Friday, November 18, 2022

Colorado Midterm Election Turnout

The turnout in the 2018 midterm was 76 percent of voters, considered very high for Colorado and nationally. More than 2,581,000 of 3,380,000 registered active voters returned ballots.

As of November 14, 2,557,000 voters turned in ballots that had been counted or less than the total returned in 2018. It equals 67 percent of the 3,825,000 registered voters in the system, a considerable falloff in turnout from 2018.

Colorado Midterm Election Turnout

RELATED: Colorado Midterm Election Turnout Forecast

Friday, November 4, 2022

Back to the Fundamentals

After a month of leading in many polls, Democrats in early October saw significant erosion of their position. Polling results began to show a trend back toward Republican candidates and preference in the generic ballot test. A Democratic boost based on the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision was short lived. A shift of 4 points was measured in the Monmouth and Siena/New York Times polls toward the Republicans by mid-October. It was noticeable in a host of senate and governors’ races in competitive states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. Analysts attributed the shift to a variety of factors such as the salience of inflation in the media, an unpopular President, and importantly, the normal return to fundamentals of the midterm voters.

Midterm Election Forerunners

In the West, Republicans also began to improve their positions during October in Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, but late polls show mostly close races. Nevada is now a toss-up state, with Republicans in a slight lead but both the governor and senate race in the margin of error (2 points on November 4). In Arizona, the senate race has grown competitive with Mark Kelly having only a 1-point lead and Kari Lake, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, is now up 2 points. Her strengths may be affecting the senate race. Although Democrat Patty Murray may still win her senate race, the numbers have tightened, and in Oregon, Republican Christine Drazan is ahead in a three-party race in a Blue state.

READ: Trump’s Team Make Inroads in Arizona and Nevada

Unaffiliated Voter Returns Ahead of Partisans

As of Friday, November 4, four days out from the midterm election, a total of 1,099,847 ballots have been returned and unaffiliated voters are more than 4 points ahead of each of the partisan camps.

Colorado Ballot Returns

Unaffiliated voter registration began surging the last ten years during Colorado decade of rapid growth. It now is more than 700,000 votes ahead of each of the partisan parties. Registration is 46 percent of voters, a jump from 38 percent in 2018. Democrats are 28 percent, Republicans 25 percent.

Are Popular Governors Helping Their Ticket?

Both Democratic and Republican governors are ahead of the competition in battleground states where their partisan senate candidates are in difficult fights. Having a strong partisan ally at the top of the ticket has helped many partisans below. Governors tend to be the best known and most influential partisans in a state.

In Pennsylvania—John Fetterman is now only a point ahead, but the Democratic gubernatorial candidate—Josh Shapiro, is up 11. Mike DeWine, popular Republican Ohio Governor is helping Senate candidate J.D. Vance. On the Republican side Brian Kemp in Georgia is up 8 and his fellow partisan senate candidate Herschel Walker has inched ahead 1. Kati Lake in Arizona has moved ahead 2 and the Democrat Mark Kelly, has slipped back to 1 point. In Colorado, Jared Polis has been up more than 10 percent during the campaign and Michael Bennet is holding 5 points opposite a strong opponent. The expected massive victories of Gavin Newsom in California, Greg Abbot in Texas and Ron DeSantis are all helping their respective states partisan tickets.

KOA Live Election Night Coverage

The 2022 midterm election promises many close races and some surprises. 850 KOA will broadcast live coverage from 6 PM to 11 PM on election night, November 8.

In the booth will be iHeartMedia executive producer Ryan Schuiling managing field reporters and guest interviews. I will join him for political analysis of both the national trends and the Colorado returns, which should flow in quickly after 7:00 PM.

Some questions:

  • Was the swing in the Congressional race a surprise? If divided government, what’s next in Washington?
  • Did Colorado Republicans recover from the 2018 midterms? If not, what’s next for the party?
  • Who won the new congressional district in Colorado? Was the Lauren Boebert race tight?
  • Will wine be in more stores, psychedelics legalized?
  • Is the 2024 presidential race Biden vs. Trump? If not, who’s in the field?

See the blog Ciruli Buzz for more background on the election.
https://fciruli.blogspot.com/

KOA

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Colorado Midterm Election Turnout Forecast

The turnout in the 2018 midterm was 76 percent of voters, considered very high for Colorado and nationally. More than 2,580,000 of 3,380,000 registered active voters returned ballots.

If the turnout percentage is similar this year, Colorado can expect approximately 2,900,000 given the current active registration of 3,800,000.

Colorado Midterm Voter Turnout

But If there is less motivation in any of the major voter segments, i.e., younger, Latino, Trump Republicans etc., turnout will then lag and fall below the 2.9 million.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Anti-Trans Mailers to Hispanic Voters – KOA Interview

Marty Lenz in our October 28 KOA interview, asked about reported anti-trans advertising targeting Spanish-speaking Colorado voters.

I described it as part of the strategy to reduce Hispanic voter support for Democratic candidates. The new 8th Congressional district, which has 40 percent Hispanic voters, is the likely target. The race is considered one of the most competitive in the country.

The Denver Post and Colorado Sun reported it as a part of a national strategy that claims President Joe Biden and his “leftist allies are indoctrinating your children” with pro-trans information.

READ:
Spanish-speaking Colorado voters target of transphobic mailers

Political analyst Floyd Ciruli discusses the issues facing Colorado voters

LISTEN:
Will Colorado Republicans Get Support from the National Surge? KOA

KOA

Unaffiliated Gain Bulk of New Voters

Colorado just gained a new congressional seat reflecting a decade of rapid growth that spilled over into 2020 until the pandemic mostly stopped it.

There are more than 400,000 new voters since 2018, for a total of 3.8 million.

Colorado Registration Changes Since 2018

Since the last midterm election new voters are mostly registered unaffiliated – up 450,000. Parties saw modest change with people joining and quitting (Democrat up 17 and Republican down 56). Also, as of November 1, unaffiliated voters are the largest segment of returned ballots.

Will Colorado Republicans Win More Than 45% of the Vote?

Donald Trump’s been a loser in Colorado elections winning only 43 percent against Hillary Clinton in 2016 (-5%) and 42% in 2020 against Biden (-13%). But, he was also a disaster in the 2018 midterms when the Republican party was wiped out in statewide offices and also lost by 11 points a Congressional seat Republicans had held since its creation in 1983 (Jason Crow-D beats Mike Coffman-R).

Democrats won across the board in 2018 with no Republican including the incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams getting more than 45 percent of the vote. Jared Polis won the governorship by 10 points against Walker Stapleton (43%). Stapleton had Trump’s “complete and total endorsement.”

Will any of the 2022 Republicans who have mostly tried to shed their relationship with Trump win more than 45 percent?

Colorado Elections, 2018

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Has the Boebert Race Gotten Close - Bloomberg

Bloomberg Government just published (10-24-22) an analysis suggesting the Lauren Boebert race has gotten close and she’s had to go on the attack to defend it.

I suggested to reporter Zack Cohen that if she loses it will be the story of the election in Colorado and that even running behind the 9 percent partisan advantage she has will show vulnerability. Her opponent, Adam Frisch, has run an aggressive campaign and raised more than $1.7 million.

A poll by Keating Research showed Frisch (10-2-22) only 2 percentage points behind Boebert. I pointed out that Keating is an excellent pollster but that the 3rd Congressional District is difficult to poll. While Colorado voted for Joe Biden by 13 percent, Donald Trump carried the 3rd Congressional District by 7 percent. National pollsters agree that missing pro-Trump voters is the major challenge. The rural, small towns and working class areas have many voters who do not cooperate with polls.

Adam Frisch and Lauren Boebert Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, left, and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican incumbent (AP file photos)

As I said to Bloomberg Government:

Following those controversies, polling by Frisch and his allies showed the contest narrowing. A survey by Colorado-based Keating Research for Frisch between Sept. 28-Oct. 2 of 500 likely voters found Boebert besting Frisch by only two points, 47- 45%, within the poll’s 4.4% margin of error, despite overrepresenting the number of Republicans in the district. The same pollster had found Boebert leading by a wider 49- 42% when it was in the field July 21-25. That survey had a 4.2% margin of error.

Floyd Ciruli, director of the University of Denver’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, vouched for Keating’s “good reputation” but said in an interview he was skeptical of the survey results given the difficulty of polling the district’s populist Republicans who eschew pollsters as much they distrust government or media.

I’m having a hard time seeing that this is going to be an upset,” Ciruli said. “If it is, then it is, as I say, mark it down as one of the really big ones in the country.”

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rates Boebert’s seat as “safe Republican,” while Sabato’s Crystal Ball designates it as a slightly more competitive “likely Republican.”

READ:
Gun-Toting Boebert Escalates Attacks in Colorado Political Duel

A new poll indicates Lauren Boebert’s Democratic challenger has a shot.

Will Colorado Republicans Get Support from the National Surge? KOA

In a Friday conversation with KOA morning anchor Marty Lenz, we discussed Colorado’s top competitive races (10-28-22). I pointed out that since early October Republicans have gained ground around the country as concern about inflation replaced abortion as a top issue. Democrats were hopeful they could hold the House of Representatives or only lose a few seats. Today, many national prognosticators believe the Democrat loss could go to 30 or more seats (Trump lost 41 in 2018, Obama 63, 2010).

Although polling is sparse, the Colorado races in which Republicans have been behind could be tightening due to the national trends.

Listen to interview: KOA: Colorado's Morning News with Marty Lenz

KOA News Talk Sports

Friday, October 28, 2022

Republicans’ Fortunes Improved in West

Arizona polling averages (RCP) remain within the margin of error but over the last few weeks have shifted toward Republican candidates. Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for Governor’s average doubled since October 16 (1%/10-16-22), and Mark Kelly, the Democratic frontrunner for Senate, has seen his average drop from 4 to 2 points since October 3.

Midterm Election Poll D for Democrat, R for Republican, front runners lead on October 3 and 24/Real Clear Politics

In Nevada and Oregon, Republicans are ahead for governor (Lombardo 2% and Drazan 2%) and the Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt is 1 point up in Nevada. All five the races are extremely close but appear to be moving Republican in voter sentiment.

READ: https://fciruli.blogspot.com/2022/10/trumps-team-make-inroads-in-arizona-and.html

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Lots of Late Polls, Questions on Sources and Methods

As Colorado balloting starts polls begin surfacing claiming candidates are doing better than the conventional wisdom claims. One just appeared to show Joe O’Dea in a tight Senate race with Michael Bennet and another, Adam Frisch, is beating Lauren Boebert by five points in the 3rd Congressional District.

The O’Dea poll is from the Senate Opportunity Fund (9-27-22) a PAC for Republican Senate candidates. A host of polls since the summer show Bennet ahead by at least 6 points. The current average from Real Clear Politics’ site polls is 8.

The Frisch poll was conducted by Center Street PAC (10-6-22) and polled 144 registered voters (some not in the district), showing a 45 to 40 percent advantage for Frisch. The last credible poll showed Boebert up 2 points (the closeness of which was a surprise).

Late Poll in Colorado

It is possible the two polls are not outliers and captured trends, O’Dea and Frisch may even win. It will be major news if it happens. Late conducted polls are mostly fundraising devices and efforts to change the expectations of elites, especially in the media.

READ: POLL: Lauren Boebert Tied With Adam Frisch in Colorado-03 Among Registered Voters, But Frisch Struggles to Raise Awareness

SOF Polling (10/4/22) Memorandum
https://www.axios.com/2022/10/04/lauren-boebert-tied-democrat-midterm-poll

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Denver Press Club Hosts Election Panel

Ballots are out, after November 8, who will control Congress? Will Colorado Republicans recover from their 2018 debacle? Did the mail back voting work? Is 2024 Biden vs. Trump? The Denver Press Club will host a post-election panel of Colorado political pundits to examine the election results, the impact and what’s next.

Denver Press Club Panelists

The panel:

  • Patty Calhoun, Editor, Westward
  • Dick Wadhams, Republican consultant, commentator, former state party chair
  • Steve Welchert, Democrat consultant, commentator, directs numerous ballot and congressional campaigns
  • Luigi Del Puerto, Editor, Colorado Politics
  • Floyd Ciruli, Director, Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at DU

Political analyst Floyd Ciruli will moderate the panel at 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 10, at the Denver Press Club on 1330 Glenarm Place. The event is free for members and $10 for non-members.

RSVP HERE

Can Caruso Win the L.A. Mayor’s Race?

LA Mayor Candidates Congresswoman Karen Bass and billionaire businessman Rick Caruso to face off in the November general election. (Bass photo by John McCoy/AP; Caruso photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Since the June 7, 2022, primary it has been assumed Congressperson Karen Bass, who won by 7 points (43% to 36%) was the strong frontrunner over developer Rick Caruso for the November 8 election. In a Democratic majority city during a midterm election, she appeared to hold the advantage. Indeed, she has the near unanimous endorsements of the Democratic party and the municipal establishment from President Biden on down.

However, Caruso didn’t give up and has spent a total of $80 million on what is now a saturation advertising and direct voter contact campaign. Polls are mixed but it appears the race has closed with a new poll claiming Caruso is ahead by 3 points.

LA MAYOR’S ELECTION 2022

The latest poll of only a sample of 400 likely voters, could be an outlier but it may reflect a growing disenchantment with the entire City Hall establishment due to the explosive tape on redistricting city council districts. Along with crime and homelessness, Caruso’s main theme has been “an outsider is the solution to the persistent corruption in City Hall”. Polls mostly show a quarter of the electorate still undecided. Do they break for Bass or is this a tight race to the end?

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Are the Democrats Over Playing Abortion?

With two weeks left in the mid-term election and almost a quarter of the vote already cast Colorado Democrats are hoping the abortion issue will be sufficient to support another cross-the-board victory like 2018. Unfortunately, all the national signs are that abortion has faded in public concern and inflation, which Democrats and especially President Biden get blamed for, is becoming dominant.

Valerie Richardson in a conservative Washington Times article quoted Dick Wadhams and me on the issue in reference to Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

Washington Times:

For Democrats, however, there are signs that the abortion issue, which shot to the forefront after the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturning Roe v. Wade, is running out of steam.

“The effect of the Dobbs decision has really slowed, and with these increasing reports of inflation and the economy and then I’ll throw in crime, especially here in Colorado, I think it definitely makes O’Dea competitive to win this thing,” said Mr. Wadhams.

Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli said that Democrats “have put everything, including these independent operations, into abortion.”

“Well, abortion is an issue that decays quicky. It turns over,” said Mr. Ciruli, director of the University of Denver’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research. “People get tired of it. And now the economy is the big nasty issue.”

As a result, he said, “there’s a sense, including in the O’Dea race, that the Democrats are going to have to revise their strategy for these last few weeks. They’re going to need to change themes or step it up, because that’s an advantage for him at this point.”

Joe O'Dea, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Joe O'Dea, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

He compared the race to the 2014 Senate contest in which Democratic Sen. Mark Udall placed an enormous emphasis on women’s issues, earning the nickname 'Mark Uterus,' and ultimately lost to Republican Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, that was the only issue he played, and by Oct. 1, the national tide that was helping Cory pulled forward, and he eked it out. Is that happening here?

"I don’t know," Mr. Ciruli said. "But that’s a Democratic concern."

READ: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/oct/20/joe-odea-gambles-big-colorados-independent-voters-/

Monday, October 24, 2022

Western Pollsters Gather – Analyze 2022 Midterm and the Politics of 2024

PAPOR

The annual conference of the Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (PAPOR) will meet in San Francisco December 1 and 2 to present new research on public opinion trends.

One of the popular panels titled “Election Issues in Western States” will sift through the results of the 2022 midterm and discuss the likely political changes, including a preview of 2024. The panel assembles California’s top pollsters and political analysts with colleagues from Western states.

panelists

Scheduled to attend are:

  • Mark DiCamillo – Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll
  • Mark Baldassare – President of the Public Policy Institute of California, conducts statewide polls
  • Brianne Gilbert – Director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles (StudyLA), senior lecturer at LMU
  • Floyd Ciruli – Director of the Crossley Center of Public Opinion Research at University of Denver

Also invited to comment is Mark Barabak, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, who regularly covers western political trends and, of course, California.

I will moderate the panel and discuss the midterm election trends in Western States, especially Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, and the polls and results in Colorado.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Politico: Can Colorado Be the Seat That Decides Senate Control?

Michael Bennet and Joe O'Dea

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Joe O'Dea, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. (AP Photo)

In a long review of the Colorado senate race, Politico’s Natalie Allison concluded the race doesn’t appear as competitive as most expected. I agreed and said as of October 16 the race was still the Democrats’ to lose. The Republicans would need a very strong closing to make it a “sleeper state”:

“Floyd Ciruli, a longtime Colorado pollster who now directs the University of Denver’s polling program, said political observers in the state entered the election believing there was a chance the Senate seat could flip.

“Ciruli said there’s no question inflation is voters’ No. 1 concern, and that Biden isn’t particularly popular there. And he doesn’t doubt that polling this year – Colorado no exception – is missing the full extent of the populist vote. All the same, disenchantment with national Democrats doesn’t seem to be rushing in a red wave in Colorado,” he said.

“We could be surprised on the 8th, but at the moment where the polls are, there’s the sense that Independent voters just may not be available to the Republicans” this year in Colorado, Ciruli said.
READ: The sleeper state Republicans are targeting to win the Senate

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Trump’s Team Make Inroads in Arizona and Nevada

The midterm elections in western states reflect the polarization of the nation’s politics with a 22-point Democratic win for governor in California but three possible pickups by former President Trump’s endorsed candidates for senate and governor in Nevada and governor in Arizona.

The Trump road show is a frequent visitor to western states but doesn’t stop in Colorado or cross the Colorado River into California. President Biden just visited both states.

RCP front runners RCP, D for Democrat, R for Republican, front runners lead on October 3 and October16.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Biden Comes to Colorado. Are the Races Over?

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame.
Photo courtesy of the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame.

With President Biden in Colorado to make Camp Hale a national monument, many political observers pointed out the President, with a 40 percent approval rating, is only going to states he can help and not hurt the candidate. Does that mean Colorado’s senate and governor’s race are now seen as mostly beyond a serious Republican threat?

(October 16 Real Clear Politics polling average: Bennet up 7%, Polis up 14%)

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
President Joe Biden speaks at Camp Hale after declaring the WWII training ground a national monument. Oct. 12, 2022. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
President Joe Biden speaks at Camp Hale after declaring the WWII training ground a national monument. Oct. 12, 2022.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Denver Press Club Hosts Election Panel

Election Retrospective

The Denver Press Club will host a post-election panel of Colorado political experts to examine the November 8 election results.

  • Patty Calhoun, Editor, Westword
  • Dick Wadhams, Republican consultant, commentator, former state party chair
  • Steve Welchert, Democrat consultant, commentator, directs numerous ballot and congressional campaigns
  • Luigi Del Puerto, Editor, Colorado Politics

Political analyst Floyd Ciruli will moderate the panel at 7:00 PM on Thursday, November 10, at the Denver Press Club on 1330 Glenarm Place. The event is free for members and $10 for non-members.

RSVP HERE

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Newsom in 2024 Shadow Primary

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

Both political parties have shadow primaries under way. A large Republican field is campaigning for the 2024 presidential nomination. They are visiting Iowa and New Hampshire, giving speeches at the Nixon and Reagan presidential libraries, and writing and promoting books. Their positions range from Donald Trump accolades wanting to see if he runs, to anti-Trumpers claiming to be running regardless of what he does.

Democrats, even with a seated President, also have a shadow primary under way. It's based on the assumption that Biden may not run for re-election. No one in the field is publicly breaking with him, but age, polls, and possibly a bad midterm election are weighting the side of one term.

Not surprisingly, Vice President Kamala Harris is the front-runner in a Morning Consult poll just released. She had 28 percent of the Democrats polled, with one-quarter of voters undecided. The results reflect a decline in Harris’s support since December 2021 of 5 points, down from 33 percent.

Among the nearly 50 percent of the Democrats in favor of other candidates, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was in second position with 13 percent.

Shadow Democrats Primary

Gavin Newsom, with 6 percent, joins the pack of liberals, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (8%) and Elizabeth Warren (7%) who jockey for third place in the field. Newsom’s standing with Democratic voters doubled in the last year, no doubt reflecting his high-profile challenge to Republican governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbot. Democrats should expect to see more of him as the political focus shifts to 2024 after the November 8th midterms.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Will Ticket Splitters Save Colorado Republicans?

Voting Signs

After some early optimism about Republican Joe O'Dea's election chances, new bipartisan polls show the race about 9 to 10 points in favor the incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet ( Keating, Magellan poll 46-36 Bennet - 10/2/22). Although it's still a month out and the economy is deteriorating, the race does not appear close. The governor's race is even worse with Heidi Ganahl polling an average of 13 points behind Jared Polis.

Real Clear Politics October 3, 2022

Hence, the question, will ticket splitters help Republicans in two other statewide races for Secretary of State and Treasurer? Although ticket splitting has declined both nationally and in Colorado in recent years, the state does have many unaffiliated voters and Republicans have nominated strong candidate for the positions. If they fail it will solidify Colorado's reputation as a blue state and suggest that the Republican Party's relationship with controversial views on abortion and Trump's big lie has damaged their reputation even in down ballot races.

Affordable Housing a Winner, Psychedelics a Loser

Affordable Housing

Colorado voters will pick their way through 11 ballot issues. With inflation and crime top issues, affordable housing may become the most and psychedelic drugs the least popular propositions.

The last decade in Colorado increased the urban, youth and independent (unaffiliated) vote. Polls show among these groups affordable housing, a sub-set of inflation, is a primary issue. It could benefit Proposition 123 that creates a fund to "reduce rents, purchase land for affordable housing developments," address homelessness, etc. Its passage would put the issue on the state-wide political map.

An initiative (Proposition 122) to decriminalize psychedelic drugs, will likely lose as a victim of the Fentanyl crime scare. Its defeat will signal a retreat from Colorado's drug decriminalization phase begun in 2012 with marijuana.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

November Election Will Make a Difference for Ukraine

The U.S. has been the major funder, weapons supplier and international cheerleader for Ukraine and its independence. That may be ending soon. Polling shows that although Americans overall support Ukraine, a significant segment of the Republican party (46%) believes the U.S. should "end the conflict quickly, even if it allows Russia to keep territory" versus "support Ukraine in reclaiming territory even if it prolongs the conflict." Democrats prefer the supporting Ukraine option offered in a recent Gallup poll by 79%.

U.S. ROLE IN UKRAINE WAR Gallup Poll

With the possibility that the Republican party takes control of the House and Senate, further financial support for Ukraine may become much more difficult.

Inflation, Abortion Top Issues

In a recent interview I said the Republican running in Colorado's redesigned 7th Congressional district needs to "go on the offensive" with crime and inflation if he was to win. A new Fox News poll agrees. It reports inflation (59%), future of democracy (50%), abortion policy (45%) and high crime rates (43%), the top issues with inflation and crime rates helping Republicans, and abortion and democracy helping Democrats.

Fox News Poll September 9-12

Related: Combustible Issues, New Faces - Denver Post

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Western Pollsters Gather to Examine 2022 Midterm and The Politics of 2024

PAPOR
The annual conference of the Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (PAPOR) will meet in San Francisco December 1 and 2 to sift through the results of the 2022 midterm and discuss the likely political changes, including a preview of 2024.

The panel assembles California's top pollsters and political analysts with colleagues from Western states. Scheduled to attend are:

  • Mark DiCamillo – Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll
  • Mark Baldassare – President of Public Policy Institute of California
  • Floyd Ciruli – Director of the Crossley Center of Public Opinion Research
PAPOR Panelists

I will moderate the panel, providing an overview of the midterm political impact in Western states and the results in Colorado.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Denver Press Club Hosts Post Election Panel

Who Controls Congress? Did Republicans Recover In Colorado?

The Denver Press Club will host a post-election panel of Colorado political experts to examine the November 8 election results—surprises and the expected and how it affects 2024.

Political analyst Floyd Ciruli will moderate the panel at 6:30 PM on Thursday, November 10, at the Denver Press Club on 1330 Glenarm Place across from the DAC.

Denver Press Club and Floyd Ciruli
Denver Press Club photo (left) By Jeffrey Beall; Floyd Ciruli (right), Director of the Crossley Center of Public Opinion Research

New Poll Reality Check for Republicans

A new poll from Colorado's Fox news outlet shows Democrats still dominating the top races for senate and governor.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is 10 points ahead of GOP challenger Joe O'Dea, 46 percent to 36 percent with 14 percent undecided. Less surprising, Governor Jared Polis is 17 points ahead of Republican nominee Heidi Ganahl.

FOX NEWS – 31 POLLFOX NEWS – 31 POLL

This poll is especially damaging for O'Dea, who was hoping for polls showing a close post-Labor Day race to attract the money and attention he needs to pull off an upset. Bennet is not yet over 50 percent but he's winning the unaffiliated vote by 15 points.

The challenge is that both Republican candidates are still not well known by the voters and Democrats have a significant financial advantage in the races. The advertising, much of it negative, is just beginning.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Combustible Issues, New Faces - Denver Post

John Aguilar profiles the contest in the redrawn 7th Congressional district which presents familiar but combustible 2022 issues of inflation, abortion, crime, and election denial with two new candidates in an open seat. Although Washington-based pundits rate the district “lean” or “likely” Democratic, it is still Colorado’s second most competitive race.

I offered that the Republican candidate will have to be aggressive on issues of crime and inflation. Democrat Brittany Pettersen has at least two big advantages over Republican Erik Aadland – 13,000 more registered Democrats and nearly 3 times more money to spend as of the end of June.

Congressional District 7 Democratic candidate Brittany Pettersen, center, speaks to supporters during a campaign event at Holidaily Brewing Company on Sept. 11, 2022, in Golden. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post) Congressional District 7 Democratic candidate Brittany Pettersen, center, speaks to supporters during a campaign event at Holidaily Brewing Company on Sept. 11, 2022, in Golden. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Floyd Ciruli, director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver, said Aadland will have to hit his opponent hard on the issue of rising crime.

"She has to deal with it – it will be one of the issues that every Democrat will have to deal with," he said.

Erik Aadland, GOP contender for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District goes door to door meeting with potential voters on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Golden. (Photo by Chet Strange/Special to the Denver Post)
Erik Aadland, GOP contender for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District goes door to door meeting with potential voters on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Golden. (Photo by Chet Strange/Special to the Denver Post)

The other big opening for Aadland in the race, Ciruli said, is inflation.

The New York Times reported that prices at the grocery store, where consumers feel it most, have soared 13.5 percent in the last year – the sharpest spike since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

“(Aadland) will need to go on the offense with his issues, especially inflation,” Ciruli said.

Read: https://www.denverpost.com/2022/09/18/brittany-pettersen-erik-aadland-7th-congressional-district-election-2022

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Colorado Senate Race Barometer

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, left, and Republican nominee Joe O’Dea

The Colorado senate race is being closely followed by the national media for indications of a Republican tide that could sweep even an incumbent out of a state that has been supporting Democrats since 2016.

In July, Mark Barabak wrote a column for the L.A. Times, “How bad could November be for Democrats? Watch this Senate race and see.” (7-26-22). I said it about incumbent Democrat Michael Bennett.

"He’s not in danger yet,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster who has spent decades surveying Colorado voters. “But [President] Biden is in terrible shape and if that becomes a major factor, a lot of candidates we assume would be safe could be in trouble.”

The Denver Post updated the senate race in a weekend story by Nick Coltrain (9-10-22). He reported that mixed signals from polls still don’t show a Republican win and that the national party has not put much money behind their candidate, Joe O’ Dea. (Since the story appeared, McConnell gave $500,000)

Read:
How bad could November be for Democrats? Watch this Senate race and see
How close is Colorado’s U.S. Senate race? Campaigns ready for a ‘dogfight’

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Water Shortage Is a Top Public Concern

Three new public polls report that water supply and shortage is a top concern for the public. Although many parts of the country are dealing with drought and excessive heat, this summer the problem was especially acute in the western United States.

A recent YouGov poll shows that overall concern about water shortages among Americans is 44 percent, but concern rises to 63 percent among residents living in western states. The panel survey of 7,627 adults was conducted in August 2022.

YouGov Poll on Water Shortage 08-2022

New surveys in California indicate that concern about water shortage is even more intense among its residents. The latest Berkeley IGS poll reports that 71 percent of voters stated the current water shortage was “extremely serious.”

A Public Policy Institute of California poll conducted in July agreed. In it, more than two-thirds of Californians said that water supply issues were a “big problem” in their part of the state. Californians were also likely to say water supply and drought are currently the top environmental issues facing the state.

CA Surveys on Water Shortage 08-2022

The Berkeley IGS survey was conducted online August 2022 with 9,264 registered voters. The Public Policy Institute of California poll was conducted July 8-15, 2022, with 1648 adult residents by Ipsos with its online KnowledgePanel.


Berkeley IGS Poll – Seven in ten Californians describe the state’s water shortage as “extremely serious” https://escholarship.org/uc/item/49g699h5

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment https://www.ppic.org/publication/ppic-statewide-survey-californians-and-the-environment-july-2022/

Monday, September 12, 2022

Colorado Candidates Call for Water Solutions

Colorado Water Congress hears from Sen. John Hickenlooper at its summer convention in Steamboat Springs. Aug. 24, 2022
Fresh Water News/Courtesy photo

Jerd Smith, reporter for Fresh Water News, wrote the Colorado Water Congress summer convention (8-23-22) of the state’s water leaders heard from the top candidates for governor and U.S. Senate offer specific water solutions to the drought conditions and stress on Colorado’s water supply.

She quoted me saying, “Political pollster Floyd Ciruli said that so many candidates spoke at the water conference was an indicator of the national attention that Western water shortages are generating, and he gave the politicos credit for providing on-point suggestions for what could be done.”

“All four of these candidates were ready for today, Ciruli said. “All of them talked about water.”

Read: Water confab: Colorado politicos call for more water storage, smart growth

Friday, September 9, 2022

Why Was Priola Changing Parties a National Story – Koa Interview

August 24, 2022

State Senator Kevin Priola switching from the Republican to Democratic Party was in the Washington Post and covered nationally. Pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli suggests the story fit the major theme of national politics at the moment. The Republican Party, which was expected to win a landslide victory in November, has been losing momentum the last couple of weeks, noticeably in terms of news coverage, polling, special elections, and the assessment of political professionals. Even Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, expressed concern that they might not win the Senate due to candidate quality.

Priola, a moderate Republican, after more than a decade in the legislature declared election deniers should not be in power. He said, “We need Democrats in charge.” He also cited the refusal to address climate change as a primary reason to switch parties.

Colorado has been a difficult state for Republicans since the middle of the last decade and they were hopeful they would benefit this year from a national wave of support. Priola’s party change was an indication that Republicans were still struggling with the election denial controversy. 

Listen: Political analyst Floyd Ciruli on State Senator Priola switching parties


KOA Talk Radio


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Turnout Low and More Votes in Republican Primary

Credit: KOA
As opposed to the 2018 primary when more votes went to the Democratic candidates, the Republicans dominated the turnout in 2022 when they had the competitive primaries. It was also a quieter political year. Turnout dropped from 37 percent to 31 percent.

In 2018, 1.1 million voted, with 637,000 in the Democratic primary for governor (Jared Polis won), the top vote-getting race, and 503,000 voted for the Republican gubernatorial candidates (Walker Stapleton won). Today, the total vote with about 99 percent counted is the nearly the same at 1.2 million in spite of 500,000 more registered voters (3.3 to 3.8 million). The Republican primary attracted more voters (617,000 to 497,000).

High Unaffiliated Voter Turnout in Republican Primary

Unaffiliated voters broke two records – one for total turnout, 100,000 more than 2018, and another for voting in the Republican primary.

In 2018, 290,000 unaffiliated voted, with about two-thirds (200,000) voting in the Democratic primary and 90,000, or one-third of the total voting Republican. This year, 400,000 voted. It was 41 percent voted Republican and 30 percent Democratic.

Closest Race in State

The closest race in the Colorado primary was House District 6 in central Denver, expanding east along Colfax. Progressive Elisabeth Epps has won with 7,460 votes, defeating centrist Katie March with 7,087, with few votes left to count.

The race received extensive coverage as an example of the struggle in the Democratic Party between its progressive wing and more moderate forces. The district contest was also seen as a prelude to next year’s mayor’s race as Mayor Hancock retires.

Read: Crime, A Democratic Party Conflict. Denver Legislative and Mayor’s Races.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Battle for Soul of Party – 2020 Election Deniers Soundly Rejected

Credit: KOA
In a June 22 KOA interview with Marty Lenz, the June 28 Republican primaries were described as a battle for the soul of the party. 

I pointed out that the November election is likely to be a good year for Republican candidates, and primary voters are being asked: Do you want the strongest candidate to appeal to Colorado unaffiliated and swing voters or the loudest candidate to express your grievance with the 2020 election?

In the Senate, gubernatorial, and Secretary of State races, high-profile election denier candidates lost the Republican Party primary after winning the state convention’s top positions: Ron Hanks (Senate), Greg Lopez (Governor) and Tina Peters (Secretary of State). Donald Trump and his 2020 election denial is a losing position among Colorado Republicans. The party will field its establishment-endorsed and supported ticket for November. 

Democrats’ Intervention in Republican Primary Fails

The Democratic Party and associated groups entered the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, governor, Secretary of State and the new 8th Congressional District to promote the most conservative candidate, which they believed would be the easiest to defeat in November. Their advertisement theme was “too conservative to Colorado” in an effort to stir up the Republican base voters. They wasted their money – election deniers lost and the more moderate establishment candidates won.

  • Senate – Ron Hanks lost
  • Governor – Greg Lopez lost
  • Secretary of State – Tina Peters lost
  • 8th Congressional District – Lori Saine lost

In a KOA radio interview with Marty Lenz, I pointed out that the Democrats’ effort came under considerable criticism for being unethical, counterproductive to their values and ineffective. The ads are fundamentally deceptive to the voters; with an attempt to manipulate Republican turnout, they disparaged democratic values the Democrats claim to want to protect; and they were counterproductive in that they gave the non-election denier candidate some additional publicity, a target to attack and a bit of sympathy. The strategy wasted funds and failed across-the-board. Mostly, they embarrassed the party and hurt its reputation.

Ron Hanks, Tina Peters and Greg Lopez

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Late Votes Shift Lead to Bass in LA. Will Progressives Deliver in November?

The early results gave Rick Caruso a 5-point lead on Karen Bass (42% to 37% reported June 8, 2:00 am). The final poll completed on Tuesday, May 31, and published in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, June 5, gave Congressperson Bass a 6-point lead over Caruso. The last IGS poll said 30 percent were undecided and Bass led 38 percent to 32 percent for Caruso.

The results, with just 74,000 votes left to count in California’s very slow system, is now Bass 43 percent to Caruso 36 percent, or a 7-point lead, very near the IGS poll. The late vote across other city races favored the more “progressive” candidates.

The question now becomes: Will the “progressive” vote and viewpoint of the issues remain dominant to November 8?

Karen Bass speaks at her election night party,
June 7, 2022 | Christina House/Los Angeles Times

Read:

LA Mayor’s Race: Does Bass Have Advantage in Runoff?

Caruso Takes the Lead In LA – Race to November: Crime and Homelessness or Abortion and Partisanship?

LA Mayor’s Race Still a Battle between Caruso and Bass

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Colorado Congressional Battlegrounds

Three Colorado congressionals are worth watching in 2022 by University of Virginia Crystal Ball House ratings. Lauren Boebert in the 3rd Congressional District is rated “likely” Republican. But, it is Boebert’s first re-election and she has a primary opponent. She has a flair for conservative grievance politics, a huge war chest and a lot of fight. But, she operates on the edge of norms and attracts controversy, so there could be a surprise. Still, it is very hard to see her losing at this point. As suggested in a previous blog, she should even win old-time Democratic stronghold Pueblo.

A newly configured, but still Democratic-leaning district, the 7th, is now an open seat due to Congressperson Ed Perlmutter’s retirement. Democrats, in their usual fashion for winnable seats, skipped the primary and nominated State Senator Brittany Pettersen. The only drama is in the Republican primary with three candidates, including a collection of election deniers. If the Republicans can nominate a capable candidate, this will likely be a competitive race, especially if the Blue Wave is big enough. It will be an expensive race. Pettersen has as of March 31 raised $565,000. The Republican money frontrunner is Tim Reichert with $539,000, Erik Aadland has $393,000 and Laurel Imer trails with $72,000.

The seat Republicans should win, if they can nominate a strong candidate, is the newly created 8th district. It is rated a “toss-up” by the Crystal Ball. Again, the Democrats nominated without a primary, State Representative Yadira Caraveo. The Republicans have a powerful fight between State Senator and former Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, Weld County Commissioner and former State Representative Lori Saine, and businessperson Tyler Allcorn.

All four candidates have raised more than $200,000 each, with Kulmann $392,000, Allcorn $306,000, Kirkmeyer $248,000 and Saine $243,000 in an end of March finance report.

Monday, June 20, 2022

OC Democrats Are Happy to Split Their Districts Between Counties

South Orange County has a couple of highly contested districts – one congressional, one state assembly – that are split between Orange and San Diego counties. The good news for Democrats is that the San Diego part of their district is much more Democratic in voting preference than the Orange County sections.

A good example is Democratic incumbent Mike Levin’s 49th Congressional District. In the June 6 primary, there were 121,000 votes in San Diego County and Levin received 53 percent, or 63,000. In Orange County, 67,000 voted and he only received 44 percent, or 29,000 votes. San Diego provided the boost that got him to a 50-percent average districtwide. His Republican opponent will be Brian Maryott, who ran against him in 2020.

Democrat Chris Duncan in the 74th Assembly District has a much more difficult path. He only received 42 percent, or 24,000 votes in Orange County (57,000 voted). In the San Diego County part of the district, he won 28,000, or 50 percent out of 55,000 votes. Better, but producing only a districtwide average of 46 percent against his opponent, Laurie Davies, on the primary ballot.

Read: OC Congressional Race Results – The Battlegrounds

Friday, June 17, 2022

Colorado Is a Great State to Watch Politics

Floyd Ciruli with KOA NewsRadio hosts
 April Zesbaugh (L) and Marty Lenz (R)
In 2016, the Denver Press Club inducted me into the Hall of Fame for 35 years of political commentary, analyses and polling for Denver metro area, national and international media outlets. My involvement began at KOA in 1980 doing election night commentary with the legendary Bob Martin and has continued to the present with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz. Much of the media involvement was a product of Ciruli Associates, a consulting, research and media firm established in the mid-1980s. We especially become known for public opinion polling around elections and ballot issues. A few highlights:

  • The first publicly reported polls were exit polls for KMGH Channel 7 in 1983 for Denver’s mayoral race and election night analysis. We also conducted exit polls for 9KUSA in Denver’s 1987 mayoral race, correctly calling the close election victories of Federico Peña in both races. Election night experience continued with the politically charged 1988 Adams County airport election, which involved on-air commentary and election analyses for 9KUSA with anchors Ed Sardella and Mike Landis. Throughout this 30-year history, I’ve worked with many political reporters, anchors and news directors, including 9KUSA’s longest serving news director, Patti Dennis.
  • In the late 1980s, Ciruli Associates conducted election polling and campaign and election analysis for a consortium of Colorado media outlets: 9KUSA, Rocky Mountain News and KOA. In the mid-1990s, The Denver Post coverage replaced that of the Rocky Mountain News. Nate Silver’s 538 website cited me as among the country’s most accurate pollsters.
  • (L to R) Floyd Ciruli, Amb. Chris Hill, former 9News
    political reporter Brandon Rittiman and
    9News anchor Kyle Clark 
    From 1988 through the 2014 election of U.S. Senate and governor, we’ve provided election night coverage for major national and state elections, and also represented 9KUSA at several national conventions, beginning with the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta and the 2012 presidential debate at the University of Denver.
  • I have served as regular commentator for Colorado print and electronic media since the late 1980s and have been quoted in Colorado media thousands of times regarding political subjects and election analysis since the mid-1980s. Regular guest editorial columns on election results and political topics have been solicited by well-known editors Vince Carroll at the Rocky Mountain News, Sue O’Brien at The Denver Post and Neil Westergaard at the Denver Business Journal.
  • In the early 2000s, Colorado became known nationally as a political swing state. I have commented on Colorado elections and their national implications with national print, television, radio and online media outlets, including FOX News, CBS, NBC, NPR, PBS The News Hour, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Economist, as well as on British and Australian national TV and on Al Jazeera.  
  • In 2000, I started one of Colorado’s first political websites, “The Buzz,” and added a blog in 2008 for regular commentary on Colorado, national and international political topics, especially related to public opinion. The site is frequently referenced by local and national media outlets and is a useful database of political facts, polls and opinions.
  • Establishment of the Crossley Center in 2014
    In 2014, I established a graduate center, The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, on the University of Denver campus and taught courses in public opinion and foreign policy. The Crossley Center regularly offers programs for the campus and broader community on timely state, national and international political topics. Previously, I taught courses in media and public opinion at the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Public Affairs, often with former editorial writer Bob Ewegan of The Denver Post. Additionally, I participated and presented at national and international survey research associations’ conferences in Nice, France; Lisbon, Portugal; and Buenos Aires, Argentina, on topics of media, politics, foreign policy and public opinion. 

A record crowd of more than 250 people attend Amb. Chris Hill and Floyd Ciruli
presentation after the surprise 2016 election to review the polling and
forecasting of the national and international fallout.

See: