Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Republicans Opt for Outsider; Democrats Go With Insider

Neither political party seems excited about their presidential choice, although both parties appear to be slowly accepting their nominees in spite of difficulty in unifying and the likelihood of raucous conventions. As the candidates close in on their nominations, their differences are thrown in high relief. Why are Democrats staying with an insider and old party stalwart, Clinton, and Republicans breaking toward an outsider, Trump?

Of the many metrics that frame this election, three explain the insider/outsider dichotomy. They are voters’ level of interest for someone with political experience, the amount of political change preferred and the degree of political trust in government.

The differences Democrats and Republicans have on the three questions are dramatic and instructive. A new Ciruli Associates survey in the Denver metro region shows most Democrats prefer a politician with experience (75%), want some but not major change (50%) in policy, and a majority trust government always or most of the time (60%). Whereas Republicans are the inverse. They are ambivalent of political experience (39% yes experience, 38% no experience), want major changes (69%), and seldom or never trust government (72%).

Survey conducted with 600 likely voters in the seven-county Denver metro area by Ciruli Associates in May 2016 with a plus or minus of 4 percentage points.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Donald Trump Soaring Unfavorable Rating – 69%

Voters in the Denver metro area may vote for Donald Trump, but not because they like him. His unfavorability rating is a sky-high 69 percent, a full 19 points less favorable than Hillary Clinton’s 50 percent. As most polls show, Bernie Sanders has fewer detractors, with only a 39 percent unfavorable rating, and the highest favorability of the three candidates (53%).

National polls have shown the spectacular poor impression people have of the two frontrunners for their respective parties. It has led this blog to reference to this as the “Regret Election.”  Voters will select the candidate they regret voting for the least. The following internal polling data highlights the dramatic feelings voters have for the two frontrunners.

Trump does his worst with Hispanics (82%), Blacks (73%) and Muslims (80%) “very unfavorable.” Clinton’s highest “very unfavorable” ratings are men (46%), Whites (42%), independents (48%), and her age cohorts 65-74 years old (54%).

Survey conducted with 600 likely voters in the seven-county Denver metro area by Ciruli Associates in May 2016 with a plus or minus of 4 percentage points. One-half the sample of 300 likely voters has a plus or minus of 5.6 percentage points.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Senator Bennet Begins His Re-election With Metro Voter Approval Below 50 Percent

The Denver metro area leans Democratic in its partisan preference, and Governor Hickenlooper and President Obama both have positive approval ratings, 61 percent and 57 percent, respectively.

But Senator Michael Bennet, who is facing re-election, has only a 49 percent approval, with 26 percent opposition and 25 percent of voters with no position.

Voters from the ages of 50 to 74 give Bennet his highest approval at 55 percent. Millennials, 34 years old and less, approve his job performance by 4-to-1, but 44 percent aren’t able to rate him

Like most Democrats, Bennet wins women’s approval (55%) more than men (43%) and, of course, he does well with Democrats and the region’s minorities.

No doubt, Bennet’s numbers will improve. Washington politicians today suffer from a generalized mood of distrust. He has already started advertising to address the quarter of voters who can’t judge him today.
Sen. Bennet

The metro area produces more than half (56%) of the state’s vote and about 65 percent of the statewide vote for Democrats, so rolling out of those seven counties with a big margin is a Bennet priority.

Survey conducted with 600 likely voters in the seven-county Denver metro area by Ciruli Associates in May 2016 with a plus or minus of 4 percentage points. One-half the sample of 300 likely voters has a plus or minus of 5.6 percentage points.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Environmental Initiatives Struggle - It's Not 2014

The ballot initiatives of the environmental movement are struggling to attract media, activists and funders. The politics of 2016 is simply not as hospitable for the anti-fracking/anti-gas and oil message as it was in 2016.

A lot has changed, and the anti-frackers haven’t changed their basic approach.

1.     Gas and oil development is simply not the threat it was in 2014. The mega expansion phase collapsed with prices. Today, gas and oil is contracting with lower rig counts and fewer employees.

2.     In 2014, the anti-gas and oil crowd had a number of Front Range communities that joined the movement, not out of an environmental ideology, but due to a desire to keep the development out of their cities (NIMBY). Partially, that threat has receded, and importantly, their strategy of local bans was voided by the Colorado Supreme Court. The communities are no longer providing resources or rhetoric to back the initiative effort.

3.     Although the environmentalist have tried to broaden their appeal by incorporating local government and environmental quality into their anti-fracking and anti-gas and oil initiatives, the gas and oil industry got organized and has spent millions in television advertising and public relations to counter the effort. Public affairs weekend programs are flooded with the benefits and positive aspects of gas and oil development. Industry spokespersons rapidly counter each environmental initiative and statements.

4.     The environmental movement has had victories. The Keystone Pipeline will not be built during the lifetime of this administration. But, its fall also removed at least one issue that fueled the movement.

5.     A key missing aspect of the movement is the absence of a money source. Jared Polis, who provided millions in 2014 to get anti-fracking measures to the ballot, has shifted his emphasis to become a part of the House leadership. It was made very clear to Polis in 2014 that sponsoring party dividing anti-gas and oil ballot initiatives in Colorado was not welcome. In addition, many of his communities in Larimer County are simply not energized about the issue in 2016.

6.     Finally, much of what passes today for the environmental movement has lost currency with the public. The percentage of the public calling themselves environmentalists has declined from 78 percent in 1991 at the beginning of Earth Day to 42 percent today.



Gallup, which reported the data, points to the increasing partisan division in the term. Environmentalism became much more partisan, especially around climate change. Only 27 percent of Republicans consider themselves environmentalists. However, even the larger proportion of Democrats (56%) is still way down from the 78 percent who held the position in 1991.

7.     Also, Gallup points out that the public has adopted many environmental positions, such as recycling, industry uses more solar and natural gas, and major problems of a few decades ago, such as air pollution, have seen major progress.


The anti-fracking amendments may make the ballot, but, as of now, it will not be the cause celeb it was in 2014.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Book: Hickenlooper as Vice President

John Hickenlooper has just published a book. It’s de rigueur for a politician trying to move up. Hickenlooper has been on lists for several years as a potential vice president prospect. Previously, he denied an interest in going to D.C., but since his re-election, Hickenlooper has been much more animated about a trip back East. And, it makes sense.

“I think the timing is absolutely related to the fact that he is ready to move,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster mentioned in the book. “He is in a state that remains on most (swing state) lists. He’s popular. So he will certainly be useful to the ticket.” (Denver Post, John Frank, 5-23-16)

Hickenlooper going East:
  • He’s near the end of his term as governor. There is no senate seat available. The gubernatorial position in Colorado is constitutionally weak and Colorado government has been tied into a fiscal knot since the 1992 passage of tax limitation amendment, TABOR.
  • He likes politics and is pretty good at it. His regional approval rating is 61 percent. Since his 2003 political career started, Hickenlooper’s had good timing. He began as a type of non-politician, and it was an image that fits him and fits the public’s mood. He still benefits as an independent politician who will reach across the isle to get things done. A Democratic business moderate and social liberal is a niche position that has mostly worked in Colorado.
  • Although Hickenlooper might be compatible with Clinton, it’s not clear he brings much to the ticket. Colorado is a small state and Clinton’s main challenge has been her left, not the center of the party. In addition, the Democrats’ core constituents come out of its politics of race, ethnicity and sexual-identity.
  • But for its size, Colorado has produced a number of politicians who were major forces in the Democratic Party – Gary Hart in the 1980s, Roy Romer in the 1990s and Ken Salazar in the Obama era. Will Hickenlooper join them?
Hickenlooper’s new memoir: The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics

John Hickenlooper Retains His Metro Denver Clout

Gov. Hickenlooper
John Hickenlooper has a 61 percent approval rating among Denver metro voters. His age contemporaries approve him the most. Voters 65 to 74 years old give him a 68 percent approval, a rating he also received from post college degree holders.

Not surprising, his lowest approval numbers come from conservatives (35%) and Republicans (34%) and his highest from liberals (82%) and fellow partisan Democrats (75%). Given Hickenlooper’s independent reputation, he does well among unaffiliated voters (68% approval).

Hickenlooper continues to be listed as either a prospective vice president on the Democratic ticket or member of a new Democratic cabinet. This poll appears to make him valuable, at least in Colorado, a swing state in the presidential election.

Survey conducted with 600 likely voters in the seven-county Denver metro area by Ciruli Associates in May 2016 with a plus or minus of 4 percentage points. One-half the sample of 300 likely voters has a plus or minus of 5.6 percentage points.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Single-Payer Losing in Denver Metro Area

Amendment 69, the nationally reported single-payer proposal on the Colorado November ballot, is currently losing in the Denver metro area by 30 percent in favor and 43 percent against, with more than a quarter of the population undecided (27%).

A plurality of Democrats (44%) favor the amendment and a third (35%) are undecided. Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed (71%). Unaffiliated voters oppose it 47 percent to 31 percent.

Also not surprising, given their ideological disposition, 43 percent of voters under 30 years old favor the proposition. Older voters were less supportive, with Baby Boomers aged 65 to 74 years old the most opposed (53%).

Survey conducted with 600 likely voters in the seven-county Denver metro area by Ciruli Associates in May 2016 with a plus or minus of 4 percentage points.

ACA Gallup Poll

A new Gallup poll shows that the single-payer option attracts both Democrats who see the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gaps and failures and Republicans who simply want any alternative.  In the May 8-10, 2016 Gallup test, Americans were offered three options, which are also associated with the three current leading candidates for their respective party nominations, Bernie Sanders’s single-payer (Medicare for All) approach beat Hillary Clinton’s “Keep the ACA” and Donald Trump’s “repeal the ACA” (and replace it with an unknown option).