Monday, August 29, 2016

Colorado Loses its Best Water Reporter

Chris Woodka
Photo: Pueblo Chieftain
Chris Woodka, the Pueblo Chieftain premiere water reporter, will retire soon and join the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Thanks to Chris for years of detailed coverage of water news, projects and policy. Thanks also to Bob Rawlings and his Pueblo Chieftain for their commitment to coverage of water and support for Chris Woodka’s career.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Four Highlights From Colorado Polls on Presidency

The big news on the presidential race in Colorado is that the state is no longer considered a battleground (The Buzz, July 22, 2016). And, indeed, Hillary Clinton is so far ahead she has withdrawn a television buy and is depending on her ground game (which is extensive as Donald Trump’s is miniscule). It is unlikely Clinton will reenter the state’s media market unless the race tightens substantially nationally, and then Colorado could come back into play.

Examining the latest Colorado poll’s internal data highlights four trends:
  1. Colorado Youth Vote Looks for Alternatives. Millennial voters in general are more likely than any other age group to be considering Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the two independent candidates on the ballot. Johnson beats Trump in the latest Colorado Quinnipiac poll 29 percent to 18 percent among Millennials. Together, Stein and Johnson receive 46 percent of the Millennial vote. Clinton only gets 34 percent. This is more than national polls, which show them together receiving 28 percent of the Millennial vote. Johnson and Stein are still mostly spoilers and not contenders. Even when Ross Perot received 19 percent of the national vote and 23 percent in Colorado, he failed to carry a single electoral vote.
  2. Educated Voters Go Democratic. No Democratic nominee has carried educated White voters (four-year degrees) in the modern history of polling (since 1952). Clinton leads Trump by 7 points among them nationally. In Colorado, she is leading Trump by 29 points among educated White voters in the Quinnipiac survey and 32 percent in the earlier NBC/WSJ/Marist survey. Colorado is the second most educated state in the country after Massachusetts. Compounding Trump’s problem is that educated White voters are more likely to turn out. Usually that means the Republican candidates can expect a little bump in late polls and on Election Day. But, if these numbers don’t shift, Clinton will get the final push from the most dependable voters.
  3. Republicans are Resisting Trump. For all of Clinton’s problems with the youth vote, she has consolidated the Democratic vote, getting 93 percent of it. Trump continues to lag with only 86 percent of his vote. In Colorado, about a quarter of the vote is unaffiliated. Given both parties are closely divided, winning the unaffiliated vote becomes extra important. The latest Quinnipiac survey shows Trump losing the self-described independent voters by 13 points (46% Clinton vs. 33% Trump).
  4. The Gender Gap is Net Clinton Win. In 2014, Republican Cory Gardner won the gender gap by 4 points. H lost women to Mark Udall, but won men by more. Trump is losing the gender gap in Colorado by 21 points. He’s even losing the White gender gap (by 2 points), which is doom in races where more than a quarter of the electorate is non-White, and Clinton has more than 30 points of advantage.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Millennials are Avoiding the Parties and Their Candidates

Millennial voters (aged 18 to 34) are identifying with independent political status and are giving near majorities of their votes to independent presidential candidates.

In a statewide Ciruli Associates poll, 38 percent of Millennials identify themselves as independent more than any other age group and nearly equal to the number who claim to be “strong Democrat” (29%) and “not so strong Democrat” (11%).

The latest Quinnipiac Colorado survey shows 46 percent of Millennials support independent candidates Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together attract 52 percent.

The Colorado results for minor party candidates among Millennials were larger than what was nationally reported as the Millennials’ preferences (46% in Colorado to 28% nationally) in the latest Pew Research poll where Clinton was ahead of Trump by 4 points. (Different cut-off point in age explains some of the difference, but not all.)

In general, Johnson voters are younger, White and more independents. He tends to attract more Republicans than Democrats.

Nate Silver’s analysis of a half dozen recent polls of Millennials show Johnson getting 17 percent or nearly double his current average of 9 percent from all voters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

America is Great

Congratulations to all the world athletes who participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics. America is already great. Its athletes beat the state sponsored Olympic machine of China by 50 medals and Mr. Putin’s decimated team due to corruption by more than two-to-one.

Ciruli Named to Denver Press Club Hall of Fame

The Denver Press Club Hall of Fame will induct me at a Press Club event September 9, 2016.  Below is a reprint of a DU Newsroom news release.

DENVER—August 15, 2016—Political pollster and analyst Floyd Ciruli will be inducted into the Denver Press Club's Hall of Fame at a September 9th banquet. Mr. Ciruli heads a Denver-based research and consulting firm, Ciruli Associates, and has provided political commentary, analysis and polling for the past 35 years for both local and national media outlets. He hosts Colorado's leading blog for politics and trends with more than 4,500 followers at

Mr. Ciruli has served as a regular commentator for a number of media outlets, including on-air election night coverage for 9KUSA beginning with the 1988 Denver International Airport election. He also conducted election polling for several media outlets, and was cited as one of the country's most accurate pollsters on Nate Silver's 538 website. In addition, he regularly writes guest editorials on political topics.

In 2014, he helped create the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where he serves as director and teaches graduate courses in public opinion and foreign policy. He is past-president of the Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and an active AAPOR member. Mr. Ciruli also is past-president of the Georgetown Law Alumni Board.

He has led several local and statewide ballot initiative campaigns, including the Denver metro Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) from its inception in 1988, and each SCFD renewal – including on the upcoming 2016 ballot. He also led the Great Outdoors Colorado campaign, two successful bond issue campaigns for the Denver Public Library, and others.

A native of Pueblo, Colorado, Mr. Ciruli received a Bachelor's degree from the University of California Los Angeles, and a law degree from Georgetown University.

Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world's leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and public policy and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel. Follow the Korbel School on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Is the Race Over?

One of the best questions at the Arvada Chamber of Commerce Leadership Breakfast was could the debates change this race? Clinton leads by 5 points in national polls and 11 points in Colorado.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama at first
debate in Denver in 2012
Photo: US News
Possibly, but the general rule is that debates don’t change a race. However, this year doesn’t follow the rules very well. Recall that Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama four years ago in the early October debate here in Denver. But Obama went on to win the race by 5 points, largely because his strength in battlegrounds states was unshaken even while his national polling numbers slipped for a time due to the debate.

There are several reasons to be extra cautious about calling the race this year. People remain very unhappy about the direction of the country, they desire some amount of change, they’re worried about the future for their children and neither candidate is well thought of. In addition, as much of July demonstrated, this is an election highly effected by outside events, such as the Dallas shooting, the Nice terror, the Russian hacking, and unforced errors like the Comey testimony and the attack on the Khans.

The summer polls are still in pre-season. The first polls after Labor Day will be most important. If Clinton is ahead beyond the margin of error at that point after all the pollsters tighten their screen techniques to capture most likely voters, Trump is in trouble.

The first debate in late September is likely to have record viewership. Trump may need it to change the direction of the race. If Clinton is still in the lead, she will just need to demonstrate competence and confidence. She wins if it’s a draw.

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Leadership Breakfast, Aug. 19, 2016
Photo: Arvada Chamber

Monday, August 22, 2016

Colorado Now Considered Part of Clinton’s 270 Electoral Votes

Hillary Clinton is now banking Colorado in her count to 270 electoral votes. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Clinton beating Donald Trump by 10 points head-to-head and by 8 points in a four-way race with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, and Jill Stein, the Green candidate.

In the head-to-head race, which is most useful in comparing internal differences, she’s consolidated Democrats (93% compared to Trump’s 86%) and is surprisingly winning men (45% to 43% Trump). White men she loses 40 percent to 47 percent to Trump, but she is winning 10 percent of Republican women.

As noted by many analyses, she has a huge margin among White women (19 points), while he has a modest lead among White men (7 points). Her lead among college educated voters of 25 points is a new phenomenon, suggesting Trump has lost the old base of the Republican Party. When added with a 64 percent to 29 percent advantage among minorities, her current position is formidable.