Published: Jan. 29, 2024 By

In the lead up to the 2024 presidential race, Republican and Democratic voters in Colorado remain deeply divided in how much they trust the integrity of national elections. 

That’s one of the top takeaways from a new survey by researchers at the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) at CU Boulder and the polling company YouGov. The team has published its Colorado Political Climate Survey annually since 2017—an attempt to track how voters in Colorado are navigating hot-button issues like election integrity, abortion and more.

In this year’s survey, released online Jan. 29, the team reports that 75% of Democrats but only 46% of independents and 41% of Republicans agreed that “elections across the country will be conducted fairly and accurately.” Colorado voters, however, are much more optimistic about elections in their own state. A slim majority, or 54%, of Republican voters expressed optimism that statewide elections will be fair and accurate. 

“That’s troubling,” said Anand Sokhey, director of the APRL and co-author of the new survey. “We’ve been seeing that partisan split for a while now, and it reflects messaging from Donald Trump and his surrogates questioning the results of the 2020 election.”

To carry out the survey, the online survey vendor YouGov gathered responses from 800 Coloradans across the state in December 2023. They included 229 self-identified Republicans, 263 Democrats and 263 independents (with some respondents identifying themselves as “other”).  The survey is weighted to reflect the general population of Colorado and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.23%. 

By the numbers

From a CU Boulder and YouGov survey of 800 Colorado voters living across the state in Denver 2023.

Job approval ratings:

President Joe Biden: 42% approve, 50% disapprove
Gov. Jared Polis: 49% approve, 37% disapprove
Sen. John Hickenlooper: 43% approve, 36% disapprove
Sen. Michael Bennet: 41% approve, 29% disapprove
Rep. Lauren Boebert: 29% approve, 46%  disapprove


Do you favor or oppose the movement known as “Black Lives Matter”?

Favor: 50%
Oppose: 38%
Not sure: 12%

How much do you favor or oppose the federal government making it more difficult for individuals to purchase a gun?

Favor: 56%
Oppose: 36%
Not sure: 7%

How concerned are you personally about climate change?

“Very concerned” or “concerned”: 51%
“Somewhat concerned”: 19%
“Not very concerned” or “not at all concerned”: 30%

How much do you approve of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Favor: 33%
Oppose: 51%
Not sure: 16%

The researchers discovered that Colorado seems to be continuing its blue-ward shift of the last decade or so. In the survey, voters favored incumbent President Joe Biden in a hypothetical race against former President Donald Trump by 47% to 40%. 

One thing voters of all affiliations could agree on: Colorado is too expensive. Nearly 80% of survey respondents reported that they were “concerned” or “very concerned” about the cost of living in the state.

“Our goal was to take the pulse of the state as we’re entering this election period,” Sokhey said. “In some ways, you’ll see a Colorado that reflects the rest of the country, but you’ll also see how the state is approaching some issues in a way that’s unique.”

The economy, stupid

He added that one factor may wind up having an outsized role in shaping the results of the upcoming elections: our pocketbooks.

And voters are leagues apart in how they perceive the economy. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans and independents rated the state of the nation’s economy as “fair” or “poor,” according to the survey. Only on-third of Democrats, in contrast, expressed similar pessimistic views about the economy.

Sokhey suspects these divides come down to partisan voters hearing very different messages about the economy from the media they consume.

“You see that, consistently, Republicans and Democrats are in completely different economic worlds in terms their perceptions,” he said.

An eye on Colorado

Sokhey noted that, in 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade may have motivated left-leaning voters to turn out for that year’s midterm elections. Heading into the 2024 elections, abortion could continue to be a major force in politics. 

According to the survey, 51% of voters in Colorado opposed the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, while 33% approved of it. Notable, Sokhey said, independents seemed to join Democrats in their disapproval—only 24% reported that they approved of overturning Roe v. Wade. 

“We’re seeing a lot of data in Colorado and nationally that this could be a vulnerable issue for Republicans,” he said. 

On the local side, survey respondents also weighed on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Voters approved this amendment to Colorado’s constitution, which limits how the state can raise or spend taxpayer dollars, in 1992. They seemed to still be in favor today, with 54% of respondents expressing their approval. 

Some voters, however, may be confused by TABOR impacts and by language in other ballot measures, Sokhey said.

Last year, voters rejected Proposition HH, a measure to rejigger the state’s property taxes, by solid margins. According to the new survey, more than two-thirds of voters said they found the language in that proposition confusing.

“We see issues around TABOR pop up every few years, and these are complicated and confusing things,” Sokhey said. “Indeed, people were confused about HH, and they assumed that their friends and families were, too.”