For interview opportunities with members of The Colorado Health Foundation, the research team and/or representatives from partner organizations and Colorado residents directly impacted by the topics covered in the 2022 Pulse Poll, please contact:
Marty Schechter, firstname.lastname@example.org, (303) 882-4585
DENVER, COLORADO – While the increasing cost of living and cost of housing topped the list of Coloradans’ concerns, followed closely by issues related to health and well-being, there is no shortage of concerns keeping people up at night. In 2022, the third year of conducting the Pulse Poll, The Colorado Health Foundation’s (CHF) bipartisan team of researchers talked to 2,985 Coloradans during the month of April and learned about the issues that are top of mind for people across the state. According to findings from Pulse, people in Colorado have important concerns about COVID-19, jobs and the Great Resignation, wildfires, climate change, crime and policing.
"It isn't just one thing that is raising concerns for Coloradans. It isn't just COVID, or just jobs, it is the overwhelming number of concerns that people have right now,” said Lori Weigel, Republican pollster for Pulse and principal of New Bridge Strategy. “When we asked Colorado voters to tell us which issues will be important in deciding how they will vote in November, certainly economic concerns rose to the top – jobs, cost of living and housing affordability. However, nearly as high were concerns about climate change, drought and fires, health care and crime, as well as political extremism. Coloradans are looking for answers on a huge range of issues from their political leaders."
Beyond increasing costs and health: what else is on the minds of people in Colorado?
As expected, in both 2020 and 2021, concerns about COVID-19 were dominant in the minds of Coloradans as the health and economic impacts of the pandemic were new and being acutely felt. In 2022, that concern has decreased significantly with only one-quarter (24%) of Coloradans considering the spread of new COVID-19 variants to be an extremely or very serious problem. People of color and people living on low incomes (under $50,000 annually), who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, are more likely to say new variants are a problem at 33% and 30%, respectively. Almost four-in-10 (39%) Democrats are concerned about new variants compared to 21% of Independents and only 7% of Republicans.
A majority of people in Colorado (53%) are confident that the state is well-prepared to minimize the health and economic impacts of a future pandemic like COVID-19. Confidence is higher among people over 65 (59%) and people with household incomes over $100,000 (59%). Confidence is lower among people who are financially insecure: of Coloradans who say their financial situation is worse off, 41% are confident in the state’s preparation for another pandemic.
Jobs, the economy and the Great Resignation
In August 2020, as the state cited high unemployment and struggling small businesses, 63% of Coloradans expressed concern about jobs and the economy. In April 2022, the number of Coloradans concerned fell to 49%, far below many of the highest-ranked issues. One-quarter (25%) of Coloradans say they’re worried that they might not be employed in the next year; of those respondents, two-thirds (66%) consider jobs and the economy to be an extremely or very serious problem in the state.
The Great Resignation is present in Colorado with many of the state’s residents reporting changes at work. The personal impact of these concerns is felt differently for people at different levels of income. Nearly half (49%) of respondents with household incomes of more than $100k received a pay raise or promotion in the last year. Meanwhile, 30% of people living on low incomes, below $50k, have had work hours cut back or wages reduced.
Some Coloradans have faced hardship in employment over the last year:
- 7% have been laid off, down from 13% in 2020.
- 22% have had work hours cut back or wages reduced, down from 31% in 2020.
- People living on low incomes are most likely to experience challenges with 12% saying they’ve been laid off and 30% saying they’ve lost hours or wages.
Meanwhile, many Coloradans have tried to improve their employment status in the last year, as employers aim to respond to the Great Resignation:
- 36% have actively looked for a different job, including 62% of young people aged 18-29.
- 12% decided to leave a job without a new one, including one-quarter (25%) of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.
- 37% have received a pay raise or a promotion, including 56% of those who are employed full time.
“While concern about the cost of living is high for all Coloradans, regardless of income, the impact of today’s economy is felt very differently by more- and less-affluent households,” said Dave Metz, Democratic pollster for Pulse and president of FM3 Research. “Those at the top of the income scale still see opportunity: they are much less worried about facing unemployment, and are three times as likely to have had a pay raise or promotion as to have had their hours or wages cut. In contrast, Coloradans in lower-income households confront economic hardships: they are more than twice as likely to have had their wages or hours cut as to have received a raise or promotion.”
More than four-in-10 (43%) Coloradans of color have actively looked for a different job in the last 12 months – but whether or not they find new employment isn’t the only concern for many. More than 30% of people of color in Colorado say they or someone they know have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity while seeking employment. That includes 24% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 34% of Black Coloradans, 33% of Latinos, 51% of Native Americans and 40% of multiracial respondents.
Wildfires and climate
For two years now, a majority (53%) of Coloradans have said that climate change is a serious problem in the state. It’s a top issue for people aged 18 to 29 years old (63%) and people of color (60%), especially Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (73%) and Native Americans (66%).
In 2022, for the first time, Pulse specifically asked Coloradans about wildfires and other natural disasters, and their concerns are significant. Sixty-eight percent of respondents say that wildfires are an extremely or very serious problem in the state, and this belief is shared consistently statewide:
These problems do take on a partisan hue. While a majority of Democrats (82%) and Independents (57%) think climate change is a very serious problem, only 13% of Republicans share the belief. The difference is less pronounced – but still present – for wildfires and other natural disasters: 86% of Democrats and 71% of Independents consider them a very serious problem compared to 49% of Republicans.
Crime and policing
Lately, there has been much talk about crime by policymakers in our state, but when asked about the most important issue facing Colorado, only 7% of Coloradans talked about crime or public safety – a sign that it isn’t high on their lists of concerns. That said, when asked about whether they thought crime was a problem, 57% of Pulse respondents considered it an extremely or very serious problem – up from 41% in 2021. While the belief that crime is a serious problem is held by majorities of Coloradans across race and income, older people (age 65 and above) were the most likely to say crime is an extremely or very serious problem at 75%.
As worries about crime have increased, many Coloradans are expressing concern about police violence and misconduct, complicating the question of how to address the issue of crime. Three-in-10 Coloradans say police violence and misconduct is an extremely or very serious problem. A majority of Black Coloradans (68%) and Native Americans (also 68%) consider police misconduct to be a serious problem – up from 2021, where 43% of Black Coloradans and 50% of Native Americans said it was an issue.
Concern about police violence and misconduct may be linked to personal experiences with law enforcement. Almost three-in-10 Coloradans (29%) say that they or someone they know has experienced unfair treatment as a result of their race or ethnicity when interacting with law enforcement. These numbers increase dramatically for people of color (37%), especially Native Americans (62%), Black Coloradans (48%) and Latinos (36%). Of those who have experienced unfair treatment by law enforcement, a majority – 59% – say that police violence and misconduct is an extremely or very serious problem.
“Coloradans have a lot on their minds, and they want policymakers to take action to address their concerns,” said Jace Woodrum, senior officer of public opinion insights for The Colorado Health Foundation. “With deep analysis of the data, we can understand the priorities of Coloradans from every corner of the state, including the perspectives of people of color and people living on low incomes. We hope our elected officials use this year’s findings to create and enhance policies, practices and programs that bring health in reach for all of our residents.”
Register for Pulse briefings
The Colorado Health Foundation will host two briefings to share detailed data about the challenges that Coloradans are facing, the impact of those challenges and the types of solutions that people want to see prioritized by policymakers.
- Pulse Briefing in English: Wednesday, June 22, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
- Pulse Briefing in Spanish: Thursday, June 23, 11:00 - 12:30 p.m.
Pulse 2022 has been released in phases. The first briefing focused on the data around the cost of living and housing affordability; the recording of the briefing is available here. The second briefing focused on the data around health and well-being; the recording of the briefing is available here.
Resources available for download
The Colorado Health Foundation is committed to transparency, including access to the full results of Pulse. These resources are available in both English and Spanish and include:
- Questionnaire with topline results (English | Spanish)
- Cross-tabs with data on how different sub-groups answered each question (English | Spanish)
- Presentation deck with easy-to-read charts and graphs (English | Spanish coming soon)
At The Colorado Health Foundation, we believe in the importance of listening, and that’s why each year we listen to Coloradans from across the state through our annual poll. From the increasing cost of living and lack of affordable housing, to health care and mental well-being, our poll takes the pulse of Coloradans on a range of important issues this year and every year – to inform policy that advances health equity. For more information, visit www.copulsepoll.org.
The 2022 Pulse Poll was conducted by telephone and online from April 5-26, 2022 among a random representative sample of 2,985 adults age 18 and older living in Colorado. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/-2.2% at the 95% confidence interval. For results based on sub-groups, the margin of sampling error is higher.
About The Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization bringing health in reach for all Coloradans by engaging closely with communities across the state through investing, policy advocacy and research. For more information, visit www.coloradohealth.org.
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