Polling: Minimum wage is likely to pass and ColoradoCare is going down

Louisville-based Magellan Strategies dropped some insight Wednesday into four statewide measures on the November ballot.
6 min. read
“I Voted” stickers. (Joe Hall/Flickr)

Louisville-based Magellan Strategies dropped some insight Wednesday into four statewide measures on the November ballot. This is the first publicly available polling since the measures made the ballot.

It shows the minimum wage increase as likely to pass and ColoradoCare, a proposed statewide single-payer health system, failing by a large margin. Even Democrats don't like it. The idea of a presidential primary open to all voters has strong support, especially among unaffiliated and younger voters, and it's not impossible that we could make it harder to pass constitutional amendments in the future.

The results are based on landline and cell phone calls to 500 likely voters in late August, with the results weighted based on demographic data and party affiliation. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.38 percent. No one commissioned the polls. This is Magellan's own work for its own sake.

Let's look at the issues one at a time.

Amendment 69: ColoradoCare

This amendment would create a 10 percent payroll tax, with one third paid by the employee and the rest paid by the employer, to raise $25 billion a year for a single-payer health care system. Competing analyses show the plan would either pay for itself and save money over the current system or fall into a large deficit despite saving money over the current system.

Things are not looking good for ColoradoCare. Magellan found that 65 percent of respondents oppose the measure and only 27 percent support it. Opposition has increased by 15 points since Magellan last ran a survey on this issue in January, while support has declined a similar amount.

Opposition is stronger among Republicans, but 45 percent of Democrats were also opposed, compared to just 41 percent in support.

And Magellan found that the intensity of the opposition was high, with 45 percent of voters saying they would "definitely" vote no.

"These findings are not that surprising considering Colorado’s history of rejecting large tax increases," Magellan reported. "We believe the amendment asks too much from Colorado voters by asking them to raise their state income tax by 10%. While the dream of universal healthcare may sound appealing to some Colorado voters, two thirds are unwilling to pay up for it."

The independent study finding it would lose $8 billion a year -- though disputed by proponents -- probably doesn't help either.

Amendment 70: Minimum Wage Increase

This measure would gradually raise the minimum wage from its current $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020. Overall, 55 percent of those surveyed supported the measure and 42 percent opposed it. The survey found strong party-line divisions, with eight in 10 Democrats supporting it and seven in 10 Republicans opposed to it. Among unaffiliated voters, 60 percent support raising the minimum wage.

Single people supported it more than married people, and a majority of married men -- 53 percent -- opposed it.

Support for a minimum wage increase remains steady from a poll Magellan did back in 2014.

"The bottom line is Amendment 70 currently appears to be in a good position to pass this November," the firm reported.

Amendment 71: Raise the Bar

This amendment would make it harder to amend the Colorado constitution by requiring a 55 percent passage rate for amendments and by requiring that the signatures to place an amendment on the ballot represent 2 percent of the registered voters in each state Senate district. That means signatures would need to come from all over the state just to get on the ballot.

The rules for getting propositions on the ballot and passing them would stay the same. Propositions change state law, not the constitution.

Magellan found that a plurality of voters support the idea. Overall, 47 percent of respondents said they would vote yes and 38 percent said they would vote no, with 15 percent undecided. Republicans and unaffiliated voters showed stronger support, with 51 and 50 percent saying they would vote yes. Democrats were less supportive, tied at 39 percent for support or opposition and with 22 percent undecided.

Young voters, though, are a lot less likely to support this amendment, possibly because the idea of direct democracy has more appeal to them. Among those aged 18 to 34, 47 percent said they would vote no and 40 percent said they would vote yes. Another 18 percent are undecided.

Magellan said supporters of this measure are in a decent position, but it's no sure thing. Voter turnout will make a big difference due to the demographic differences in support.

"With support for the amendment being below 50%, and 15% of voters being undecided, the final outcome could really go either way," the firm reported. "Voter turnout could also play a large role in how this ballot question is decided. If Democrats and younger voters do not vote, Amendment 71 is more likely to pass. At the same time, if Republican voters do not turn out Amendment 71 is less likely to pass."

Proposition 107: Presidential primaries

This measure would bring back the presidential primary and open it to unaffiliated voters in place of the party-controlled caucuses and conventions used to express presidential preferences and choose delegates.

Unaffiliated voters really like this idea! Magellan found that 66 percent of them plan to vote yes. But 60 percent of Democrats also supported the idea. The opposition is concentrated among Republicans, only 39 percent of whom support it. That's a little surprising, as Republicans were the group that had the least say in choosing their presidential candidate this year after the party canceled its caucus.

Support is also very high among younger voters.

"Looking at the results by age range, the group most likely to support Proposition 107 is the group most likely to feel disenfranchised," Magellan reported. "Nearly half of voters aged 18 to 34 are registered as unaffiliated, and 69% of that voter subgroup intend approve the ballot measure."

Overall, 54 percent of respondents said they support a presidential primary, 36 percent oppose it and 10 percent are undecided.

You can dig into the polling data more here if that's your thing.

Assistant Editor Erica Meltzer can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/meltzere.

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