By Published: Nov. 2, 2022

Colorado State Capitol Building

More than two-thirds of Coloradans believe that elections in the state will be fair and accurate in 2022—although the numbers vary among voters from party to party, according to a new survey from CU Boulder. 

The results appear less than a week before voters head to the polls for the Nov. 8 midterms. They’re part of the latest Colorado Political Climate Survey, an annual effort to gauge how Centennial State residents are feeling about a range of topics—from the economy to abortion and several competitive statewide elections.

Colorado voters by the numbers

Election integrity

  • 71% believe elections in Colorado will be conducted “fairly and accurately”
  • 54% believe elections across the country will be conducted “fairly and accurately”
  • 63% believe Joe Biden “legitimately won enough votes to be elected President," including 95% of Democrats, 34% of Republicans and 47% of Independents
  • 34% worry about their Colorado ballots “being kept private”

Other issues

  • 53% disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade versus 35% who approve
  • 41% rank economic conditions nationally as “poor”
  • 18% rank economic conditions in Colorado as “poor”

Statewide races

  • 57% say they will vote for Jared Polis for governor versus 41% for Heidi Ganahl
  • 56% say they will vote for Michael Bennet for U.S. senator versus 42% for Joe O’Dea
  • 54% say they will vote for Jena Griswold for secretary of state versus 43% for Pam Anderson

Nationally, election integrity has been a hot-button issue in the past two years. Most voters in Colorado, however, expressed confidence that their votes will count, said Anand Sokhey, director of the American Politics Research Lab (APRL), which leads the survey. Courtney Nava, graduate student in political science, and Scott Adler, dean of the Graduate School at CU Boulder and executive director of APRL, co-authored the report. 

Roughly 71% of Coloradans believe that elections in the state will be conducted “fairly and accurately,” including 92% of registered Democrats, 57% of Republicans and 53% of Independents. Colorado voters may have less faith in elections elsewhere in the U.S.: Just 54% overall express similar optimism for votes nationwide.

"Republicans and Independents express considerably less optimism on this point than do Democrats,” said Sokhey, associate professor in the Department of Political Science. “This suggests that the narratives that have been circulating since the 2020 election are clearly still in play this election season."

Numerous investigations have shown that no widespread voter fraud took place during the 2020 presidential election.

In their 2022 survey, Sokhey and his colleagues worked with the company YouGov to poll more than 700 Colorado voters between Oct. 11-19. 

The group’s findings point to a rare bit of good news for Democrats who have faced declining poll numbers in other key states around the country. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, for example, could be on the path to win reelection, leading Republican Heidi Ganahl 57% to 42% in the new poll. Secretary of State Jena Griswold and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet also hold moderate leads over their Republican challengers.

"Although the Democratic party is facing strong headwinds nationally in these midterms, Democrats in statewide contests in Colorado seem to be faring well,” Sokhey said. 

Digging into the numbers

The state of the economy seems to be top of mind among voters from the Eastern Plains to the Front Range and Western Slope. According to the survey, only 16% of Coloradans rank economic conditions in the U.S. “excellent” or “good,” with nearly two-thirds opting for “fair” or “poor.”

But voters are more optimistic about the state of the local economy, Sokhey said. Roughly 33% of residents rank conditions in Colorado “excellent” or “good.”

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortion nationally, seems to be unpopular in Colorado: About 53% of Coloradans disapprove of the justices’ decision, while 35% approve. 

The survey also took the temperature of how Coloradans feel about several high-profile politicians. Thirty-nine percent of voters approve of how President Joe Biden is handling his job versus 52% who disapprove. U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, has a 29% approval rating statewide. 

The new survey also dives into several other local issues: Results suggest that three statewide ballot measures should pass comfortably come election day. Almost 64% of voters, for example, favor Proposition GG, which would require future ballot initiatives to include a table “showing the average tax change for tax filers in different income categories.” Proposition FF, which seeks to “support healthy meals for all students,” enjoys a similar level of support. 

Proposition 125, which would allow stores licensed to sell beer to also sell wine, seems on the verge of becoming law.