Amendment 31 is losing support
By Michele Ames, Rocky Mountain News
October 25, 2002
Backers of a proposed amendment to curtail bilingual education in Colorado are
losing ground, according to new polling results.
For the first time since Amendment 31 made the November ballot, opponents
outnumber proponents. A Rocky Mountain News/News4 poll found 42 percent favor
the amendment and 49 percent oppose it.
The poll of 501 registered voters also looked at the four other ballot
initiatives. It was conducted by Talmey-Drake Research & Strategy Inc. between
Oct. 22 and Oct. 24 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage
"Amendment 31 isn't dead yet, but it looks like it's dying," said Boulder-based
pollster Paul Talmey.
That's just what opponents of the measure want to hear. The English Plus
opposition campaign has put on a heavy advertising campaign financed by a $3
million contribution from heiress Pat Stryker.
"I think voters are beginning to take this ballot issue in and reject it," said
John Britz, spokesman for the opposition. "We've always said the more you learn
about this ballot issue the more you dislike it."
But Ron Unz, the wealthy California businessman backing the amendment, said he's
confident the English for the Children
campaign's radio ads, which started this week, will help make up ground.
The spots feature former Colorado Gov. Dick Lamm, who helped start bilingual
education in the state, urging voters to pass the initiative.
"The 'no' campaign is spending more money on television advertising than anyone
has ever spent in the history of Colorado campaigns," Unz said.
Another high-profile initiative, Amendment 27, dealing with campaign finance,
continues to gain support. Poll results show 63 percent in favor, 23 percent
opposed, and 11 percent undecided.
The amendment would limit the amount of money individuals can contribute to
candidates, and would bar union and corporate donations. It also would mandate
that so-called education committees be required to report who contributes and
how the group spends its money.
"Coloradans surely realize that our political system is corrupted through and
through with big money, and they know it's time to make a change," said Pete
Maysmith, executive director of Colorado Common Cause.
But opponents of Amendment 27 and the three other election-related initiatives
argue the system is not broken. Jon Caldera, spokesman for Citizens for Honest
Elections, said he's encouraged by the new poll numbers.
"These amendments range from bad to downright dangerous," Caldera said. "As
people take a closer look at these feel-good initiatives they'll start rejecting
Those polled don't seem to be rejecting Amendment 28, a proposal to move
Colorado to mail balloting. About 52 percent questioned support it and 34
percent oppose it, with 10 percent undecided.
The two other election-related ballot initiatives are much closer. Amendment 29,
which would do away with party caucuses, is opposed by 42 percent polled and
supported by 38 percent. Amendment 30, which would allow individuals to both
register and vote on election day, is favored by 48 percent of those polled and
opposed by 45 percent.