DENVER (KDVR) — FOX31 continues to work through the latest findings in the latest FOX31 / Channel 2 / Emerson College Polling / The Hill Colorado poll, which was conducted Oct. 26-29.
Looking at what voters in Colorado say are the most concerning issues heading into election night Tuesday, it’s no surprise that the economy is on the minds of most voters. Nearly 39% of voters surveyed said so, but the issue right behind that is a concern that was not even mentioned in the previous poll.
Of the voters who took part in the survey, 18% said they are concerned about democracy in some form or fashion.
“I wasn’t surprised about the economy. We’ve been talking about that being an issue that voters are going to be concerned about in 2022,” said Robert Preuhs, chair of political science at Metropolitan State University Denver. “But that threat to democracy number was high, particularly given conversations about abortion issues, conversations about healthcare, education and some of the usual top issues.”
In a year when Roe v. Wade was overturned, Colorado voters said they are more worried about threats to democracy. Experts said the term can mean different things to different people.
“On the Democratic side, some voters are going to be thinking about political violence, attempts to overturn election results. We see January 6th — the insurrection — or attacks on Paul Pelosi or things like that,” said Phil Chen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Denver.
Election clerks forced to retool after 2016
There are also unsubstantiated threats to democracy that some voters are worried about, but clerks said they should not be.
“People who have lost elections on both sides of the aisle have complained about fraud and they lost because of fraud, forever and ever. That’s not new,” said Matt Crane, executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association. “But what is new is the well-concerted, well-organized, well-funded manner in which these efforts are going on, still trying to say that President Trump, that the election was stolen from him in 2020. So there’s been so many lies.”
Rhetoric about elections remains a concern for many too, especially after vote-by-mail systems became a topic of contention. That’s something clerks said they have had to work to combat.
“Not only do they have to worry about the blocking and tackling of elections — setting up polling places, making sure the systems are functioning properly and securely,” Crane said. “After ’16, they had to become cyber experts. After ’20, they had to become physical security experts and communication experts. One of the biggest things we saw after 2020 is how precise we have to be with our communication.”
Experts said clear communication is key to stopping some of these threats so bad actors cannot misconstrue words. President Joe Biden had a public address on threats to democracy Wednesday evening ahead of next week’s elections.