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For Purple People’s Majesty

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SurveyUSA recently polled on the issue of government wiretapping, and as Democracy in Progress notes, Colorado had the highest percentage of responders (of any state that voted for President Bush in 2004) who believe that Bush broke the law in authorizing wire taps. Only Ohio matches the 42% of Colorado responders who believe that Bush broke the law. The Colorado poll results from SurveyUSA:

Based on what you know about the government wiretapping of certain phone calls, is it clear that President Bush obeyed the law? Is it clear that President Bush broke the law? Is it not clear? Or, are you unfamiliar with the matter?

Obeyed the Law: 31%
Broke the Law: 42%
Not Clear: 23%
Unfamiliar: 4%

Colorado responders also disapprove of President Bush in general (again, among states that voted Bush in 2004) at a higher rate than all but three Bush states in the latest SurveyUSA approval ratings poll, so there is obviously some cross-pollination there in regards to people who probably just don’t approve of anything Bush does.

But what does it mean that Coloradoans are more skeptical of wiretapping than people in other states? I tend to agree with the premise put forth over at Democracy in Progress that this probably says a lot about the general opinion of Coloradoans and their beliefs about government interference in their daily lives. I find it telling that only 4 percent of responders in Colorado are “not clear” about the question, which also indicates that there are some strongly-held beliefs on the topic.

It has frequently been said since the 2004 elections that Colorado is a “purple state” (both “red” and “blue”) since we voted for President Bush and also for a Democrat in the U.S. Senate race (Ken Salazar) while giving control of the state legislature to Democrats. It has also long been said that Colorado is a Libertarian state, which in a nutshell means that Coloradoans are generally socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I think that is probably true; Republicans generally have an easier time getting elected in Colorado until they focus more of their campaigns and messages on extreme conservative social positions. Colorado is a pro-choice state and polls about 50/50 on the issue of gay rights, which lends credence to the “socially liberal” label, while also being a state with one of the lowest tax rates in the country.

The latest SurveyUSA poll on wiretapping is indicative of a Libertarian lean in Colorado, because one of the primary tenets of that line of thought is for local control and less government interference. The fact that so many people think President Bush violated the law, while so few were “not clear” on the topic, only adds credence to the idea that Colorado really does exhibit that purplish hue immortalized in “America the Beautiful.”

(h/t to Colorado Lib for the link to the original story)

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