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Publish Date: 10/21/2006

Coloradans distrust state government, pollster reports


DENVER — Coloradans considered likely to cast votes in this fall’s election contests have a low level of confidence in state government, pollster Floyd Ciruli reports.

But Gov. Bill Owens, who is completing his eighth and final year in office, continues to score high approval ratings from those same voters, Ciruli said.

In Ciruli Associates’ recent statewide survey of 500 likely voters, Coloradans were asked how much of the time they can trust state government “to do what is right.”

Fifty-seven percent of those polled in the Sept. 26-Oct. 2 survey said they trust state government only “some of the time.” Five percent said “none of the time.”

Only 32 percent of those surveyed said they trusted state government “most of the time,” while 3 percent said they “almost always” trusted the state to do what’s right. Two percent said they did not know or refused to answer the question.

Ciruli also reported that Coloradans are skeptical about their state government’s fiscal efficiency.

Thirty-seven percent of those polled said state government wastes “a lot” of their tax money. Another 50 percent said the state wastes “some” of their tax dollars, and 9 percent answered that the state does not waste much.

When asked to rate levels of government, voters polled gave local governments the most favorable ratings:

Sixty-three percent said they had “very” or “somewhat” favorable impressions of their municipal governments.

Sixty percent had favorable impressions of their county governments.

Fifty-seven percent had favorable impressions of their school districts.

Fifty-five percent had favorable impressions of the state Legislature.

Fifty-two percent had favorable impressions of the state’s court system.

Fifty-one percent had generally favorable impressions of the governor’s office and administration.

On the other hand, a separate poll question found that Owens is completing his final year in office with 60 percent of those surveyed saying they approve of the way he’s handling his job.

Ciruli called that “a strong finish” to the governor’s eight-year tenure.

“Owens’ approval rating has remained relatively stable during his term,” the pollster said.

But Ciruli added that the GOP governor’s favorable job-performance grades from the people polled “does not reflect his party’s fortunes, which have declined mightily since the 2004 election.”

Ciruli noted that two years ago, Republicans lost control of both houses of the Legislature for the first time in more than four decades, as well as losing a U.S. Senate seat and a U.S. House seat to Democratic candidates.

“Current polling shows Republicans are behind in their races to retain the governorship and the very competitive 7th Congressional District,” Ciruli said in an Oct. 11 analysis of his firm’s latest polling results.

“Hence, Owens may leave office with personal popularity and a policy legacy, but with his party in tatters,” Ciruli wrote.

John Fryar can be reached by e-mail at jfryar@times-call.com.

 
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