Colorado Springs has never been in lockstep with the nation. And it certainly isn't now.
In a poll commissioned by the Independent and conducted by Luce Research, active local voters were asked about national issues like health care, the economy, Afghanistan and President Barack Obama's eligibility for the presidency. On all issues, Springs residents showed themselves to be markedly more conservative than Americans at large.
"I think your poll has shown that Colorado's most Republican county remains Colorado's most Republican county," Colorado College political science professor Bob Loevy says. "You didn't say one thing there that I wouldn't have expected from this county."
The poll, conducted from Oct. 13 through Oct. 18, surveyed 400 voters representative of the community at large in terms of gender and age. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the findings will differ by no more than 4.9 percent in either direction from the results we would have gotten had every eligible Colorado Springs voter been surveyed, according to Todd Luce.
Here's a look at some results:
• Afghanistan: In a September poll by the New York Times and CBS News, 44 percent of Americans said they approved of the president's handling of the situation in Afghanistan, while 35 percent disapproved. Springs voters are slightly more gung ho about the war, with 48.8 percent of local voters saying they favor sending more troops into Afghanistan, while just 34.7 percent oppose the idea. Men were more supportive of the plan than women.
• Birthers: A July poll sponsored by dailykos.com and performed by Research 2000 found that 77 percent of Americans thought Obama was born in the U.S., while 11 percent did not and 12 percent were unsure. Republicans and Southerners were most likely to respond negatively, with 58 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Southerners saying "no" or "not sure" when asked if the president was born in America. In the Springs, 22.2 percent of voters answered "no" — meaning they buy into the "birther" theory — with another 17.9 percent unsure, adding up to 40.1 percent of all voters regardless of party.
• Economy: In the New York Times/CBS poll, regardless of how they usually voted, 53 percent of Americans thought Obama was more likely than congressional Republicans to make the right choices for the nation's economy, while 27 percent thought the opposite. But in the Springs, the vote was about split; 34.3 percent believed in Obama, while 39.4 percent trusted the Republicans. About 76 percent of local birthers sided with the Republicans.
• Health care: The same national poll found that 65 percent of Americans would favor offering everyone a government-administered health care plan similar to Medicare that would compete with the private insurance industry. Only 26 percent opposed the idea. In Colorado Springs, just 39.4 percent of city voters favored that idea, while 47.7 percent opposed it. In the city, the younger you were, the more likely you were to favor a government health plan. Women were more likely than men to approve. Birthers and people over age 65 (the latter whom, ironically, are eligible for government-sponsored Medicare) were the least likely to approve.