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Polling shows local voter impressions of candidates, parks, newspapers 

Bad times, good times

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A majority of Colorado Springs 
voters are pessimistic about the direction in which the country is headed, but most are happier in their own backyard, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted for the Indy by Luce Research of Colorado Springs, showed that 52 percent of those polled said the country is going in the wrong direction, while 35.3 percent said it was headed in the right direction. The rest either had mixed feelings or didn’t know.

But asked about Colorado Springs, 52 percent of respondents said the city is on the right trajectory, while 30.4 percent said the city is on the wrong track.

Luce conducted the poll from Feb. 15 to 19 and surveyed 500 voters likely to cast ballots in the upcoming municipal election: those who voted in at least one of the last two city elections and also in 2018, or new registrants since the November election. The sample aligned with voter registration by the two major parties and those who are unaffiliated, and was reflective of a typical likely voter here.

Given that most of those polled were upbeat about the city, it’s not surprising that Mayor John Suthers polled the highest among four mayoral contenders in the April 2 city election.

Suthers was the choice of 50.8 percent of those polled, while 35.4 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

Other candidates and the percent who favored each are Juliette Parker, 5.2 percent; Lawrence Martinez, 4.2 percent; and John Pitchford, 1 percent, which was less than “someone else,” which tabulated at 1.8 percent.

In terms of favorability, 47.8 percent of respondents view City Council as a whole with favor, while just 24.4 percent were sour on Council. The rest of those polled weren’t sure or didn’t know.

Luce Research also asked the voter pool about a potential ballot measure that would require a vote of the people to sell or trade city parks and open spaces. The idea of such a measure arose after Suthers and Council traded Strawberry Fields open space in North Cheyenne Cañon in 2016 to The Broadmoor in exchange for wilderness acreage and trail easements.

Nearly 80 percent of those polled said they would definitely or probably support such a measure, while 18 percent said they wouldn’t. Only 2 percent were unsure.

The Protect Our Parks measure, proposed by Save Cheyenne, a nonprofit created to oppose the Strawberry Fields land swap, might appear on the November general election ballot.

Save Cheyenne’s attempt to have it referred to the April 2 ballot by Council failed after councilors said the issue needs more study, citing City Attorney Wynetta Massey’s legal opinion noting what she deemed as confusing language in the measure.

Supporters are discussing trying to petition the measure onto the ballot in November, the same election at which Suthers plans to ask voters permission to extend the city’s road tax, known as 2C.

In the aftermath of the November election, in which voters elected Democrats to every statewide seat, as well as majorities in both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly, local voters haven’t warmed up much to Gov. Jared Polis.

In staunchly Republican El Paso County, Polis drew 39.5 percent of the vote in November, while 56.1 percent voted for State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

Asked by pollsters whether they have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Polis, 43 percent gave him a thumbs up while 39.2 had an unfavorable view of him. The remainder either hadn’t heard of him (3.2 percent), weren’t sure (14.2 percent) or didn’t know (.4 percent).

When it comes to hometown publications, both the Gazette and Independent had strong followings, with 53.4 percent reporting they view the daily newspaper favorably, while 45.2 
percent did the same for the Indy.

Fewer of those polled have a negative impression of the Indy — 21.2 percent view the weekly with disfavor — compared to the 31.8 percent who gave the Gazette an unfavorable rating.

The poll had a 4- to 4.5-percent margin of error.

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