The conventional wisdom surrounding Colorado's Amendment 46 "The Colorado Civil Rights Initiative" was that many liberals and progressives would inadvertantly vote for the anti-affirmative action measure. The authors of A46 intentionally frame the issue as one of discrimination and they borrow language from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This gives a casual reader the impression that the amendment is actually a pro-civil rights measure in the tradition of the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. In fact the amendment would actually do just the opposite.
Politicos and pundits all seemed to believe that this framing would work to help ensure the amendments passage as liberals would vote for it, not realizing the actual effect of the amendment. Amendment 46 has gone down to a shocking defeat by a mere 14,000 votes with 50.36% voting NO and 49.64% voting YES.
Looking at the county level data I believe that in fact the double-talk in the amendment actually confused many Republican voters and that may very well have cost its backers the election. While the language was written to confuse liberals voters who were not well informed on the issue it's liberal sounding language actually caused low information Republican voters to vote against Amendment 46. Let's look at the eastern plains counties which, with the exception of Las Animas, all went for John McCain and most by very large margins. We'll compare John McCain's performance to the vote on Amendment 46.
McCain - Obama Yes - No * A46
Baca 72.3 - 24.5 47.5 - 52.4
Bent 56.2 - 41.3 49.1 - 50.8
Cheyenne 80.1 - 17.8 45.9 - 54
Crowley 62.6 - 35.4 50.7 - 49.2
Kiowa 76.2 - 20.8 50.3 - 49.6
Kit Carson 71.3 - 26.4 45.7 - 54.2
Las Animas 45.7 - 52.5 46.6 - 53.3
Lincoln 74.2 - 23.9 49.7 - 50.2
Logan 66.8 - 31.6 51.7 - 48.2
Otero 54.7 - 43.7 49.7 - 50.2
Prowers 66.4 - 32.1 50.7 - 49.3
Phillips 71.2 - 27.6 48.1 - 51.8
Sedgwick 63.4 - 34.6 45.5 - 54.4
Washington 77.7 - 20.8 48.2 - 51.7
Yuma 73.8 - 24.3 57.1 - 42.8
As you can see out of 15 counties Amendment 46 only passed in five (Crowley, Kiowa, Logan, Prowers and Yuma). Even in the counties that it passed it did so by very slim margins in 4 of the 5. The margin was less than 2 points in three of the counties. Even in the county with the biggest margin (Yuma) the amendment underperformed McCain's showing by 16.7 points.
Ward Connerly, Jessica Peck-Corry and the rest of the brain trust behind Amendment 46 thought they were pulling over a fast one on low information Democratic voters with their deceptive ballot language. Now it looks as though they were too cute by half and sunk their Amendment with their own base voters.