Polling on the November 2016 roads ballot initiative

Boulder County has run two rounds of polling on the road paving initiative that will be on the November ballot. All polling involved statistically significant sampling of all Boulder County residents, including residents from each city and the unincorporated County in proportion to their population.

The measure actually on the November ballot contains the following provisions:

  • Would repair all unincorporated County subdivision public paved roads over a 15-year period
  • Would provide an estimated $35 million to the cities in Boulder County to address their road maintenance needs
  • Would cost $6.25 per $100,000 of residential property value per year
  • Would expire after 15 years

This exact measure was not polled, but two very similar measures were polled.

In December 2015, voters were asked whether they would support the following hypothetical ballot initiative:

Shall Boulder County property taxes be increased by one percent, in order to raise five million dollars per year for purposes of paying for the reconstruction of local subdivision roads in unincorporated Boulder County? If approved, this proposal will increase the property tax by about $25 dollars on a $400,000 home.

Note that this measure would have only addressed subdivision roads, not city roads. Despite that shortcoming, 52% of voters expressed support, with 35% against:

Polling was again conducted in June 2016 regarding a slightly different possible initiative:

Shall Boulder County property taxes be increased by two percent (2%), for a period of fifteen years, in order to raise ten million dollars per year for purposes of paying for road and bridge projects within the cities located in Boulder County, as well as the reconstruction of subdivision roads in unincorporated Boulder County. If approved, this proposal will increase the property tax by about fifty dollars on the average four hundred thousand dollar home.

This question includes the funding of road and bridge projects in the cities, but at double the cost. Even though this measure would have cost voters double what the actual November ballot measure will cost, it garnered 49% support, with 44% against:

So a majority or plurality of voters supported each of these measures, and the measure on the November ballot has advantages relative to each of these polled measures.

Other variants (a sales tax instead of a property tax, a permanent tax instead of a 15-year tax) were polled and received less favorable results, so they weren't pursued further.

In both polls, the level of support from unincorporated County residents was statistically identical to that of city residents in aggregate.

If you would like to dive into this topic in more detail, the poll results are avilable on Boulder County's Public Opinion page.