Denver uncertain on mayor's homeless plan, poll shows
Denver's new mayor needs to become a better salesman.
Driving the news: Most Denver voters are unconvinced about Mike Johnston's plan to address rising rates of homelessness, even as he personally received strong marks after a month in office, a new independent poll found.
Why it matters: This is the first detailed public survey since Johnston took office — offering an early take on his tenure and setting the benchmark for his next four years.
State of play: A majority of voters considered homelessness the most pressing issue for the new administration, followed by housing affordability. Johnston made both his campaign priorities, declaring a state of emergency and pledging to end homelessness within his first term.
- So far, voters remain unconvinced — 34% support his plans, while 20% disapprove, the poll found. The plurality at 46% is unsure.
The big picture: The survey confirmed that Denver is at a crossroads, with an even number of voters considering the city on the right track or heading in the wrong direction.
- Less than half of voters said they are likely to recommend the city to a friend.
- A plurality at 45% were pessimistic about downtown's recovery from the pandemic.
- 22% viewed him unfavorably, and 32% are unsure.
Between the lines: The poll of likely 2024 election voters was conducted Aug. 17-18 by Republican firm Cygnal and Democratic Aspect Strategic on behalf of the new nonprofit research outfit, Colorado Polling Institute.
- The margin of error was plus-or-minus 4.7 percentage points.
What they're saying: "As we saw in polling during the mayoral election earlier this year, Denverites are strongly in favor of forcefully addressing the homelessness issue," pollster Brent Buchanan of Cygnal said in a statement.
- "The fact that homelessness is still the top issue by far could be the reason voters are pessimistic about the progress being made on downtown Denver's recovery."
Zoom in: The concern about cost of living in the city is stark in the survey. 83% said they are experiencing financial strain because of the cost of housing with 40% labeling it "significant."
On other current issues, Denver voters overwhelmingly supported limiting the city's elected officials to two terms, instead of the current three-term cap.
- The poll also found 2-to-1 support for ranked-choice voting at the city level, though a significant portion remained uncertain.
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