The alleged push poll was paid for by WTP and the Longmont Leadership Committee and conducted by the Virginia Institute for Public Policy. According to the Longmont Times-Call, the questions included, “If you knew that Karen Benker discriminated against a Christian church organization unfairly based on their religion, would that make you more or less favorable toward her?” Another asked, “If you knew that Karen Benker was in favor of limiting growth and private property development rights, how would that affect your vote in an election?”
A third question asked, “If you knew that Karen Benker misinformed voters about the Union Annexation Project [the LifeBridge development], costing Longmont millions of dollars in lost tax revenue, would that make you more or
less favorable toward her?” The poll also included the question, “If
you knew that Karen Benker claimed to have ended the special tax for
the Clover Basin Fire District on her campaign literature, when in fact
the elimination of the tax had not even appeared on the City Council
agenda, would that make you more or less favorable toward her?”
WTP’s Ferguson says all of the questions posed are factual characterizations of Benker’s record, and that the poll was simply meant to measure voter reaction to different issues. Benker counters that several questions mischaracterize her record and lead voters to believe things about her that are just not true.
Benker says the question about discriminating against LifeBridge “is the one that makes me angriest.” She told Boulder Weekly that some have accused her of being anti-Christian, but she says her faith is very important to her. She grew up Catholic and is now Episcopalian. Benker says she voted against the LifeBridge issue solely because of what it would have cost the city.
In response to the question about limiting growth and private property development rights, Benker points out that she was in charge of developing a state economic development plan when she worked for former Gov. Roy Romer.