Colorado Affordable Housing Voter Opinion Survey

Survey Objectives and Methodology:

The objectives of this survey were to measure and understand voter opinion regarding affordable housing, what it is and who it is for, and viewpoints of government involvement to address this problem. There are also questions measuring voter opinion of rent control policies, renter assistance, and regulation requiring developers to dedicate a percentage of residential units as “affordable housing.”  

This survey interviewed 508 Colorado registered voters. Survey data collection was conducted by sending a text invitation to a random sample of registered voters. The interviews were conducted from March 30th to April 2nd, 2021. This survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence interval. The survey data were weighted to be representative of the demographics of the registered voter population in Colorado.

Summary of Findings:

Affordable housing could be considered a crisis in Colorado. Among all respondents, 57% say affordable housing is a big problem in their community, and 73% say the cost of housing is unaffordable.  The following shows responses by voter subgroup.

Respondents provided a wide range of descriptions of what affordable housing means to them. Many consider affordable housing in terms of a percentage of a person’s (or family’s) income. Another common theme mentioned was affordable housing should be available to everyone. Other responses touched on the idea that housing used to be affordable in their community but no longer is. The following slide shows a sample of responses to an open-ended question.

As for ideas about what local government should do to address the problems and challenges of affordable housing, respondents suggested several ideas. However, the most common response focused on increasing the stock of affordable housing while also making government assistance or incentives available for those who want to buy a home or who need help to make rent.

Sixty-one percent of respondents think the government should be more involved in housing, while 27% believe government should not be involved.

There is broad voter support for the housing policies tested in this survey. This includes requiring a percentage of new housing units to be designated as affordable – 69% support.  A policy requiring 20% of housing units for individuals and families with household incomes of $50,000 or less – 69% support. Sixty-eight percent of voters support rent control, and 79% support mortgage and rent assistance due to COVID-19.

Conclusion

This survey of registered voters identifies affordable housing as a severe problem facing individual families and communities across Colorado. Substantial majorities say affordable housing is a big problem (57%), and 73% say housing is unaffordable. These sentiments are motivating voters to support more government action to address the problem. This includes support for rent control (68% total support/47% strongly support) and requiring developers to have a percentage of new units designated as “affordable’ (69% support/51% strongly support). It will be interesting to see if some of these policies become law in the future.      

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