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Commissioners reveal 2021 Citizen Survey results

SurveyMore than 1,800 Douglas County residents made their voices heard in the County’s 2021 Citizen Survey conducted April 6-14 countywide.  Hill Research Consultants designed and implemented the survey and analyzed the findings, the County’s tenth such survey since 2006 by these researchers.

Among the strongest findings, according to David Hill, Ph.D., Research Director, is stability in public satisfaction with County services – “even through the pandemic.” There were, however, some lagging outliers such as motor vehicle services, road conditions and other infrastructure issues that Hill attributes to changes in access to services and construction slowdowns during the shutdown.

Regarding the survey question related to the preferred outcome of a potential open space sales and use tax reauthorization, 40% preferred to see the tax approved permanently; 39% preferred a sunset of the tax in 15 years; and 18% preferred the tax sunset in 2023. Additionally, on related questions:

  • 98% agree protecting and preserving natural land & wildlife habitat is important;
  • 96% believe funding county & municipal parks/outdoor recreation programs/protecting & preserving scenic views is important; and
  • 90% agree funding historic preservation & maintenance is important.

“Satisfaction with the great outdoors in Douglas County is fundamental to the ethos of people who choose to live in Colorado.  The fact that the County is excelling in this area is a huge finding for Douglas County and is critically important to the citizens who live here,” said David Hill, Ph.D., Research Director on this survey.

For the first time since conducting the survey over the past decade, Hill noted that partisanship was “pervasive and a driving force behind opinions on many with sharp breaks along party lines.” This is particularly evident on questions regarding the direction of Douglas County; Douglas County has good government; and Douglas County listens to the people’s voice questions. He attributed this pattern to increased partisan rifts stemming from the 2020 divisive presidential contest.

Regarding the future delivery of public health services, either through the present shared Tri-County arrangement or by a new stand-alone Douglas County health department, the Board sought quantifiable data to better understand and obtain a baseline sense for community opinion on this issue. “This is indeed an important public policy question, and it is clear to me that, coming out of a pandemic, there is a desire for stability and certainty in public health policies, and resistance to change, however, I am not yet convinced that there is full or deep understanding of the pros and cons of either approach,” said Hill.

Among other key findings on baseline questions asked in previous surveys:

  • 95% affirm the accuracy of the statement: Douglas County is a good place to raise a family; and
  • 97% agree Douglas County is a safe place to live & work.

“Our Board is united in our belief that quantifiable, representative public opinion is a valuable resource in guiding the Board’s funding and policy decisions,” said Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon on behalf of the Board. “Our citizen survey is one of our ongoing means to engage Douglas County communities in the process of County governance so that their voices may be heard. We are grateful to those who participated,” Laydon said.

Using a current list and demographic profile of Douglas County registered voters as the sample survey baseline, 1,881 registered active voters participated in the survey from April 6-14, 2021, the largest number of participants in any prior voter survey. Interviews were conducted – 300 by phone (74% cell phone) and 1,581 online.

The methodology used is the current state-of-the-art, hybrid multi-mode data collection that allows for results to be weighted to match the Douglas County voter file for gender, age, party and geographic distributions. The findings have a margin of error of +\- 2.3% for 1,881 cases.  

Douglas County residents were invited to participate in the survey through multiple means. More than 9,300 subscribers to the County’s online newsroom were invited to participate via a link directly to the survey the day the survey opened on April 6. Additionally, the link was posted on the County’s Facebook (5,912 followers), Twitter (11,643 followers) and Nextdoor (162,367 households) social media sites. Access to the survey was published in all six Douglas County Community Media (CCM) newspapers on April 8; a digital ad was featured on all Douglas County publication web pages within the CCM website April 6-14; and content was featured on the County’s website homepage April 6-14.

The 2021 Citizen Survey findings are available on the Douglas County website.

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