Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Asian Vote and the California Recall

More than ten percent of the 22.2 million ballots mailed in the California recall went to Asian voters. As of August 31, or two weeks out from the September 14 election, nearly 500,000 have been returned, or 12 percent of the 4 million total that have been cast (see table below).

In the last presidential vote, the Asian vote was just over 4 percent of the total, up from 2016, but still modest. The Asian vote in California is three times as large and could equal about a million votes if more than 35 percent of voters turn out. Currently, 3.5 million Californians have voted, or 16 percent.

Except for Asian votes, other minorities are well behind in ballot returns. Anglos dominate with 70 percent of the returns received.

Read: Majority of Asian Americans Voting for Biden

Monday, August 30, 2021

Colorado Voters Support Mail-in Balloting, But Prefer Dropping It Off

The Colorado mail-back ballot system is considered one of the models in the country. More than 3.2 million used it in the 2020 election – a record voter turnout in the highly contested election with the difficulties of the pandemic year, and Colorado voters support mail-back ballots, but like a drop off return.

Most Colorado voters strongly approve a mail-back voting system. In an online poll conducted during the election by the University of Denver’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and fielded by YouGov, 82 percent of Colorado voters said they “strongly” or “somewhat” approve the mail-back voting system (57% said “strongly approve”) and only 18 percent “strongly” or “somewhat” disapproved.

Coloradans like their mail-back system, but prefer a hands-on return. Most voters dropped off their ballots (69%) and few use the mail (16%) or voted in-person (15%).

Colorado Voter Survey

The methodology and questions in the Colorado voter survey:

An online survey was conducted by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research from mid-October to mid-November 2020 during the presidential campaign. The survey was fielded by YouGov with 960 online participants. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points. The following are the questions included about mail-in voting in the general election.

Colorado Voter Survey Questions

Question: Colorado approved mail-back voting in 2013, and the first statewide election using it for federal, state and local elections was in 2014. Would you say you strongly approve of mail-back voting in Colorado, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove or strongly disapprove of mail-back voting?

Question: Will you mail in your ballot, drop off in a ballot box or Court House, or vote in person?

Thursday, August 26, 2021

California Gains a Few People, But Loses Power

Headlines when the 2020 census data was released in California featured the state continued to grow. Yes, but less than the country (7.4%). The population grew only 6.1 percent over the last ten years while, for example, Colorado grew 14.8 percent. California will lose a congressional seat and Colorado will gain one.

Southern California – historically one of California’s growth engines – languished those ten years. With the exception of Riverside and San Diego counties, the rest, especially giant Los Angeles, grew less than the state and will suffer loses of legislative and congressional clout.

Read: Southern California counties grow while much of the nation shrinks

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Biden Collapses with Kabul. Can He Recover?

President Biden’s approval rating was stable over his first six months in office at about 53 percent. Not great, but given today’s polarization and the challenges of governing in the pandemic, not bad. It began to decline with the July resurge of COVID (approval of managing COVID down 12 points) and has now fallen in tandem with the fall of Kabul. Today at 47 percent, Biden’s approval is at its lowest point in his presidency according to the RealClearPolitics average. Most observers expect him to lose another point or two in the next round of national polls.

The speed of the descent is as fast as the Taliban’s advance. Nine days (Aug. 6) after the Taliban captured their first capital in the far southwest of the country, to when they marched unopposed into the presidential palace on August 15, to today as the chaotic evacuations dominate news, Biden has been losing support.

Can he recover? Possibly.

  1. In today’s polarized political environment, the Democratic base is unlikely to abandon him, so like former President Trump, he has a floor of support, probably in the mid- to low forty percent level.
  2. Foreign policy problems or victories are seldom as salient or long lasting as domestic. Kabul will pass and the economy, COVID and the culture wars will continue to dominate the news and political agendas.
  3. Afghanistan, after the early removal of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in 2002 and 2003, was never very popular. It was quickly replaced by the war in Iraq. Most recent polls show the large military commitment was not judged worth it and the withdrawal was supported by a majority of Americans.
  4. The military’s frequent recommendations for more troops and equipment dogged Presidents Obama and Trump, but never caused much political reaction. Of course, this retreat is “above the fold,” but historically, Afghanistan hasn’t been on election issue.
  5. It is largely unknown if Afghanistan produces more bad press for the administration, or just relief it’s over. There will be many news cycles before November 2022.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Biden in Deep Trouble. Is 2022 Lost?

President Joe Biden’s approval rating has sunk to a 48 percent average on Monday, August 23, eight days after Taliban fighters strolled into the presidential palace.

The startling and unpredicted speed of collapse of the Afghan army and government has taken Biden’s political support down to its core and possibly doomed the 2022 election for House and Senate. And, the damage may not be over as both the chaotic withdrawal and the Taliban consolidation of power are likely to produce more bad news.

A positive presidential approval, managing COVID and some congressional accomplishments were considered the assets Democrats had to go into the midterm elections. At the moment, all three are in danger. The Delta variant surge was already damaging Biden’s support levels as people lost their optimism that the pandemic was mostly over and mask and vaccine wars were behind use. And, the Afghanistan debacle took place as just the moment Democrats were gaining momentum to pass infrastructure after their Senate victories.

Predictions for Democrats holding their slim (4 votes) House majority were already weak. It now depends on the recovery from COVID getting on track and Democrats realizing now more than ever that they need to compromise and pass infrastructure – possible, but as of today, not a betting proposition.

Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after
President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, Kabul, Afghanistan,
Aug. 15, 2021 | Zabi Karimi/AP

Friday, August 20, 2021

Adams and Arapahoe Set to Dominate Metro Area

Colorado’s population increased its urbanization in the last decade with five of the ten fastest growing counties in the seven-county Denver metro area and eight on the Front Range (El Paso, Larimer and Weld). But not all growth was equal in the metro area. Boulder (331,000, 12.3%), due to high costs and anti-growth policies, continues to lag behind the state’s average, with Weld County about to pass it in population (Weld 329,000, 30.1%).

Adams and Arapahoe now appear as two of the most likely metro counties for additional population growth. They have considerable areas that can be developed or made more dense. Arapahoe is now the second largest, just behind Denver. If Adams growth pace continues, it will surpass Jefferson County to become the third largest in the metro area. Both counties have significant Hispanic populations. But Arapahoe is more diverse in that along with the Hispanic population (20.7%), there is a substantial black community (10.4%) and Asian (6.4%).

Denver continues to maintain its dominant position, with a massive 19.2 percent increase during the decade, or 115,000 new residents. Interesting, the Hispanic population percentage did not increase over the decade as much as expected because a considerable portion of Denver’s influx was White (up 2%) and many Latinos moved elsewhere (down 4%). But, will the growth continue? Pushback on infill, increases in crime, homelessness and taxes give it major challenges in the next decade.

August: A Tough Month for Obama and Biden

In August 2014, while trying to finish his summer vacation in the Vineyard, President Barack Obama was criticized for golfing while ISIS was executing people, including American journalists in Iraq and Syria. By then, Obama and the U.S. were leading a coalition back into the area to try to contain the sudden rise of ISIS, but the visual hurt.

Former President Barack Obama sits in golf cart on the island
of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Aug. 20, 2014 | Steven Senne/AP

This week, President Joe Biden was attempting to manage a hasty retreat from Kabul as the Taliban surged into control of the country. His lonely looking style at Camp David did not inspire confidence.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris
(on screen) hold a video conference with the national security
team to discuss ongoing efforts to draw down our civilian
footprint in Afghanistan, Camp David, Maryland, Aug. 16, 2021
| The White House via Getty Images

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Front Range Grows and Positions Change

Colorado gained 774,000 new residents according to the latest Census data (8-13-21). It was up 14.8 percent, twice the nation’s increase of 7.4 percent. 

Although the bulk of the state’s massive growth settled in the Front Range, there was considerable variation among the largest counties. Weld has surged in the last decade to be one of the state’s fastest growing, with land to build on, water and a healthy agriculture and oil and gas industry.

El Paso, frequently in close contest with Denver, retook the crown as the largest county by about 15,000 residents, with a strong military presence and an effective economic development strategy. Jefferson County’s growth has been slow and will likely lag behind Adams and drop to the fourth largest metro county.

Larimer has joined Douglas County as fast growing. New residents have already changed Larimer’s politics from moderate Republican to Democratic. Douglas continues to produce Republican majorities, but the level of local conflict is on the rise.

Americans Backed the Withdraw, But Support Collapses and Intelligence Fails Again

As I reported in May (Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Has Support, May 27), polls showed Americans lost interest and support for the war in Afghanistan several years ago. Nor was there support for democracy-building. A new Chicago Council Survey (July 7-26) in late July reported that 70 percent of Americans continued to support the withdrawal, including 54 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Democrats. But, those numbers collapsed by 20 points in the latest Morning Consult poll (August 13-16) to 49 percent, with 69 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans.

President Biden will no doubt be held to blame for the chaotic, sudden final retreat from Kabul and the many domestic and foreign advocates for a permanent military presence in Afghanistan will be critical. But, the administration’s biggest failure was in intelligence of the on-the-ground conditions. Biden should not be surprised by the U.S. intelligence failure. President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry were mostly blindsided by the speed and stealth of the Russian move into the Crimea in early 2014 and Obama was calling ISIS a “JV” team in early 2014, and by September, he was adding marines and airstrikes to stop the ISIS advance. This is another president ill-served by his intelligence and national security establishment.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace in Kabul after
 Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Aug. 15, 2021 | AP

Pueblo Continues to Lag State

Pueblo, Colorado
Colorado was the sixth fastest growing state in the union, gaining 774,000 new residents according to the latest Census data (8-13-21). But Pueblo, my home, continues to languish with slow growth, especially compared to the rest of the Front Range.

Pueblo gained a mere 9,000 in the last ten years for 5.7 percent growth while Colorado was up 14.8 percent, twice the nation’s increase of 7.4 percent. El Paso County, Pueblo’s rival to the north, added twelve times more residents (108,000) for 17.4 percent growth.

Pueblo, which in 1960 was the second largest county in the state, is now barely in the top 10, which requires about 300,000 to be a player.

Monday, August 9, 2021

New Voters and Trump Create Democratic State

Colorado is no longer a swing state. As of August 2021, a year out from the 2022 election, there is no sense the Republicans can mount competitive campaigns for governor or senate. They are still debating their Trump loyalty and currently considering exchanging the primary for caucus to reduce the possible “distortion” of unaffiliated voters affecting their nominations and nominees. 

The condition of the party is a major shift from a decade ago and places Colorado outside of what appears could be a very good Republican year. Upwards of six states are rated as having competitive gubernatorial and senate races at this point for 2022. Colorado is not one of them.

A part of the Republican problem is the collapse of voter identification with the party in the last decade. Registration is down 6 points, twice the decline for Democrats. Most of the shift has been to Colorado unaffiliated voters. It is ironic that some in the party consider unaffiliated voters – 43 percent of the electorate – as a mostly hostile bloc.

The significant drop-off in registration began in 2016 as the new voters moving to Colorado and young voters becoming eligible were motivated by national politics to participate. They later shifted their interest to Colorado politics in 2018, all to the benefit of Democrats. Donald Trump was a significant part of the Republican collapse. He lost Colorado by 5 points in 2016, nearly twice his national loss, and 13 points in 2020, more than three times his national loss.

If Colorado Democrats are not successfully challenged in one or more key statewide offices, the Democrats will gain the advantage through the 2024 election cycle.

Republicans Face Long Odds Against Colorado’s Michael Bennet

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet at the Capitol, June 2021
Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
“If there were 10 competitive Senate races, this would be 10, at the bottom of the list. And nothing would change that as of today.” My quote with E&E News (Environment and Energy News by Politico) on July 27 with reporter Timothy Cama.

The article reviews Bennet’s environmental record and my political observations, which include:

“Bennet has raised significant money. There is no particular boiling scandal. And we’re picking up a congressional seat, so that’s carrying a lot of the attention in the state,” he continued, referring to the new House seat Colorado is getting in the next election thanks to the latest U.S. Census count.

Ciruli said Bennet has had issues with an enthusiasm gap in the past, noting that his failed 2020 presidential campaign generated little excitement. “I don’t think Bennet is a jump-up-and-down-with-enthusiasm candidate,” Ciruli said. “On the other hand, he’s a solid senator in a state that, as far as I can tell, still leans highly Democratic.”


“They’ll have a nominee, and it’ll be a contest. But that nominee is going to be burdened in a state where Donald Trump is a pariah,” said Ciruli of the former president, who remains the GOP’s kingmaker.


“We got this new congressional district because we have 700,000 new people,” Ciruli said. “A very significant portion of them are young and well-educated. They came out here for the environment and recreation and the great mountains…”

The shift has been reflected in recent elections. While Bennet struggled with close margins by his 2010 and 2016 races and Gardner unseated Udall in 2014, Gov. Jared Polis (D) won by a comfortable margin in 2018 and President Biden beat President Trump by more than 13 points.

“We’ve had waves of new people in the past that were conservative, but that’s not this group,” Ciruli said. “This group is solidly liberal.”

Friday, August 6, 2021

Orange County Economist Declare Regulations and Taxes Most Responsible for Exodus

Using a sophisticated regression analysis, two Chapman University economists make the case that it’s not climate change or job growth that is most responsible for the exodus of many Californians, especially to Florida. They identify state regulation and state and local taxes as the variables with the highest correlation to population loss highlighted by California losing a congressional seat for the first time in its history as a state (incorporated in 1850). Somewhat surprising, housing cost was not a variable that was identified as having a major impact. Democrats, who generally dominate state politics, normally point to housing and offer various solutions that have not had much impact.

James Doti, former Chapman president and now an economics professor, with fellow professor Raymond Sfeir, director of the Gary Anderson Center for Economics, conducted the study. They present a more conservative slant compared to the public policy and economic analyses from UCLA and other institutions.

The analysis will no doubt be critiqued, but it offers one more data point that California is no longer the land of opportunity and suggests its status as a one-party liberal state may be a significant factor in its loss of attractive power. Source: the Orange County Registrar, August 1, 2021.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

PAPOR Speaker Series: Profiles in Research

The Pacific Chapter of American Association for Public Opinion Research (PAPOR) is proud to invite you to attend PAPOR Speaker Series: Profiles in Research.

This intimate online panel discussion features speakers from the Public Opinion Research community sharing their story. This is a great opportunity for current students or recent graduates interested in networking and learning about career paths in public opinion research. Seasoned researchers will love learning more about their peers.



Tuesday, August 17, 2021 Noon – 1:30 PM Pacific Daylight


The PAPOR Speaker Series is free to students and PAPOR members. Not yet a member? Join PAPOR during registration for $20 to enjoy great content for all of 2021!


Zoom attendance. Attend from the comfort of your own computer.

Videos on 2021 Diplomacy Program: Asia Top U.S. Foreign Policy Theater

Asia is now the primary U.S. foreign policy theater, Japan its critical ally and China the topic. To explore these changing circumstances, The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, with the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver, convened a multi-panel program of experts in March 2021 that addressed foreign policy and public opinion amid the threats and opportunities China presents.

The program focused on the new era of relations with China, the strengthening of alliances in the Indo-Pacific and U.S.-Japan defense policy.

YouTube videos of each program are now online and available to view.

Video on “Free and Open Indo-Pacific and China”

Will the two new administrations build an alliance to protect the Indo-Pacific?

A free and open Indo-Pacific from the Northern Pacific to India is a diplomatic, economic and national security goal of the U.S., Japan, and their friends and allies around the world. The challenges it faces from China’s broad claims of sovereignty and hostile behavior and aggressive rhetoric witnessed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea and elsewhere is the topic of this panel of experts from the Korbel School and Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. (March 24, 2021)

  • Professor Koji Murata – Professor of political science at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan
  • Professor Suisheng Zhao – Professor of foreign policy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies in Denver and director of the Center for China-US Cooperation
  • Professor Floyd Ciruli – Professor of public opinion and foreign policy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research


Video on “Free and Open Indo-Pacific: The Quad”

Can the Quad shift from a concept to reality?

President Joe Biden’s first multilateral meeting was to host the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) in its first meeting of heads of government since it was conceived more than a decade ago. The National Security Advisor described the summit of Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. as a “critical part of the architecture of the Indo-Pacific.” (March 29, 2021)

Join a conversation with experts from the U.S. and Japan on the potential for a joint strategy and unified actions on important issues in the Indo-Pacific region. Can Japan, the U.S., Australia and India be a defender of the rule of law and democratic values? 

  • Professor Nobukatsu Kanehara – Senior advisor to the Asia Group, Tokyo; Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary to Prime Minister Abe; Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Secretariat. Joined by Professors Suisheng Zhao and Floyd Ciruli (see bios above).

The panelists concluded that a new era has been launched in U.S.-China relations. It is now the primary focus of America’s foreign policy and is affecting domestic policy – from resolving the pandemic, to addressing infrastructure to strengthening democracy.


Video on “U.S.-Japan Defense Policy”

As tension and competition in Asia increases, can China be deterred?

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research’s program on U.S. and Japanese diplomacy focused on defense and strategies for avoiding conflict in Asia while protecting a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Join experts on diplomacy, defense and public opinion on the Indo-Pacific region discuss the U.S. and Japanese defense strategy and the Taiwan issue. (March 31, 2021)

The panel was moderated by Floyd Ciruli, director of the Crossley Center.  


Recall Numbers Are Moving. Summer of Discontent.

The virus surge is rapidly darkening the public’s mood and putting some incumbent politicians in danger. President Biden, who has made managing the virus his top priority, is after six months of stable approval ratings, beginning to receive ratings below 50 percent.

In the California recall, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s problem with the virus, mask and inoculation mandates is compounded by raging wildfires, reservoirs at record lows, high crime rates, and a large and visible homeless population.

Support for the recall has been increasing for several weeks, but a new poll (KABC/SurveyUSA) shows opposition to the recall dropping from 48 percent to 40 percent and support for removal at 51 percent.

And the surprise runoff winner in the latest poll would be Kevin Paffrath (27%), a mostly unknown YouTuber who has the good fortune to be the only Democrat in the list of candidates polled.

2021 Crossley Center Scholars

A record of eight second-year students received $10,000 Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research scholarships. Congratulations scholars!

Crossley Scholars

Olivia Barrows
Elizabeth Clemons
Bianca Garcia
John Hense
Phoebe Iguchi
Kylie McKee
Jessica Morris
Christian Thomas

The students submitted an essay of analysis on public opinion of foreign or domestic policy. Several of the essays will be posted.

The Crossley Center promotes the advancement of the field of public opinion research. Understanding the public’s mindset is essential in the decision-making process for public officials, diplomats and businesspeople, and the Center provides those groups and individuals the tools they need to make decisions in the interest of peace, justice and sustainable development.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Is Newsom in Trouble? – Part II

In July, it became obvious to election observers that the California recall primary on September 14, with mail ballots going out starting on August 16, was closer than earlier polls indicated, and as I blogged on July 26, Governor Gavin Newsom’s “primary concern is to get his voters to return ballots.” The blog reported on a poll conducted on July 20 that had “yes” or “no” on the recall within 5 points (43% yes to 48% no). It was just confirmed by a UC Berkeley–LA Times poll that shows the race with 15 to 3 points depending on who turns out, dramatically highlighting Newsom’s voter turnout challenge. Republicans are more attuned to the election and have a higher turnout history in special elections.

Viewing the Berkeley-LA Times data makes clear that Newsom and the Democrats have only a slight majority supporting retention today – 50 percent in both turnout scenarios. The core recall vote of 36 percent is the base Republican-leaning votes in California (Donald Trump got 34%, Newsom’s opponent in 2018 got 38%).

Observers on both sides cite the summer of discontent extending the public’s general unhappiness with politics and the state’s fate. The Delta variant, the mask restrictions, drought, wild fires and the growing sense that the California dream has ended with people, jobs and power moving not into the state, but out.

Newsom’s advantages are no opponents with name identification, a divided Republican Party between the establishment and Trump wing, he has millions to spend, and finally, Democrats realizing this won’t be a walk on the beach.

Biden Holds Steady From Inaugural, Through 100 Days, to Today

Joe Biden’s approval rating has held remarkably steady during his first six months in office. As the polling website 538 records, President Biden began a week after his inauguration with 54 percent and is at 52 percent today.

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research has tracked the Biden presidency with two online Zoom programs and a number of blog posts. View the experts’ opinions on Biden’s start-up after an extraordinary transition and his performance beating expectations after 100 days. The video links follow.

Video Now Available on “President Biden’s First 100 Days”

Did Biden make the grade in the first 100 days? Hear nationally known professors rate President Joe Biden in a discussion led by University of Denver Chancellor Jeremy Haefner with professors Tom Cronin, Andrea Benjamin, Seth Masket and Floyd Ciruli.

The May 4 program was sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Center on American Politics.


Video Now Available on “The First Week: Biden vs. Trump”  

President Joe Biden has inherited a formidable set of challenges, from a pandemic still spreading, a crippled economy, a social justice crisis, an injured political system and a weakened position in a threatening world.

A February Crossley Center Zoom event compared the transitions, the inaugurals, and President Trump’s and President Biden’s first weeks in office with perspectives by former Ambassador Christopher Hill, now at Columbia University; Colorado College professor (retired) and Presidential Scholar Tom Cronin; and Crossley Center Director Floyd Ciruli.


Boebert Pulls Opponent on the Money Escalator

Polarization with social media and some help from the pro- and anti-Trump bases make two Colorado candidates – one Republican and one Democrat – super fundraisers for next year’s 3rd district congressional race.

Charles Ashby, longtime political reporter on the Western Slope (Grand Junction Sentinel), described the lack of transparency in campaigns fundraising with social media and receiving contributions of $200 or less.

I described their success as a product of our polarized politics and the nationalization of a few congressional personalities, like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene. But in Boebert’s case, she’s also lifting her most likely opponent, Democratic State Senator Kerry Donovan, into the top fundraising tier.

Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks at news conference on Capitol
Hill in Washington to complain about Speaker of the
House Nancy Pelosi masking policies and other topics,
July 29, 2021 | Andrew Harnik/AP
Floyd Ciruli, a University of Denver public opinion and foreign policy professor who is director of DU’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, said that’s because many congressional races have attracted national attention, which is polarizing people to donate to candidates who aren’t going to be their representatives in Congress.

While Donovan isn’t widely known on a national level, because Boebert is, Donovan likely is seeing a lot more financial support nationally than she might otherwise, Ciruli said.

“I would assume that the vast majority of that money is outside (of the state) because these are nationalized races,” he said.

“Ms. Boebert has a reputation as a strong Trump person, a gun rights person, and as just a person who can irritate liberals, and that attracts a massive national audience,” Ciruli added. “I can’t imagine that kind of money coming from Colorado. Boebert is a No. 1 target along with (U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor) Greene and a handful of others. Liberal interest groups and wealthy individuals around this country are dedicated to removing her.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2021


If your grandchildren need a summer retreat with fun and lots of water toys, take them to Waco, Texas. We took our two surfing-addicted grandsons – one just starting high school and the other college – to the Barefoot Surf Ranch (BSR) just east of town and the Brazos River.

Do these two kids look like they’re having fun? There are high water slides and lakes for wake boarding. I know it sounds implausible – surfing in Waco in 100 plus degrees? Accommodations are a little primitive, but a lot like a trip to the mountains or other summer retreats. Try it.

Dick Lamm – The Governor Who Led the 1970s Environmental Shift in Colorado Politics Has Passed

Dick Lamm’s election in 1974 as governor brought a generation of leaders, mostly Baby Boomers, into Colorado’s state and local government. They ran his campaign, worked in state government and staffed the campaigns in Colorado for many years. He had the wind of Watergate at his back and was joined in office by new Democratic Senator Gary Hart, Congressperson Tim Wirth, State Treasurer Sam Brown and control of the State House for the first time in many years.

He had begun his political career championing abortion rights when few were engaged on the issue and defeated most of the state’s political and business establishment by championing a ballot initiative to reject the 1976 Winter Olympics, which had already been awarded to the state. The establishment truly disliked him. But, he was highly popular with Colorado independent-style voters. Along with a zero growth philosophy, he was fiscally conservative and as independent of the Democratic Party establishment as the Republicans. Much of what he wrote and said in his career was provocative, frequently foreboding. He ran a quixotic campaign for the presidential nomination in Ross Perot’s Reform Party in 1996. No chance since Perot wanted it. Ultimately, he was a better professor and provocateur than politician.

But, he laid the foundation for nearly 50 years of Democratic governors (Republican Bill Owens from 1998 to 2006 the only exception).

President Jimmy Carter was greeted by a receiving line of
Colorado officials, including from left, Denver Mayor Bill
McNichols, Lt. Gov. George Brown and Gov. Richard.
Lamm. Behind Carter are two of meentourage which traveled
with him on Air Force One, from left, Sen. Floyd Haskell,
D-Colo. and Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., 1977
Photo via Bill Johnson/Denver Post

Read: Colorado Leadership Over Four Decades

The Future of Polling is Linked to the Future of Democracy and They Are Both in Crisis

The problems with polling, especially as seen in the 2020 November election, has been widely described and the crisis of democracy in the U.S. and around the world is the subject of a torrent of programs, reports and books. The link between the twin crises of polling and democracy is described and discussed in a series of presentations with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI at DU), a nonprofit adult educational foundation, and Floyd Ciruli of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver. Polling needs democracy to survive and democracy has become highly dependent upon and benefited from polling. View the two programs presented by OLLI and the Crossley Center.

Video on "Polling in 2020 and Its Future"

Join members of OLLI in a program on the election polling in November 2020 and what it means for democracy in the U.S. Floyd Ciruli, director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, presented and answered questions on what happened to the polls in 2020 and the future of election polls.

The video begins directly with lecture and PowerPoint slides. If you would like a copy of the slides, contact the Crossley Center at: Floyd.ciruli@du.edu. 


Video on "American Democracy in Crisis"

Hear the “American Democracy in Crisis” webinar sponsored by the Boulder OLLI Speaker Series held on February 3. The insurrection on January 6, 2021 was a 9/11 event for democracy. The transition of power – a bedrock element of American democracy from George Washington through Barack Obama – was directly challenged by a mob motivated, assembled and inspired by President Donald Trump, his family and retainers.

The OLLI webinar describes the four years of damage to American democracy and the serious threats that lie ahead. 


Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather at the
west entrance of the Capitol during a “Stop the Steal” protest in
Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021 | Stephanie Keith/Reuters

Monday, August 2, 2021

Join Ambassador Chris Hill at WorldDenver

Ambassador Christopher Hill will speak in Denver at a WorldDenver event on August 25, 2021 at 6:00 pm. The former dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is now a professor of diplomacy at Columbia University. He remains close to his State Department friends and the Biden administration. His comments will be well informed.

WorldDenver is an excellent organization bringing top foreign affairs experts to Colorado. As the flyer states, this reception is for past, present and prospective members (click here to register).

Freedom Dies in Hong Kong

President Xi Jinping, and his Chinese Communist Party, fresh from celebrating their 50th anniversary, have just accomplished the mission started in early 2020. They are extinguishing any political freedom in Hong Kong, an abrogation of understandings of the handover in 1997 (one country, two systems).

Fearful of children’s books and stories, publishers were rounded up and placed in custody with black hoods. The CCP wants a more docile Hong Kong citizen, and education from colleges to children’s books are now the target. The new 2020 national security law, which uses vague language outlining succession, subversion, collusion with foreign powers and terrorism provides sweeping authority for Hong Kong security police. It was used earlier against newspaper reporters with Apple Daily.

Xi Jinping has turned China into a parish for democracy preferring people, which is visible in polls, and the growing international alliance of anti-Chinese human rights policies.

A hooded suspect led by a police officer during the arrests of five
leaders of a speech therapists’ union in Hong Kong,
July 22, 2021 | Vincent Yu/Associated Press