New Polling Shows Need for Colorado Candidates to Focus on Gun Safety in 2024
New Data Shows Giffords PAC’s Colorado Gun Safety Ads Helped Solidify Senator Bennet’s Victory
Denver, CO — Today, Giffords released new polling showing that preventing gun violence is a top concern for Colorado voters and has become a winning issue for candidates in the Centennial state. The data also shows Giffords PAC’s gun safety ads in Colorado attacking Republican Joe O’Dea’s ties to the gun lobby helped solidify Senator Michael Bennet’s re-election.
The research conducted by Global Strategy Group found that Giffords’ gun safety advertisements persuaded swing voters to ultimately turn out for Senator Bennet and stalled any progress Republican Senate Nominee Joe O’Dea could have made in the weeks leading up to the election. In addition, the data shows Colorado voters overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws, and Democrats must continue to focus on this issue heading into 2024.
READ THE POLLING HERE
Peter Ambler, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Giffords:
“The decisive reelection of gun-safety champion Senator Michael Bennet shows that candidates who refuse to support commonsense gun reforms will struggle to win statewide elections in Colorado for the foreseeable future. Coloradans want candidates who will stand up to the corporate gun lobby and support gun safety policies that save lives. Following the tragedy in Colorado Springs, we are reminded that far too many families have experienced the scourge of gun violence in Colorado and across the country. Giffords’ investments in Colorado paid off in this election and we will continue to look for opportunities to support candidates who are committed to keeping Colorado safe.”
Gun safety is top of mind for Colorado voters. Gun violence prevention was top of mind when Colorado voters went to the polls. Gun violence (73% important) is one of only a handful of issues tested that three-quarters of voters deemed important in this election. In fact, Colorado voters are more concerned about kids in their community returning home safely from school (54% concerned) than they are about being able to pay their bills (51% concerned).
Gun safety is a winning issue in Colorado. Colorado voters want stronger gun laws by a two-to-one margin (62% stronger/29% less strong). Additionally, half the electorate (50%) said they would never vote for a candidate who opposed common sense gun safety reforms like background checks.
Emphasizing gun violence helped Senator Bennet win re-election. The 40 percent of voters who said gun violence was extremely important to their vote overwhelmingly supported Bennet in the election for Senate (80% Bennet/20% O’Dea). Among soft supporters of Bennet—the 19 percent of voters who ultimately voted for him but did not have very favorable opinions of him nor very unfavorable opinions of his opponent O’Dea—gun violence (81% important) was even more important than taxes (67% important).
Giffords’s ads against Joe O’Dea broke through to voters and resonated.
During the summer, Giffords PAC spent $2.5 million showing two ads in the Denver metro ad market which informed voters of O’Dea’s extreme position on guns and his close ties to the gun lobby. This research shows Giffords’s message broke through and resonated. More voters heard attacks on O’Dea’s record on gun violence (52%) than they heard about health care (47%) or inflation (41%). Three in four voters reported knowing Joe O’Dea was on the side of the gun lobby. Those who heard the ads voted for Bennet at a rate of 64% to 36% and trusted Bennet more on crime at a rate of 61% to 39%.
Giffords PAC endorsed Senator Michael Bennet for reelection at the beginning of 2022 because of his record of comprehensive, bipartisan solutions to stop gun violence which included Bennet’s proud support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This bill which, was the most significant gun safety reform in 30 years, secured his longtime legislative priority of barring perpetrators of domestic violence from being able to access firearms. In March, Senator Bennet also voted to pass government funding legislation that reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act.
Colorado is home to one of the most active chapters in Gifford’s Gun Owners for Safety which held multiple roundtable events this cycle featuring Senator Michael Bennet and other prominent elected state officials. Colorado Gun Owners for Safety members have also been active on the state level, even testifying in front of the Colorado House Judiciary Committee in order to urge the passage of responsible gun laws.
Giffords PAC helped elect Senator John Hickenlooper in Colorado in 2020 by launching a $1.25 million ad campaign and hosting several joint campaign events criticizing then-Senator Cory Gardner’s cozy relationship with the NRA. In 2018, Giffords PAC helped elect Congressman Jason Crow by launching a $2 million ad campaign targeting then-Congressman Mike Coffman for refusing to stand up to the NRA.
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