seven percent of people in the Denver metro area responded with “disagree” or “strongly disagree,” versus 65 percent in south-central and eastern Colorado and 48 percent on the Western Slope. Thirty-three percent of Western Slope residents said there is adequate access to affordable housing in their area.
The economy was the second most important issue facing Colorado communities, according to the survey respondents. Overall, people statewide express a positive view of the economy, with 72 percent of respondents rating the economy as “good,” “very good” or “excellent.” Those in the Denver metro area seem to have a more positive view of the economy, with the majority of respondents falling into the “good” and “very good” category, while most Western Slope and south-central/eastern residents chose “good” or “fair.”
In terms of employment, 47 percent of respondents statewide said they were pleased with the job opportunities in their community, but the responses showed some regional differences. Fifty-seven percent of people in the Denver area reported being satisfied with job opportunities, while only 35 percent of Western Slope residents and 40 percent of south-central and eastern Colorado residents reported being satisfied.
Additionally, 57 percent of respondents statewide said they agreed with the statement that their community is a good place to start a business. Denver metro and south-central/eastern residents were more likely to agree with this statement.
Overall, people reported being dissatisfied with the federal government. In the Denver metro area, 70 percent of people reported being somewhat or very dissatisfied, versus 58 percent on the Western Slope and 56 percent in south-central and eastern Colorado. Statewide, 52 percent of respondents said President Donald Trump was doing a poor job, while 32 percent said he was doing a good or excellent job. Dissatisfaction with the president was highest in the Denver area, where 61 percent of people said he was doing a poor job, versus 43 percent on the Western Slope and south-central/eastern Colorado.
People reported much higher levels of satisfaction with the local governments, with 49 percent of people statewide expressing satisfaction with the state government, versus 36 percent dissatisfied. Overall, 49 percent of people said Governor John Hickenlooper was doing a good or excellent job.
Fifty-six percent of people reported satisfaction with both city and county governments.
As a whole, Coloradans think legalizing marijuana has had a positive effect on the state, with 52 percent of respondents saying it has had a “very” or “somewhat” positive impact. 56 percent of Western Slope residents said legal marijuana had a positive effect, versus 52 percent in the Denver area and 48 percent in south-central and eastern Colorado.
Support for legalization varied on a number of demographics, including politics, age and education. Sixty-five percent of Democrats and 56 percent of Independents said legal marijuana had a positive impact, while only 28 percent of Republicans felt the same way. A majority of people between the ages of 18 and 60 also see legal marijuana in a positive light, while more than half of people over 60 view it negatively. In addition, those with at least some college education were more likely to think marijuana has a positive effect while 47 percent of those with a high school education or less think it’s had a negative effect on the state.
Statewide, 21 percent of respondents think the quality of K-12 education in their community has improved, while 27 percent think the quality has stayed about the same and 34 percent think it has decreased.
Fifty-four percent of respondents think higher education is not affordable, while 23 percent think it is affordable.
The state of the environment is another big concern for Coloradans. Sixty-nine percent of all respondents statewide said they were either “somewhat” or “very” concerned about environmental issues in their community. Eighty percent of people also said they think climate change is having some kind of effect on Colorado’s environment and 82 percent said they think climate change will affect the state’s environment in the future.
Safety and crime
Eighty-two percent of people statewide said they feel like their community is a safe place to live. The overwhelming majority of people felt this way in all three regions.
Drug and alcohol abuse are of concern to many Coloradans. Statewide, 60 percent of respondents said alcohol is a “moderate” or “major” problem and 59 percent of people said that illicit drug use is a moderate or major problem. Additionally, 54 percent of respondents said prescription drug abuse is a moderate or major problem in their community.
This is the second statewide poll conducted by CMU’s Social Research Center, which was established last fall. The survey included 532 adult Colorado residents who were interviewed either over the phone or online between March 22 and 28, 2017.
For more on the survey and its findings, log on to coloradomesa.edu/social-research-center.