Friday, May 7, 2021

Video Now Available on “How Our European Allies View America”

What do our European allies think of America today – and did the 2020 election change their views? For better or for worse? 

Hear international public opinion experts discuss the impact of the 2020 election and the implications for American foreign policy in the future. It is part of Crossley Center’s series of public opinion research and commentary on major issues of American domestic and foreign policy for the University of Denver community and public. 

The April 21 program was supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Heidi Ganahl a Frontrunner to Take on Governor Polis

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl |
Photo via Colorado Times Recorder
Gabrielle Bye in an April 29 post in the Colorado Times Recorder collects political impressions about Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl’s possible run for statewide office in 2022. My bottom line assessment was she could be a frontrunner contender, but Colorado is still a major challenge for Republicans. My quotations follow.

Ganahl a Top Contender

Pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli believes that Ganahl is a top contender to run for another statewide position in 2022.

“She would be a front-runner for almost any position in the state, and one of the few people that would have some statewide credibility,” Ciruli told the Colorado Times Recorder. “…With both Republicans, and I would say–I don’t think the public knows her that well–but what I would say would be the ‘attentive public.'”

Additionally, Ganahl, as a female entrepreneur in an education role, also gives her an advantage, says Ciruli.

“I think being a woman would also help; being involved in education, I think, is very positive for her,” said Ciruli. “I know Republican leaders are often putting together panels or speaking groups, and they almost always like to have her and recommend her. So I think my opening statement that she would start in a very good position is true.”

An Uphill Battle in Colorado

“The real question is,” said Ciruli, “…can a Republican take this on, given the recent track record at least since 2018, which brought, as you know, the Democrats to every constitutional office in the state, and was reinforced by Cory Gardner, and the president doing so poorly in 2020? So, that’s the difficult road.”

That being said, Ganahl still has a fighting chance, Ciruli believes.

“Being the governor is not an easy job these days,” Ciruli said with a chuckle, pointing to yearly polling during the onset of the pandemic, when Governors Cuomo and Newsom were popular. “…Now, [governors] are just struggling, and Mr. Biden is at maybe 54% popularity. Mainly because they had to make so many difficult decisions, and this pandemic has not gone away. It keeps resurging and disappearing, and of course, we’re so polarized over whether you want to wear masks and whether we should close things down. So I do think the governor has some vulnerabilities, because he’s been the governor in a very difficult time.”

Ciruli also suggested that some pandemic points of contention, like whether or not to open the schools, can give Ganahl a platform to run on.

Compared to other members of the GOP who are easily categorized as extremists, Ganahl carries a more moderate image, both analysts said.

“That may be the benefit of being a regent, which is seen as a little less partisan, even though we all know obviously that there are Democrats and Republicans [on the board],” Ciruli said.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Will Colorado’s New Congressperson Be a Democrat or Republican?

Colorado’s redistricting process over the next several months will be the major factor in deciding the partisan composition of the 2022 congressional delegation. In a KOA interview with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz, I pointed out that all seven of the current congressional districts will be significantly changed because they are all over 720,000 in population – the new size of Colorado’s districts. The Denver district of Diana DeGette has 852,000 residents, and Ken Buck’s 4th district on the Eastern Plains, including Douglas County, is the largest with 868,000. Even the smallest district – Lauren Boebert’s Western Slope 3rd district – has 756,000, or about 36,000 over the new guideline.

April Zesbaugh, Floyd Ciruli and Marty Lenz
Colorado’s population increase over the last 10 years was twice the national average of 14.8 percent and added 744,000 new people, or about the size of a congressional district. The new district will be primarily located in the Front Range where the bulk of the new population settled. Because of the state’s current partisan disposition, it will likely lean Democratic, but it could be very competitive, For example, combining Republicans in Douglas, western Arapahoe, south Jefferson and possibly north El Paso counties create a seat that Republicans could win.

Of course, parties and other advocates will do everything they can to shape the partisanship of the final district maps, but there are always surprises. In the 2000 census, Colorado got its 7th district, which was placed in western and northern parts of the metro area. The first winner was Republican Bob Beauprez, but in 2006, Democrat Ed Perlmutter won the seat and has held it since.

Voters in 2018 created a new independent commission to review the census data, gather public input and weight the legal criteria, including equal population, compactness, keeping cities and communities together where possible, and new criteria of competiveness. The commission is assisted by State Legislative staff and must send their recommended map to the Colorado Supreme Court in time for it to reach a decision by December 15. Given the delays in the arrival of the census data, the commission will have a tight timeline, and Colorado politicians an anxious fall.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Colorado Political Experts Assess the First 100 Days

The first 100 days has been a noted presidential milestone since FDR took office in 1933. It has become an historical standard in assessing new presidents’ accomplishments against their campaign promises and the public’s and Washington’s early expectations.

The Crossley Center, with the Korbel School and the Center on American Politics, presents a panel moderated by University of Denver Chancellor Jeremy Haefner on “President Biden’s First 100 Days.” I will join the Chancellor and noted political scientists Tom Cronin, Andrea Benjamin and Seth Masket who will comprise the panel. (See background on presenters here).

Four years ago on May 1, 2017, the Crossley Center, as part of its public engagement programming, sponsored a 100-day assessment of former President Trump. In spite of near-saturation media coverage and a few popular accomplishments, including the Neil Gorsuch confirmation and missile strikes in Syria, Trump’s approval rating declined to 42 percent at the 100-day mark after a weak start, and disapproval soared to well above 50 percent. (See blog: Pre-100-Day Polls in on Trump; Not Good)

President Biden, after a chaotic transition, is benefiting from a modest honeymoon with his 100-day approval at 53 percent, or about 10 points higher than Trump’s at this point. Join the panel as it compares, contrasts and assesses Biden’s first 100 days. (See blog: Difficult Midterm Election Shapes Biden’s 100-Day Strategy)

Floyd Ciruli
Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research

MAY 4, 2021
11:00 am MT

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Emergency
Banking Act into law, March 9, 1933 | AP photo 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Climate Summit – A Diplomatic Success for Biden

Pledges on climate change have had mixed impact over the more than two decades since the first agreements (Kyoto Accords in 1997), but President Biden’s recent climate summit was at least a diplomatic success demonstrating there is an international constituency for the issue and after a four-year absence, America could still lead on it.

Biden assembled country leaders virtually, including most of Europe and major countries in Latin America (Brazil, Argentina), Asia (China, Japan, India, Australia), Africa (South Africa, Nigeria), Middle East (Turkey, Saudi Arabia) and U.S. neighbors (Mexico and Canada).

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, summarized much of Europe’s and other democratic allies’ sentiments when she said:

“I’m delighted to see that the United States is back to work together with us in climate politics, because there can be no doubt about the world needing your contribution if we really want to fulfill our ambitious goals.” 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel takes part in virtual international climate
summit with President Biden, April 22, 2021 | Pool photo by Kay Nietfeld

Monday, April 26, 2021

Coercive Diplomacy – Russia and Ukraine

Wall Street Journal headlines:

  • U.S. warns Russia over Navalny’s Care, 4-19-21
  • Biden’s hardline on Russia splits Europe, 4-20-21
  • Russia moves forces near Ukraine border, 4-21-21
  • Putin retains popularity despite wave of protest, 4-21-21
  • Putin intensifies warning as protests widen, 4-22-21
  • Russia to scale back Ukraine border force, 4-23-21

The Wall Street Journal headlines capture Vladimir Putin’s latest foray into threats and mobilization and the Western democratic countries’ pushbacks. The West had their last experience with Mr. Putin in March 2014 as he absorbed Crimea and destabilized Eastern Ukraine.

As of the end of April, it’s uncertain if there will be a real incursion – most experts believe not – or just another of his exercises in diplomatic coercion. The benefits for Putin are:

  • It distracts from Alexei Navalny and the protests
  • It gins up Russian nationalist sentiments just as he gives annual speech. It helps maintain his 60 plus percent favorability.
  • It tests Mr. Biden, NATO and European resolve and unity
  • It warns Kiev’s leadership to keep its distance from NATO and the West – “the red line”
  • It promotes division and chaos in democracies. Putin’s long time objectives.

If Putin sees diplomatic or military weakness, he will exploit it.

Russia Takes the Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center; Defense Minister Sergei
Shoigu, left; and the commander of the Western Military District
Anatoly Sidorov, right, March 3, 2014 | AP photo

Friday, April 23, 2021

Polling in 2020 and Its Future

Polling predicted a very good Democratic year in November 2020, which didn’t happen, or at least not as predicted. But, polling has already started in 2021 concerning the president, national politics and the 2022 election. What happened in 2020? Has polling changed because of it? If not, will it or were the problems mostly related to the pandemic and Trump’s unique candidacy? Join pollster and DU professor Floyd Ciruli for a conversation on what happened to polling in 2020 and its future.

OLLI will host a presentation on June 29, 2021 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am MT. More information on OLLI, click here.