Colorado recalls: voter polling that matters


by Dan Lucas

There was some shoddy journalism in The Oregonian and Statesman Journal earlier this week that allowed a very partisan gun background check poll to be passed along without revealing the partisan nature of the polling firm or the partisan nature of the organization that commissioned the poll.

Part of that poll was aimed at trying to intimidate members of the Oregon Legislature, with this question “If the state legislators who represent you oppose the background checks bill, will you be more or less likely to vote for them in the 2014 election, or does it not make a difference either way?”

If Oregon legislators want some real-world voter polling on gun control, they should look to the recent recall elections in Colorado.

The same partisan firm that conducted the recent Oregon poll, Public Policy Polling (PPP), also conducted a poll in Colorado last month, in December 2013. The Colorado poll said that 73% of Colorado voters supported “requiring background checks for all gun buyers.”

And yet, just a few months earlier in September, Colorado voters recalled two Democratic senators who had voted for unpopular gun control measures – including “universal background checks”. They were the first state lawmakers in Colorado state history to ever be recalled, and one of the Democratic senators recalled was the Senate President. Both were replaced by Republicans.

The two were recalled despite being from overwhelmingly Democratic districts and despite Democrats outspending Republicans by more than 5-to-1 in the recall elections.

Then last November, a third Democratic Colorado state senator resigned to avoid a recall election for her anti-gun votes. Her resignation allowed Democrats to hang on to the seat – a Republican win in the recall election would have given Republicans control of the Colorado Senate.

How’s that for voter polling?

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