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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Report Analyzes Successful Campaign to Defeat Colorado’s Anti-Equal Opportunity Ballot Measure

December 17, 2010 - Posted by The Leadership Conference

The University of Colorado at Boulder recently released a report analyzing the key factors that led to the defeat (49 percent – 51 percent) of Amendment 46, a ballot initiative that would have amended the Colorado state constitution to ban equal opportunity in public higher education, employment and contracting in 2008.

"Investigating the Defeat of Colorado’s Amendment 46: An Analysis of the Trends and Principal Factors Influencing Voter Behaviors'" analysis and key findings are based on a survey of Colorado voters, in-depth interviews with proponents and opponents of Amendment 46, and an analysis of media coverage. 

The report states:

"Our analyses suggest that Coloradans overwhelmingly intended to support affirmative action on Election Day; arguably, were Amendment 46 a clearly worded referendum on attitudes toward affirmative action, it would have failed by a much wider margin: 66 to 34 percent."

The report found that:

  • Few voters knew what Amendment 46 would actually do;
  • Voters who followed Amendment 46 in the media were more likely to oppose it;
  • Opponents of Amendment 46 were effective at communicating that Amendment 46 would diminish equal opportunity for people who were underrepresented in public higher education, employment and contracting; and
  • The proposed alternative ballot initiatives in support of equal opportunity contributed to Amendment 46’s defeat.

Colorado was the first state to reject a ballot initiative proposed by California businessman Ward Connerly to eliminate equal opportunity in public higher education, employment and contracting.  California, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska are the four states that have passed an anti-equal opportunity ballot initiative.

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