Original URL:  http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/election/article/0,1299,DRMN_36_1504096,00.html

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 points.

"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 them."

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.


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