Thursday, May 26, 2022

U.S. and Japan Diplomacy Program: Webinars Posted

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research’s Discussions in Diplomacy webinar series on the tensions and challenges in the Indo-Pacific is now available for viewing online. The three March webinars, a joint program with the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver, brought together eight professors from Japan and the Korbel School. The program was highly impacted by the Beijing Winter Olympics accord between Russia and China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“Japan and U.S. Relations in Light of New Administrations and Challenges in the Indo-Pacific.” What adjustments can be expected in the U.S. and Japan alliance in light of the China-Russia accord and the invasion of Ukraine? Participants: Prof. Akiko Fukushima, Senior Fellow Tsuneo Watanabe, Prof. Suisheng Zhao and Prof. Floyd Ciruli (moderator). March 10, 2022

“U.S., Japan and South Korea’s Roles in Maintaining a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Will new governments in Japan and South Korea be able to work together on national security in the region? Participants: Senior Advisor Nobukatsu Kanehara, Prof. Junya Nishino, Amb. Christopher Hill and Prof. Floyd Ciruli (moderator). March 16, 2022

“Position of Taiwan in U.S., Japan and China Relations.” How has the invasion of Ukraine changed the concept of how to deter China in its bid for Taiwan? Participants: Prof. Koji Murata, Prof. Suisheng Zhao and Prof. Floyd Ciruli. March 23, 2022


Also, Professor Floyd Ciruli presented a PowerPoint with commentary describing the major issues that represented the geopolitical backdrop for our 2022 program. 

Click Here for Commentary


Read the latest postings for Crossley Center events and Colorado, national and world public opinion analyses on our website.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Can Colorado Republicans Shake Off 2020 and Take Advantage of the Democrats’ Midterm Blues?

Floyd Ciruli, Professor and Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, will present a discussion on Thursday, May 26th, concerning the June 28th Colorado primary and the Republican challenge to nominate winning candidates for November. 

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters
Photo: Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Colorado Cooperation Conference in Pueblo, Colorado, May 26th will host Ciruli’s talk titled, “Can Colorado Republicans Shake Off 2020 for the Midterm Advantage?” 

Ciruli will address the key June 28 primary fights in the Republican Party (governor, senate, secretary of state) and how each is framed in a battle between the party’s most passionate believers in former President Donald Trump’s stolen election and those who either don’t ascribe to it or try to avoid talking about it.

U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks
Photo: Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun
Observes Ciruli: “It is ironic that in a year in which many pundits believe Republicans will win the U.S. House of Representatives and very possibly the Senate that Colorado Republicans are mired in a battle over the 2020 election and not the opportunities of 2022.”

For more information on the conference, contact Christian Reece, Executive Director, Club 20,, 970-242-3264.  

Professor Floyd Ciruli is available at or 303-263-1059.

Third-Party Candidate Hurts Republican Nominee for Governor

Photo: Colorado Times Recorder
Danielle Neuschwanger, a Republican from Elbert County who missed the nomination for governor at the recent state convention, has announced she will run as a third-party candidate for governor on the American Constitution Party ballot. The consensus view is that she will hurt the Republican nominee to be decided at the primary on June 28.

The leading candidate, Regent Heidi Ganahl, said she hopes Danielle will join her to beat Jared Polis, but that “running on a third-party isn’t going to help.”

In a Sean Price article in the Colorado Times Recorder, I said:

“We assume that Polis is ahead in a head-to-head with either of the two potential Republican nominees, and obviously if there is a conservative candidate out there she will draw votes on the Republican side of this,” Ciruli said. “Whether it is a modest amount or a greater amount there will be some level of conservative votes diverted to this third-party candidate. No doubt about it.”

Floyd Ciruli, who founded Ciruli Associates, a research and consulting firm, brought up the 2010 Governor’s race in Colorado when asked about Neuschwanger’s impact.

In 2010, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) ran for Governor as a member of the American Constitution Party, drawing support away from Dan Maes, the Republican nominee. That year current U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) won the election with 51% of the vote. Tancredo received 36% while Maes won just 11%.

“It has the potential to be like the 2010 gubernatorial election,” Ciruli said, “I’m not sure she’s a Tancredo but I understand she’s pretty wild. She knows how to get attention and as you know the party has an angry sense about it. A sense of grievance.”

Ciruli clarified that Neuschwanger likely won’t have as much of an impact as Tancredo did in 2010, but her presence will definitely hurt Republicans if she stays in the race.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Toshi Nakayama, Japan’s Top Political Analyst and Crossley Center Presenter, Passes Away

Toshi Nakayama
I’m sad to announce that frequent visitor, presenter and friend to the Crossley Center, Toshihiro Nakayama (“Toshi” to friends) passed away May 1.

Professor Nakayama taught at one of Japan’s finest universities, Keio. His last presentation at the Korbel School was November 2020 after the presidential election with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill. Toshi was a regular TV analyst in Japan and covered the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections for Japanese audiences.

He was a wonderful cultural ambassador for Japan and will be greatly missed.

Polls Support Both Sides of Abortion Fight

Abortion wars have broken out around the country with the leaking of Justice Alito’s draft opinion. Our blog of May 6 was used in a story in the Washington Times by reporter Valerie Richardson on the span of public opinion, from wanting to maintain Roe v. Wade and not criminalizing abortion to being willing to accept some very onerous restrictions. Both sides and parties accuse the other of extremism. My comments were:

Such positions run counter to the Democratic Party line, which explains why pro-choice lawmakers don’t go there, said Floyd Ciruli, director of the University of Denver’s Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research.

“As soon as you start talking about restrictions, Democrats are playing defense, which is why they’re focused almost entirely on Roe and criminalization. They want to keep that the focus as much as possible,” said Mr. Ciruli. “That’s their best argument.”

“That’s what you end up with: Keep it legal, don’t criminalize it, but on the other hand, well, you can certainly restrict it,” said Mr. Ciruli. “What they’re really saying is that ‘I accept some restrictions.’ And frankly, the Democrats may have to argue that ‘this restriction is, in fact, a ban,’ and I don’t think they’re going to win with that because a lot of this is pure politics.”

Democrats are having to play defense, given the Supreme Court’s majority has at a minimum a very strictive view of abortion, if not acceptance of overturning Roe v. Wade, and allowing states to implement outright bans. Clearly, the Democrats’ best case at the moment is turning a couple votes for the least restrictive result possible, so expect the political maneuvering to continue.

Abortion-rights protester Alex Cascio holds a flag during a demonstration
outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, May 8, 2022
Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Property Tax Relief Moves Forward

All the major interests appear to have compromised on a property tax scheme engineered by legislative leaders, the Governor and the business group Colorado Concern. Denver Post’s Nick Coltrain reports, as we blogged last week, the legislature can act fast when an election provides motivation. Chris Hansen, representative from Denver, will get considerable credit as he contemplates a run for Denver mayor, a seat up a year from now.

A real estate company sign marks a home for sale in
Harmony, Pa. | Keith Srakocic/AP


Friday, May 6, 2022

Colorado Concern Help Forge a Tax Compromise

Colorado State Capitol
Colorado property taxes are rising rapidly, along with property valuations. Major powers in state government, the governor, both parties and numerous special interests know it could affect the midterm elections. Tax policy changes are inclined toward gridlock. Democrats control the legislature and prefer protecting programs, especially school funding, but the Democratic governor is prone to tax reductions and the interest groups are balanced on taxes between the K-12 education and its allies and the business community representing commercial and residential property owners.

Enter Colorado Concern using a fourth branch of Colorado government – the initiative. The group drafted a ballot initiative to lower property taxes for both residential and commercial owners and got onto the signature phase providing both motivation for action from the other branches and a seat at the table.

The process is working. The Colorado legislature, in a bipartisan fashion, is moving a property tax cut the governor will apparently sign. Gridlock was broken with threat of voter action at the ballot box and a lot of effort in and around the Capitol.

Read The Colorado Sun: Colorado governor, lawmakers unveil plan to slash property taxes by $700M to head off business group’s ballot measure

Abortion – It’s Back

It was well-known abortion rights were on the defensive and could be lost partially or totally during this Supreme Court term. But, the drama of an unprecedented Supreme Court draft opinion leak and the absolutist position of Justice Alito has put the issue front and center for the upcoming primaries and possibly the midterm elections.

Voters do not support overturning Roe v. Wade, but do accept restrictions. Frankly, just accepting the state of Mississippi’s 15-week limit could not have had the drama or polarizing effect as the Alito leak.

  • 58% don’t overturn, 32% overturn (Gallup, 3-22); less likely to support an overturn Roe candidate 58%, independents 75%, swing states 57% (NBC, 3-22)
  • 48% support 15-week ban, 43% oppose (WSJ, 3-22)
  • 50% oppose 6-week ban, 42% support (WSJ, 3-22)

Pro-choice and anti-abortion activists face off in front of the Supreme
Court, Washington, D.C., May 3, 2022 | Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Some election factors:

  1. Democrats are in trouble this year. They welcome a topic different than inflation, crime or immigration that the majority of people agree with – maintaining Roe v. Wade.
  2. They want to appeal to the swing voters, especially the young and suburban women that they did well with in 2020.
  3. Taking something away from people (abortion rights) is often a stronger message than providing a benefit.
  4. Will the Trump-McConnell Supreme Court become a villain in this election?
  5. With the short news cycle, will the issue maintain salience into November?

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

U.S. and Japan Diplomacy Program: Impact of Ukraine on Asian Policy – PowerPoint

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research’s Diplomacy Program webinar series on the tensions and challenges in the Indo-Pacific will be posted shortly. The three March webinars with seven professors from Japan and the Korbel School were highly impacted by the Beijing Winter Olympics accord between Russia and China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Professor Floyd Ciruli presented a PowerPoint with commentary describing the major issues that represented the geopolitical backdrop for our 2022 program.


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a virtual meeting
with U.S. President Joe Biden, Jan. 21, 2022 | Credit Kyodo via Reuters


Read the latest postings for Crossley Center events and Colorado, national and world public opinion analyses on the Crossley Center website.

Sweden and Finland Consider Joining NATO

The February 24 invasion of Ukraine has had enormous unintentional consequences for Russia. NATO, which had been struggling to find a unifying purpose and was denigrated by the Trump administration and Macron’s France, has been revived to confront the threat of Russian aggression. President Macron became a champion of NATO’s resistance to Russia and used it to help defeat an anti-NATO, pro-Vladimir Putin candidate, Marine Le Pen, in the April 24 presidential election. Germany, famous for its light military commitment to NATO as part of its WWII memory, has shifted to much more militant position with a significantly stepped-up budget commitment.

But possibly the most dramatic consequence of the invasion is the consideration of Sweden and Finland to shift from their historical neutral stance to join the alliance. Both countries joined the EU in 1995, but that didn’t require or involve joining NATO. Although the EU’s defense capacity is not comparable to NATO, a threat didn’t seem imminent. 

However, circumstances have changed. Russia’s much more aggressive foreign policy since the invasion of Georgia in 2006 and the hybrid military aggression in the Crimea and Ukraine in 2014 began shifting leadership opinion in the two countries toward a need for a stronger alliance. The full-scale invasion of 2022 has now moved public opinion toward joining NATO. Recent polls show 57% of Swedes support joining (up 6 points in a month) and 64 percent if Finland joins. In Finland, 20 to 30 percent support for joining NATO has increased to 60 percent in latest polls.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (L) welcomes Finnish
Prime Minister Sanna Marin prior to a meeting on whether to seek 
NATO membership in Stockholm, Sweden, April 13, 2022
Photo: Paul Wennerholm/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images


Defense One: NATO membership for Sweden would be ‘a small step for the military, but a giant leap for the political system

Foreign Affairs: NATO’s Nordic expansion

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Crime, Another Social Issue Democrats Are Struggling With

Crime, especially in big cities, has risen and is the third most important worry for Americans, with more than half (53%) saying they are “greatly worried” about it (Gallup, March 2022). Other polls show it’s the second highest concern after inflation for voters, and Republicans now have a 15-point advantage over Democrats on the issue (Fox, Jan. 2022).

Colorado is engaged in a high-profile legislative struggle to deal with a crime surge, which Republicans blame on Democrats’ recent criminal justice reform measures related to Fentanyl. Democratic progressives are resisting any changes that would recriminalize possession, especially of smaller amounts. Colorado Democrats join big city mayors, DAs and governors struggling with high crime rates and recent post George Floyd (2020) reforms.

Immigration: No Solutions, Lots of Political Impact

Democrats are being eviscerated by immigration. They appear to have no solution to the flood of immigrants at the southern border and its four border states (especially Texas and Arizona). Vulnerable congressional and senate candidates are panicking. Republicans are blaming President Biden and Democrats, and polls show immigration is likely to be important for the midterms.

Gallup reports that 58 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the level of immigration, up 8 points since the start of the Biden administration and by about four-to-one dissatisfied people want less immigration. Americans concerned about the issue is also up. Sixty percent of Americans say they are worried about illegal immigration (41% worried a “great deal” and 19% a “fair amount”) (survey of March 1-18, 2022), a decade-long record high, just below the 45 percent worried a “great deal” in 2007 when illegal immigration legislation was being debated in Congress.


Highlighting the election impact, Republican concern is higher than its usual elevated level, with 68 percent worried a “great deal.” Sixty-nine percent say they want less immigration. This concern represents the history of the Trump administration’s focus on the wall and the recent emphasis of Republican governors and Senate leaders on the border.


Democrats, however, in recent years have lost concern about the issue. Only 18 percent of Democrats now have a “great deal” of concern. Only 11 percent of Democrats dissatisfied with the level of immigration want less. However, an equally small 15 percent want it to increase. Most of the political space is occupied by advocates for immigrants and nervous midterm Democrats who have made it nearly impossible for the Biden administration to craft politically acceptable solutions.

This poll was conducted before the Biden administration may allow the lifting of Title 42 (May 23), emergency COVID power that allowed border agents to turn migrants back without seeking asylum. It has become the main talking point for Republicans and alarm for Democrats today.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Macron Wins, But by Bigger Margin Than Expected

Previous blog posts have pointed out French pollsters have a good track record in their final election predictions in spite of not being able to publish any results collected beyond the Friday before the Sunday election (April 24).

This year, polls showed President Macron ahead from the start of the April 10 runoff. His point spread grew to ten points on Friday. He won by 16 points (58% to 42%), a difference at least partially explained by the likely continued trend toward Macron over the weekend. In addition, there was a larger than usual abstention from voting, which frequently makes final projections difficult.

Much of the national and international media coverage was taken by Marine Le Pen’s recovery from her 32 percent loss in 2017 and her focus on economic issues, which appeared to be attracting voters. But in the end, Le Pen was still highly vulnerable to her hard right history and platform. Nor was she helped after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine by her association with Russian nationalist politics (anti-EU, anti-NATO) and President Putin.

Will France’s nationalist right find a new, more acceptable champion? Will the concerns she articulated grow in national importance? Can Macron’s centrist party find a majority?