Survey: Coloradans split on Trump’s performance, find common ground on DACA

Sen. Cory Gardner’s approval rating took a steep dive, according to the survey, and most Coloradans want dreamers to be able to stay in the country.
4 min. read
The Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition holds a short vigil outside Senator Michael Bennet’s office in Capitol Hill asking for a “clean” DREAM Act bill, Dec. 8, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; immigration; protest; daca; circ; colorado immigrants rights coalition; denverite; capitol hill;

The Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition holds a short vigil outside Senator Michael Bennet's office in Capitol Hill asking for a "clean" DREAM Act bill, Dec. 8, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Republicans and Democrats in Colorado will tell you drastically different stories about how President Donald Trump is managing in his new job as the leader of the free world.

The second annual Colorado Political Climate Survey released Thursday shows 79 percent of Republicans in the state approved of Trump's performance during his first year in office. Ninety-five percent of Democrats, on the other side of the ideological aisle, disapproved of the current White House.

Altogether, about a third of Coloradans (34 percent) approved of Trump's job performance in 2017 — down from the 57 percent approval rating state residents gave President Barack Obama during his last year in office.

The new survey from the University of Colorado quantifies what many residents are hearing: Coloradans across the board are losing confidence in lawmakers in Washington D.C. The dissatisfaction comes even as a majority of people here hold out hope for protections for the environment and immigrants who came into the United States illegally as children.

“Not surprisingly, people in Colorado are unhappy with the state of politics right now, and it is affecting how they view lawmakers and policy issues at the local level,” said Scott Adler, CU political science professor and lab director, in a statement.

At a glance
  • President Donald Trump — 34 percent approval rating, down from 57 percent for President Brack Obama in 2016.
  • U.S. Congress — 14 percent approval rating, down from 26 percent in 2016.
  • U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet  — 44 percent approval rating, down from 53 percent in 2016.
  • U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner — 25 percent approval rating, down from 43 percent in 2016.
  • Colorado State Legislature — 43 percent approval rating, down from 51 percent in 2016.
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper — 53 percent approval rating, down from 57 percent in 2016.

Gov. Hickenlooper saw a slight dip in his approval rating, but a majority  (53 percent) of Coloradans approved of the Democrat's work in 2017. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (25 percent) and Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet (44 percent) were not so lucky.

“Gardner saw the biggest change in job approval among statewide elected officials,” the report states. “Not only is Gardner’s overall approval rating very low among Democrats (12 percent) as we might expect, but he scores quite poorly among independents (23 percent) and lacks majority approval among Republicans (46 percent).”

CU Boulder launched its Colorado Political Climate Survey in 2016 to provide nonpartisan research, education and public engagement about American politics. The survey was administered online to more than 800 demographically diverse residents in November.

Researchers found residents split on hot-topic issues like the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, commonly known as TABOR, gun control, and healthcare. However, 71 percent of residents (including 52 percent of Republicans) said they favor allowing undocumented residents who came to the country as children to stay in the country via policies like those offered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“With the current national debate on immigration, I think it is important to note that a majority of all partisans — Democrats, independents and Republicans — support allowing Dreamers to remain in the United States,” said Carey Stapleton, a fourth-year Ph.D. student who helped develop the survey.

Another survey released Thursday by Colorado College shows 75 percent of Coloradans consider themselves conservationists and/or outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

The 2018 Conservation in the West Poll surveyed 400 registered voters in each of eight continental Western states from Nevada to Colorado for a total 3,200-person sample. The survey was conducted in late December and early January.

The polls shows 73 percent of Coloradans oppose eliminating protections
for national monuments. Sixty-eight percent of residents said that the Trump administration should place more emphasis on ensuring we protect sources of clean water, our air quality and wildlife habitat while providing opportunities to visit and recreate on our national public lands.

Most Coloradans (55 percent) disapprove of the way the Trump administration is handling issues related to land, water and wildlife so far, according to the survey.

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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