Elections, Gold Dome

Internal poll shows lead for 'real beer in grocery stores' initiative

File photo - Todd Shepherd
File photo – Todd Shepherd

An internal poll obtained by Complete Colorado, and commissioned by supporters of an effort to allow real beer and wine to be sold in local grocery stores in Colorado, shows voters significantly in favor of changing Colorado’s liquor laws. The poll, conducted February 23rd and 24th by Magellan Strategies, shows supporters of the reform holding a healthy 14-point lead.

The poll surveyed 704 likely voters, reaching respondents via land line and cell phone, with a margin of error of +/- 3.69%.

The issue of selling real beer and wine in grocery stores has long been a hot topic in Colorado politics, with liquor store lobbyists able to beat back multiple attempts at changing the law through the legislature in recent years. Currently, grocery stores are only allowed to sell 3.2% beer, or near beer, while liquor stores have a monopoly over full-strength beer, wine and liquor. Colorado remains one of only eight states in the country that currently prohibits the sale of either full-strength beer or wine to be sold in grocery stores.

Up until now there has been no public polling nor private polling released on the issue.

Critics of the proposed change to Colorado’s liquor laws contend opening up the beer and wine market to grocery stores will lead to the loss of jobs in the liquor store industry. A recent DU study commissioned by proponents challenges that claim, finding that reforming Colorado’s liquor laws would instead create 22,000 jobs and save the average family $750 over three years, due to lower prices, more sales at grocery stores, and the time saved from the convenience of one-stop shopping.

According to the poll there appears to be slight gender gap in support, with women seven points more likely to support a change in the law than men. The gap is even larger between age groups, with younger voters overwhelmingly supportive of the measure, but voters over 65 slightly opposed. Overall, the initiative is winning 55-41.

In a presidential year with a larger contingent of younger voters turning out, supporters of the initiative are hoping enough show up.


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