Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Colorado Has Two of Closest Congressional Races in Country – Will They Be Battlegrounds in 2024?

Lauren Boebert’s 546 vote thin survival in the western slope 3rd Congressional District was the closest in the county. But it was nearly equaled by fifth place Yadira Caraveo’s 1,632 vote victory in the new north Denver metro area 8th Congressional District.

Five Closest House Races of the 2022 Cycle
Five Closest House Races of the 2022 Cycle

Although Colorado is now judged a “Blue State” by most observers, these two districts are likely to be top battlegrounds between the parties in 2024. The Republicans’ narrow House majority will motivate both parties to start early and target many of closest races from 2022. Along with the candidates’ and their supporters’ own efforts, they will again be subjected to the national swing from the 2024 presidential election.

Boebert and Caraveo

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Congratulations to Northern Water

The NISP project in the North Front Range has just received its critical permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The project, which will cost $2 billion and take years to complete, will provide water to a host of cities and agricultural water districts in Larimer, Weld, Morgan, and Boulder counties.

The review by Colorado and federal environmental agencies took 20 years and added millions in additional cost to the project in scientific study and mitigation, including sending more water down the Poudre River through Fort Collins to maintain flows above what currently exist. It also adds major recreational opportunities and flatwater fishing.

Ciruli Associates provided public relations and public opinion research to the project managers to assist in the regulatory compliance.

After years of opposition and delay, some adversaries now threaten lawsuits, their success after these long environmental reviews has been limited. Most recently, they filed lawsuits to stop the Windy Gap project on the western slope and Gross Reservoir in Boulder County and failed in both.

Fortunately, the region’s water leadership maintained a steady and determined commitment to achieving the project’s approval.

NISP Project


Monday, December 19, 2022

Western Senate Seats Lost to Republicans

Republicans failed to pick up a single western senate seat after considerable fanfare. Nevada and Arizona, the two best targets, were lost due to the quality of candidates and campaigns and the collapse of the Red Wave.

The map shows that Professor Sabato in the Crystal Ball predicted a 51 to 49 Senate with Republicans holding Pennsylvania and picking up the Georgia seat. However Democrats won both.

Bennet Wins Big

Democrats have made significant progress in this century amoung the fastest growing Western states. Today there are no Republican senators in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, or New Mexico. With the exception of Nevada, where a Republican beat a Democratic incumbent by one percent, there are no Republic governors in the same list of states. Governors Newsom in California and Polis in Colorado won landslide victories and are now considered potential presidential candidates.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Crossley Center Activities – Election 2022

The Crossley Center has been a focal point for election interpretation and public opinion analysis since its founding in 2014. Elections, as a critical experience for citizens in democracy, have served well as teaching tools and dialogue for events.

Once again, the Crossley Center was active during the 2022 election season with presentations on politics and polling for Colorado audiences. On election night, November 8, I analyzed the Democratic sweep of the state from the closing of Colorado’s throughout the night from the booth of KOA Radio. On Thursday, November 10, I moderated a panel of Colorado political and media experts at the Denver Press Club. Also during that week I presented analysis of the election results and impact on Colorado politics to Denver service clubs.

Western pollsters and academic experts convened in San Francisco in early December and I chaired a panel on the election results in the West, including a discussion of what happened to the Red Wave and the quality of polling in 2022. Additionally, through my blog, I posted numerous evaluations on what the election results mean for Colorado’s policy and politics. The potential impact on the 2024 presidential election is already under consideration. National pundits have begun listing Governor Jared Polis as a potential candidate.

Since its founding, the Crossley Center has been dedicated to public engagement and the advancement of public opinion research and analysis. Former dean and now Ambassador Christopher Hill joined in numerous presentations from the November 2016 presidential election through the 2020 election. Dean Fritz Meyer and Korbel School and University of Denver professors have participated in panels discussing U.S. and Colorado political and public policy. The Center remains committed to strengthening democracy and providing students and citizens with the tools to understand and achieve public policy goals.

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Red Wave Crashes into Trump, Abortion, and Democracy - Becomes Ripple

The Red Wave which the history of midterms and many 2022 polls predicted became barely a ripple. What happened?

As the National Political Dashboard for November 8 displays, President Biden’s approval was deep in negative territory (-12%), the generic test was tilted toward Republicans (2.5%), inflation was at 8 percent and the markets down, all elements of a bad referendum election for the president’s party.

Midterm Election - No Red Wave

But the election shifted from a referendum to a choice between the Democrats and a Republican party that appeared extreme to critical groups of independent voters, millennials and Gen Z especially women.

From the June Dobbs abortion decision through the summer January 6 House hearings on the threat to democracy to former President Donald Trump’s high profile interventions in Republican primaries in favor of several controversial candidates the spotlight focused on the Republican party’s vulnerabilities. Also a sudden burst of legislative accomplishment, especially the Inflation Reduction Act provided Biden and Democrats a platform to run on.

Democrats gained a seat in the Senate, lost the House by only 9 seats, and have two more governors. An exceptionally successful midterm for Joe Biden’s party.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Congress Passes Bipartisan “Respect for Marriage Act”

Respect for Marriage Act
Left: President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, Credit: AFP - Getty Images Right: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signs "The Respect for Marriage Act", Credit: REUTERS

Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act on December 8, 2022. Gay marriage had strong bipartisan support and has gained approval in the last decade from more than two-thirds of the American people.

The bill was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jerry Nadler. Helping strike a Senate compromise that moved the bill forward was Rob Portman (R- OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kysten Simena (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC). It received 12 Republican Senate votes and 39 House Republican (passed 61 to 36 in Senate and 258 to 169 in House), demonstrating significant political clout for the right to marry.

The bill’s passage represents another Joe Biden victory. The marriage rights for gay Americans has been Biden’s goal for more than a decade. He endorsed gay marriage in May of 2012 as vice president and three days later, President Obama, a little miffed, was on board. It’s now a badge of honor.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Midterm Final Polling Averages and Results in the West

The West may be the region where the Red Wave was most needed by Republicans. Arizona and Nevada in particular had close races in which Republicans lost two possible senate pick-ups and a governor’s seat in presidential battleground state.

Polling identified the close and noncompetitive western races but there were also some anomalies. In Washington, for example, the Patty Murray race had polls that said it was close, but Murray won by 15 points. There were late polls conducted in several states that created brief news bubbles but were viewed by local experts as of questionable credibility.

The table below shows the RealClearPolitics average on October 3 and the final on November 8. In Arizona, the late RealClearPolitics’ average was off by 4 points in the senate race and reported the wrong direction for governor (Hobbs not Lake won). The Nevada senate average had the wrong candidate winning and polls did not record the size of the Colorado Democratic victory. In Oregon, the Republican lost to the Democrat.

Front runners lead on October 3 and November 4
D for Democrat, R for Republican, front runners lead on October 3 and November 4, RealClealPolitics. Ciruli Associates 2022

Factors that contributed to some of the news distortion as to existence of a Red Wave and changes in momentum and direction of several races were first a flood of late polls, mostly partisan, showing close races and second as the polls narrowed and the margins became smaller, tiny shifts were reported as significant when in fact they were mostly just statistical noise.

Back to the Fundamentals
Trump’s Team Make Inroads in Arizona and Nevada

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Election Issues in Western States


The annual conference of the Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (PAPOR) was held in San Francisco December 1 and 2. The two days of panels presented new research on public opinion, methods, and trends.

On December 2, the “Election Issues in Western States” panel sifted through the results of the 2022 midterm and discussed the election dynamics; from what happened to the RED WAVE, to turnout and voter characteristics. The quality of 2022 polling was also reviewed. California’s top pollsters also examined the L.A. mayor’s race. Joining the panel was LA Times columnist Mark Barabak offering his observations.

Election Issues in Western States Panelists
  • The West – a New Battleground, and Is Colorado a New California? Floyd Ciruli (University of Denver)
  • California Voters and Their 2022 Ballot Choices. Mark Baldassare (PPIC)
  • Tracking Voter Preferences in the 2022 Los Angeles Mayoral Election. Mark DiCamillo (Berkeley IGS Poll)
  • Commenter: Mark Barabak (LA Times)