Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Happy Holidays

Friends of the Crossley Center,

We are all looking to a very different 2021 – safer, calmer and brighter.

The 2020 election created a sense of purpose for the Crossley Center in organizing a program of informed conversations about the functioning of our democracy. And as our program and panels described, in spite of the chaos most of the election results were quickly reported and disputes amicably resolved. For the rest, I remain confident we are going to arrive at the constitutionally prescribed results.

The Crossley Center is planning a busy program next year with online events as we begin a national political transition and Colorado continues to address a myriad of important issues. We hope you continue to join us for the conversations and thank you for your support.

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year.

Our last in-person DU program was March 3 in Maglione Hall. It’s been on Zoom ever since. Education has become very adaptable and resilient.

Trump Approval Drops in Contentious Election Fight

Nearly every indicator of the public mood has soured since the election, reflecting the public’s approval of Donald Trump’s continuing fight over the election result, the COVID-19 surge and Congress’ failure to act.

The Gallup poll just reported a comparison of public opinion from the first weeks of November to the final weeks of December. Direction of the country down; Trump and congressional job approvals down. Also, Joe Biden is receiving higher marks (65% approval) for his transition than Trump did four years ago (48% approval).

Will Trump’s increasingly desperate strategy damage Republicans’ chance in Georgia – the next big test?

President Donald Trump speaks at an "Operation Warp Speed
Vaccine Summit" at White House, Dec. 8, 2020 | Evan Vucci/AP

Monday, December 21, 2020

Video Now Available on the United Nations' Relevance in a Turbulent 21st Century

Hear a presentation from Professor Akiko Fukushima and Professor Tim Sisk discuss the U.S.’s recent antagonism to the UN’s purpose and if the U.S.’s reentry into supporting the UN’s goals and affairs help rejuvenate multilateralism and international cooperation. A video of the session follows.

The Dec. 9 program was supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.


See blog post on the presentation:

Can the UN Gain Relevance in the Turbulent 21st Century?

Year-end Political Wrap-up: What’s Next ?- Video

The December 15 year-end conversation with Colorado political experts Republican Dick Wadhams and Democrat Steve Welchert is now available on video. With moderator Floyd Ciruli of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the 2020 election results and transition was deconstructed and the next round of federal and state Colorado 2022 elections reviewed.

The program was sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the University of Denver.


See blog post on the presentation:

Colorado Election: What’s Next? 

Friday, December 18, 2020

Colorado Election: What’s Next?

More than 100 friends of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research joined Colorado political professionals on December 15 in a Zoom discussion of the dominance of the state by the Democratic Party, the decline of the Republican Party and what could reverse the trend.

Democrat Steve Welchert made the case for Colorado as “officially blue, not purple, not periwinkle, not power blue.” But Republican Dick Wadhams said trends cycle and Republicans would be back if they significantly upped their game.

Although 2020 felt like the wildest election year in most people’s lifetimes, 2022 will be significant for politics in Colorado with the reelection of Senator Michael Bennet, Governor Jared Polis and all the state constitutional offices, many benefitting from the state’s voters being adverse to Donald Trump, who won’t be in office or on the ballot.

Republicans have not held statewide federal positions since early in the century, with the exception of Cory Gardner’s election in 2014. The party has been without a governor since Bill Owens’ term-limited service ended in 2004 and other statewide constitutional offices; i.e., attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, ended in the Democratic sweep of 2018.

A video of “Colorado Election: What’s next?” can be linked to at the end of this blog post.

This session ended the Election Central program for 2020, which tracked the national and state elections in a series of nine panels and presentations, beginning with an overview provided September 1 through the day after the November 3 election analysis and closing with final observations December 15. It included foreign policy panels on China and Japan, and programs on polling and forecasting, media coverage, and the best predictions by political experts.

The program was sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research; the Josef Korbel School of International Studies; on several sessions, the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver; and, of course, the University of Denver.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Can the UN Gain Relevance in the Turbulent 21st Century?

On December 9, professors from the U.S. and Japan reviewed the relevance of the United Nations after four years of the Trump administration’s antagonism to the organization’s purpose and specific agencies. The Zoom audience was assembled by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver

A recap of President Trump’s four UN speeches since September 2017 introduced the discussion. Trump’s rhetoric provided four years of relentless opposition to the UN’s purpose to promote peace, friendly relations, multilateral decision-making, human rights and relief.

In 2017, he debuted at the UN with an aggressive, hostile speech in which he threatened nuclear destruction of North Korea and labeled its leader “Rocket Man” in language that international media coverage compared to Khrushchev, Castro, Qaddafi and Chavez for its belligerent tone and substance. He used his subsequent three speeches to attack globalism, Iran, China, international borders, multilateralism and UN agencies, such as health (WHO), human rights and criminal justice.

Among the questions addressed by panel members Professor Tim Sisk of the Korbel School, Professor Akiko Fukushima of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, and Professor Floyd Ciruli of the Crossley Center was: Can the U.S.’s reentry into supporting the UN’s goals and affairs help rejuvenate multilateralism and international cooperation? A video of the session follows. 


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Colorado Blue

The debate about Colorado being a two-party competitive presidential state is over for now. It moved from leaning Republican in presidential elections to Democratic in 2008 for Barack Obama’s big win (9 points). Even that performance was bested by Joe Biden’s crushing defeat of Donald Trump in 2020, 13 points, his second after a 5-point loss in 2016.

What’s unusual for Colorado and devastating for Republicans is the presidential losses are being accompanied by massive drops in voter support for other statewide Republican candidates and now local offices, such as county commissioners, sheriffs and clerks.

If Colorado is to be a two-party state, both national and local circumstances will need to change.

Biden Offers Hospitality, Pence Celebrates Court Case

Outgoing Vice President Joe Biden and Jill welcome Mike and Karen Pence to the Vice Presidential mansion on November 16, 2016 after a closer election than this year. On December 10, 2020, more than a month after the election, Pence celebrated the misbegotten Texas Court case to overturn the election at a rally in Georgia. On December 11, the Supreme Court said “no.”

Vice President Joe Biden (R) and Dr. Jill Biden (2nd R), stand with Vice
President-elect Mike Pence and his wife Karen at the Naval  Observatory in
Washington, DC, Nov. 16, 2016 | Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America
Vice President Mike Pence attends rally in support of Sen. David Perdue
(R-GA)  and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Savannah, Georgia, Dec. 4, 2020.
During the event, Pence celebrated a Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn the
election results and encouraged Georgia residents to get their absentee
ballot for the January 5 runoffs | Spencer Platt/Getty

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Gardner’s Woes Long Predicted

Polls in 2020 received criticism, but statewide polls in Colorado were consistent for more than a year – President Trump would lose and John Hickenlooper was a very strong candidate against Republican incumbent Cory Gardner. Indeed, Trump lost by 13 points and Gardner by 9.

Trump Weight

A part of that loss was a reflection of Gardner being associated with an unpopular national ticket. President Trump lost Colorado by 5 points in 2016, and instead of expanding his reach, he focused on a conservative Republican base. In Colorado, that is about 40 percent of the electorate. Hence, he added another eight points to his loss.

Colorado Changed

In addition, the 2018 midterm showed the state had become more unaffiliated and bluer in the intervening years as it awarded Democrats across the state and in particular counties, 10 percent wins. Trump made a bad situation worse.

Hickenlooper Resilient

Finally, Hickenlooper began the race in the late summer with a ten point lead and near universal name identification, mostly positive, even after a misbegotten presidential race. During the senate race, he was able to withstand a massive advertising attack on his reputation and character, yet not panic and stay mostly on message.

Gardner Support Drops

As the above chart shows, among major counties, Gardner’s support dropped 4 to 8 points between his 2014 close victory over Mark Udall and his 2020 9-point loss to Hickenlooper. Six years ago, he ran close in the Denver suburbs of Arapahoe and Jefferson, but this year, his support dropped 8 and 5 points, respectively, a major loss that added to the huge Democratic vote in Denver and Boulder doomed him. But even in Republican strongholds of El Paso and Douglas, he lost support (-8 and -6 points, respectively). Support mostly held in Mesa and Weld counties and he managed to gain support in Pueblo.

Power is Shifting Among Colorado Congressional Delegation

Although the only competitive congressional election in 2020 was the Third Congressional District’s Boebert-Mitsch Bush contest, power and position among the entire seven-member delegation is shifting as the session begins on January 3, 2021.


On the Republican side, Lauren Boebert is now its most high-profile member and has a statewide constituency that could make her a strong primary candidate. Her out-of-nowhere win reminds every incumbent that they’re vulnerable to the Trump voter. But being a political power due to the Trump base also makes her unelectable statewide, at least in 2022.

Ken Buck is likely ending his term as state party chair, a thankless job in a terrible year. But at least his seat is safe as is Doug Lamborn’s, who should the Republicans win the House in 2022 will be the senior member of the Colorado Republican delegation. History suggests they will win the majority. It will require picking up only 6 seats (222 D to 212 R), which is relatively easy for the non-presidential party in the first midterm. The average pick up since the 1940s in midterm elections has been more than 20 seats.


Diana DeGette is a favorite of the current speakers, but Ms. Pelosi could lose her speakership, and in any event, she is unlikely to serve another term (voluntary term-limit pledge). Does DeGette move on? It’s not fun to be in the minority, especially after your friend and mentor retires.

Joe Neguse is the friend of a future speaker or minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, the Democrat’s Caucus Chair. He is now a ranking member of the House leadership having been just elected as co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, making him the eighth position in House leadership. Another rising Democrat is Jason Crow, representing the powerful Denver South suburbs and being on the House impeachment team. Ed Perlmutter is well liked, in a safe seat and is likely to be in the House a long time.


Democrats rule Colorado in 2020 and are unlikely to be seriously challenged in 2022, but there are changes coming. Who replaces DeGette if she retires? Does Boebert represent the new Republican Party, even without Trump as president? Who do the Democrats run against her? Where will the new Colorado redistricting committee draw the lines for the state’s new district? How will it change the partisan make-up of all eight districts? What candidates will battle for the new congressional district?

Monday, December 14, 2020

Election Central – Colorado: Blue or Not?

Is Colorado Still Competitive? What’s Next?

Join the dialogue for the last of the Election Central programs to examine what happens next in Colorado’s politics. The following are a few of the recent articles on the topic and on prospects for Colorado in 2022.

Professor Floyd Ciruli and a panel of Colorado political professionals will analyze the future of the two parties and the next series of elections.

  • Dick Wadhams – former Republican Chair, consultant, CBS4 commentator and Denver Post columnist
  • Steve Welchert – Veteran consultant to Democratic campaigns and local and statewide ballot issues, political commentator and analyst


3:00 PM MT

December 15, 2020


Thursday, December 10, 2020

Election Central – Colorado: Blue or Not? – Dec. 15

Is Colorado Still Competitive? Will 2022 Produce a Backlash?

Join Colorado’s election experts for the last of the Election Central programs to examine what happens next in Colorado.

Is Colorado still a politically competitive state?

  • Will 2022 be a backlash year that Republicans can stage a comeback?
  • How did nine of the eleven 2020 ballot issues pass?
  • Does the new congressional seat change the political landscape?

Professor Floyd Ciruli and the panel will analyze the future of the two parties and the next series of elections.

  • Dick Wadhams – former Republican Chair, consultant, CBS4 commentator and Denver Post columnist
  • Steve Welchert – Veteran consultant to Democratic campaigns and local and statewide ballot issues, political commentator and analyst


3:00 PM MT

December 15, 2020



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Early Poll Has Democrats in Lead in Georgia Primary

A new poll shows Democrats ahead in Georgia’s Senate races. So what you say? That’s what pre-election polls said in Iowa, Maine and North Carolina.

That’s true. But, they also got the races right in Colorado, Arizona and Montana, and by Election Day, the polls narrowed or varied enough in many contested states to be declared toss-ups. Most importantly, for the next three weeks Georgia will be a political story in the country, the stakes are high and there will be multiple polls to consider. So, let’s start.

The pollster is SurveyUSA, which conducted a couple of Colorado polls during the U.S. Senate race for 9KUSA and Colorado Politics. They captured the Hickenlooper victory close to the June 30 primary and were in alignment with other polls and the results in the November 3 general election.

This will likely be a more difficult electorate to estimate in terms of turnout. It’s unique – a double primary – after a polarizing close presidential race and for control of the U.S. Senate. Plus, there is a defiant President railing about being cheated by Georgia election officials. The assumption is that Democrats start behind. Except for Joe Biden’s 11,000-vote win, most statewide Democrats struggle with rural and working class voters and not getting the needed margins of Hispanic voters or exceptional Black turnout.

The poll results from SurveyUSA (583 LV, 11-30-20) are: Jon Ossoff (D) 50% to David Perdue (R) 48% and Raphael Warnock (D) 52% to Kelly Loeffler (R) 45% (SurveyUSA).

The main conclusions from the poll:

  • Loeffler is running weaker than Perdue
  • Warnock is running better with moderates and women than Ossoff
  • The Ossoff vs. Perdue race is close, but Ossoff polled better than Perdue in the run up election, yet ran 86,000 votes behind him on Nov. 3

Friday, December 4, 2020

Market Crosses 30000 in year of Historic Disruption

The Dow Jones stock average has just reached a milestone after one of the most tumultuous years in market history. On November 24, 2020, three weeks after the defeat of President Donald Trump’s reelection became widely accepted, the market managed to cross the 30000 level for a year-to-date gain of nearly 5 percent, which seems modest, but reflects an incredible rollercoaster since it hit 29000 on January 15, 2020 (see chart below).

President Trump, of course, expected to ride the extraordinary market to reelection. He bragged about the market incessantly; told voters at rallies that “like him or hate him” the market is up and their IRA’s required reelecting him; and offered to presidential chronicler Bob Woodward, “how about that market?” when confronted with the impact of the pandemic, the deaths and the disruption on his prospects. Unfortunately for the President, the market ride was not smooth and his handling of COVID-19 – the primary disrupter – was judged mostly unsatisfactory.

Trump used the market from his inauguration in January 20, 2017 to January 15, 2020 as his main metric of success. It rose 9000 points, or 45 percent. The ascent continued in early 2020 to a high of 29551 on February 12 when the news of the severity of the virus led to two of the greatest one-day declines in history. The circuit breakers went off on March 12 and 16 with a combined 5349 points of loss as the market plunged to its low for the year of 18591 on March 23.

Unfortunately for Trump, the market gave back the entire three-year gain and began what was seen as a bear market (20% drop after an 11-year bull market run) and the start of an assumed recession with unemployment equal to or greater than the Great Recession 2008 and 2009 (14.7% and still at 6.9%).

Surprisingly, in spite of the economic disruption with deaths of COVID-19 over 270,000; civic disorder after a series of high-profile cases of police-civilian violence; and a hostile, hard-fought presidential campaign, the market plowed ahead, mostly driven by the shift to technology, largely adapting to the new pandemic economy (NASDAQ up 39% YTD), low interest rates and trillions of dollars from the Federal Reserve and Congress.

Since November 2 (Monday), the DOW has risen 13 percent, from 26501 to 30046 on news of a successful election, a transition starting, multiple positive tests of vaccines and a signal of stability in financial management with the appointment of Fed Chair Janet Yellen to be Biden’s Treasury Secretary.

Read blogs:

Hellish Bad Quarter – Bear Market Starts and Recession and Record Unemployment on the Way

Crashes of 1987 and 2020 – Two Black Mondays

Dow Fires Past 29000, Yet Trump Struggles

Trump Rally Breaks 20000 in Near Record Speed

Nov. 20 – Trump Election Resistance Suffers Major Blow

It is not surprising that Rudy Giuliani, acting as President Trump’s lead attorney, was responsible for the event that put the failure of Trump’s legal strategy on the front page and in cable networks’ lead stories. It was encapsulated in one of the most bizarre and embarrassing press conferences in recent times. In quick succession highlighting the futility of the President’s strategy, a recount in Georgia was completed and Georgia and Michigan certified the results. Shortly after, November 23, the GSA, which had refused to authorize funding for the transition, relented, and Trump then ordered agency and White House cooperation. However, a week later, Trump continued to label the election a “massive fraud” and a winnable fight.

It became most clear that the Trump-Giuliani strategy was doomed when the Wall Street Journal’s board editorial turned against it in the weekend edition (Nov. 21-22). Peggy Noonan and Gerald Seib, the paper’s main established editorialists, then weighed in that he should take his successes and stop the damage to democracy and the Republican Party.

The media judgement was aligned with public opinion. Most voters (59%) believed the election had been “run and administered well” and that their vote had been “correctly counted” (88%). Joe Biden was getting positive ratings for his conduct twice as high as Donald Trump (62% to 31%) (Pew 2020).

Trump being Trump, of course, surrendered in substance when he ordered cooperation, but fought on rhetorically on Twitter and in the media. One place the technique worked was his mostly online legal defense fund, which raised $170 million since the election.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

AMLO Hasn’t Congratulated Biden

Third Informative Assembly,"
July 30, 2006 | Wikipedia photo
Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), President Donald Trump’s authoritarian populist counterpart in Mexico, has just highlighted his strident tone to governing with his refusal to congratulate Joe Biden. It is not surprising. He has governed with a stubborn, confrontational tone. Under his leadership, the virus has surged, the economy tanked and crime spread nationwide. He only has one term, but the relationship with the U.S. in the next four years could be painful. 

His attitude and governing styles was seen in his close election in 2006. It was a very controversial election to replace the first non-PRI candidate, Vicente Fox, with his preferred candidate, Felipe Calderón, AMLO protested the close vote of about 250,000 out of 41 million cast by declaring himself “Legitimate President.” He then led months of protests around the country, but especially in Mexico City and the central square, The Zócalo, and the main boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma. The country was in a governing crisis up to the December 1 inauguration of Calderón. Most observers believe it lingered as a blow to functioning of Mexico’s newly established democracy and has never fully recovered. A lesson for America’s current election drama.

"Third Informative Assembly" called by
Andrés Manuel López Obrador,
July 30, 2006 | Wikipedia photo

Read blogs:

López Obrador Will Win and Mexico Will Lose

López Obrador Comes to D.C. to Celebrate NATFA II - Alone

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The United Nations: Japan and U.S. in the Suga, Biden Era

The United Nations was sidelined for the U.S. the last four years by the America First policy. On December 9, two experts on the United Nations will discuss its importance in foreign policy and the opportunities and challenges the new administrations in Japan and the U.S. face to use the agency effectively.

Professor Tim Sisk of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Institute of Comparative and Regional Studies will be joined by Professor Akiko Fukushima, a Senior Fellow of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, to discuss their latest work as it relates to the UN’s potential contribution to addressing a host of global problems. Professor Floyd Ciruli will moderate the discussion.

The program is supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.


2:00 PM MT

December 9, 2020


From Arapahoe to Wyoming Border, Republican Commissioners are Becoming Rare

Demographic and partisan changes and four years of Donald J. Trump have left only a handful of Republican county commissioners from the Arapahoe County line to the Wyoming border. In this last election, Republicans lost control of the Arapahoe County board and have no members on the Larimer or Jefferson counties’ boards. Only Weld County remains a Republican stronghold.

In Arapahoe County, the loss of Republican Commissioner Kathleen Conti and near loss of Jeff Baker (he held on by slightly more than 100 votes on November 20) will cost the Republicans control of the board with only Baker and near term-limited Nancy Sharpe. Jefferson County’s board has been shifting Democratic in recent years, but today, there are no Republican members. Possibly the most dramatic 2020 shift was in Larimer County where a board controlled by Republicans since the late 1990s is now controlled by Democrats, with a majority of women.

Denver and Broomfield city councils are nominally nonpartisan, but have detectible leans. 

Video Now Available on Foreign Policy Impact of Election: U.S. and Japan

Hear Japan’s leading political analyst and television commentator, Professor Toshihiro Nakayama, describe the U.S. election night results from Japan’s perspective. He was joined in the conversation on the election’s impact on U.S.’s and Japan’s foreign policy by former Ambassador Christopher Hill.

The Nov. 11 program was supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.


As President-elect Joe Biden selects his foreign policy team, hear an analysis of the challenges and opportunities for a new policy in Asia.

See blogs:

Japanese TV Political Analyst Compares 2016 and 2020 Election Nights

President-elect Biden Warns China in First Talk with New Japanese Prime Minister