Wednesday, June 7, 2023

California Republicans are Volatile

2024 Republican Presidential CandidatesDonald Trump, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, Glenn Youngkin, Chris Sununu, Kristi Noem, Greg Abbott, Larry Hogan, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson, Mike Pompeo, Liz Cheney and Will Hurd. Photo: Getty Images

DeSantis ahead in February, Trump in May, with Cheney in third tied with Pence.

This should be an interesting primary to watch. It’s ten months out so expect the voter swing recently reported by the Berkeley IGS poll to continue. Examining the data, political commentator Floyd Ciruli describes the shift between Ron DeSantis ahead of the field in February to Donald Trump taking an 18-point lead in the latest May poll as showing a still open field where further change could happen quickly.

Republican Presidential Nomination Preferences

Many new candidates are entering the race and Governor DeSantis has started campaigning in Iowa, the first Republican nomination state. Mike Pence went to Iowa and then filed to run. Also in Iowa last week was Tim Scott, who just joined the race with his fellow South Carolinian officeholder, former Governor Nikki Haley. Liz Cheney, former Wyoming congressperson, often shows up in Republican primary polls!

Berkeley IGS Poll was conducted May 17-22, 2023, with 1,853 registered Republicans (± 3.5 percentage points). Done in partnership with the LA Times.

Release #2023-07: Trump opens up big.

ALSO READ: Trump Republican Support Collapses in California

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Denver Mayor Race Leadership Preferences and Winner

Denver Mayor CandidatesKelly Brough and Mike Johnston May 18, 2023 Photos: Timothy Hurst/Denver Gazette

A series of conversations were held the week prior to election day with Denver business, nonprofit and political leaders. They expressed their preferences for mayor and who they thought would win.

While conducting the 16 interviews, the campaigners turned very negative. Obviously with most of the vote coming on the last couple of days, this snapshot of the final week may be superseded.

Leadership Interviews

The leaders preferred Kelly Brough but thought Mike Johnston would win.

The majority of leaders believe both candidates can do the job and Denver got lucky in the first round of voting. Also, many Denver leaders interviewed were very concerned about the damage a super left wing city council will do.

Brough on Attack

Brough Aims at Billionaires for Final Attack

Because more than half of the vote will come in the last two days, Kelly Brough is betting her final counter offensive on attacking Mike Johnston’s funders. But even without public polls, most political observers have concluded as of the last week the race was probably close but that Mike Johnston had a lead similar to the April 4 primary of about 4 points.

Social Media Campaign Targets Billionaires

Denver is not for sale!
Alert! Billionaires Double Down!
Negative Attacks!
Denver is not for sale!
Coastal Billionaire

Will Brough media conferences, social media and advertising move weekend and election day voters? Will her older, more Anglo voters dominate?

We will know 7:00 PM tonight.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Mayor’s Race Started Slow and Close. Ends Negative and with Little Passion

Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston at a Feb. 23 forum. Photos: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston at a Feb. 23 forum. Photos: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post

The Denver mayor’s race seemed a polite and quiet affair until the last two weeks when Kelly Brough, apparently behind, began attack ads and public relations. But compared to recent elections in L.A., Chicago and Baltimore, it is still calm. The Nuggets have gotten more publicity and interest as they get to their finals.

The lack of public polling has made observations difficult. The only poll from early April showed a close race, with Mike Johnston slightly ahead as he was in the runoff vote. He still dominates the money race but both candidates have enough to be on television.

Looking at the endorsements, the race appears close, with each candidate drawing some conservative and liberal-appearing groups.

Brough Johnston
  • The Webbs
  • Hansen
  • Ministerial Alliance
  • Police Union
  • Denver Gazette
  • Realtors
  • Various Unions
  • Ritter
  • Pena
  • Herod
  • Calderon
  • Denver Post
  • Labor Federation
  • IBEW

Friday, May 26, 2023

Colorado Springs Election Another Sign GOP Losing Ground, Hill Newspaper

Joe O’Dea and his familyDavid Zalubowski/The Associated Press
Joe O’Dea, his wife, Celeste, far right, daughter Tayler and son-in-law David Freund, far left, June 28, 2022

Washington, DC Hill newspaper journalist Coraline Vakil chronicles the decline of the Colorado Republican Party through its many recent defeats and internal divisions.

The loss of the Colorado Springs mayor’s race after the GOP held the seat for 45 years, the lost U.S. Senate election (Joe O’Dea), the near loss of congressperson Lauren Boebert and the recent divisive state party chair race were each data points of the collapse of the party in Colorado.

Observers blamed much of the problem on new voters coming to the state, party divisions and Donald Trump. I stated the problem was related to brand damage, which has led to a loss of party loyalty and trust.

I said to Vakil:

“The Republican brand in this state has been so damaged by not just Trump, although he’s very toxic in the state, but beyond that, just by their sort of taking extreme positions on previous nominees, on ballot initiatives that were often soundly defeated on abortion and some of the other issues that O’Dea couldn’t get out from under the brand,” said Denver-based pollster Floyd Ciruli.

Source: Colorado GOP fears it’s ceding ground to Democrats, Caroline Vakil – 05/20/23 6:00 AM ET

Thursday, May 25, 2023

We are Two Nations on Abortion

Hundreds of abortion ban veto supporters turned out to watch Gov. Roy Cooper sign a veto of the on Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh Saturday, May 19, 2023. Cooper affixed his veto stamp to the bill. The veto launches a major test for leaders of the GOP-controlled General Assembly to attempt to override Cooper’s veto after they recently gained veto-proof majorities in both chambers.Photo: Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP

In an in-depth analysis of the status of abortion legislation in the states, journalist Valerie Richardson in the Washington Times describes a “starkly divided” country between extreme positions banning most abortions in more than a dozen states and no or few gestational limits in a similar number.

My comment to Richardson:

“We are essentially two nations, particularly on cultural issues like abortion,” said Floyd Ciruli, director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver.

A big reason lies with the rise of one-party rule. Thirty-nine states have “trifectas,” meaning the same party controls the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature. Of those, 22 are led by Republicans and 17 by Democrats.

Those 39 trifectas are “more than at any other point from 1992 to 2002,” according to Ballotpedia.

“When the Supreme Court lifted Roe v. Wade, they made it quite clear that [abortion] was now up to the politics of the states. And the politics of the states right now are polarized,” Mr. Ciruli said. “There are about 15-20% on each side who want absolutely no restrictions or absolutely no abortions unless it’s for the life of the mother. But those two groups have control of the political parties in these states.”

Polls show most Americans are on the middle ground on abortion restrictions with it legal the first trimester and accepting restrictions later. And most people were opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade. But there is no interest in political compromise.

Whatever polls say about abortion, expect both sides to remain locked in their positions at least through the November 2024 elections, Mr. Ciruli said.

“Abortion is not going to go away in terms of its politics because the Democrats do think it’s useful,” he said. “And Republicans, their problem is that they have a constituency that’s so committed to it and so observant and so engaged, I don’t see how they can possibly walk away from it.”


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Ciruli Brothers are the Mango Kings

Champagne Mango Website

Ciruli Brothers Produce, founded in Pueblo, Colorado, and now based out of Rio Rico, Arizona, has created and markets the unique Champagne Mango through Whole Foods and other stores.

The family has been in farming and produce sales for more than 80 years and four generations of the Ciruli family. Originally from the beautiful Abruzzi region of Italy east of Rome, the family came to Colorado in the 1880s. It expanded to Phoenix and the southwest in the 1950s.

They just introduced a new website on the Champagne Mango.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Mid-Year Political Report: Ciruli
Colorado Cooperation Conference

Floyd Ciruli

Colorado Cooperation, a statewide association of political and business leaders, meet for a conference at the National Convention Center June 2nd.

Floyd Ciruli will present a mid-year recap of the legislative session, the Denver mayoral election, and national politics.

A few of the topics:

  • Legislative chaos, what it means for Polis and Democrats.
  • Denver mayor election, council goes left, Denver still in middle?
  • Biden vs. Trump or DeSantis. Will it make a difference?
  • Republican Party brand recovery? Boebert’s last term?

See blog posts and topics on the Ciruli Buzz:

To get more information and register: conference-2023-attendee-registration-registration-611518647737

National WesternNational Western

Monday, May 22, 2023

Legislative Chaos – Not a Good Sign for Democratic Party and Governing Denver

The Colorado state Senate on the last day of the legislative session. May 8, 2023.
Photo: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Although much has been written about the chaotic final days of the 2023 legislative session, the major impact of the session may be in the stress it causes the Democratic Party. The party’s progressive wing did not accept several defeats quietly.

The left turned against moderate party members, their leadership, and even Governor Polis. The loss of two renter bills and a high-profile gun bill was especially stinging. They questioned the value of bipartisanship believing the voters handed them (i.e., progressives) a super majority.

Their anti-establishment rhetoric and attitude indicate the Democratic Party big tent unity could be in danger as it approaches the 2024 election cycle.

Many of the progressive members of the legislature represent Denver. The city council, that is already progressive, will likely shift even more far left as declared socialist enter after the June 6 municipal election. Good luck to Denver’s next mayor. Both candidates, Brough and Johnston, are from the Democrats establishment liberal wing.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Sales Tax Revenue Growth Stalls

After two years of double digit increases, the Denver 7 county metro area sales tax revenue dropped to 6 percent during the first three months of the year, half of the 12 percent increase recorded in 2022 and a third of the 19 percent in 2021.

Denver Metro Taxes

The brief recession of the summer of 2020 was ameliorated by the Denver area’s strong population growth in the previous decade. That growth is now flat or declining in many metro counties including Denver. As the national economy begins to slow due to higher interest rates and more constrained national spending, Colorado could see a recession, even if mild, and less sales tax revenue in 2023.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Colorado Has Two Battleground Congressional Races

Boebert and Caraveo

Lauren Boebert, Colorado congresswoman from the state’s Western Slope, is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country. Democrats have already targeted the race. And she faces the opponent, Adam Fritch, who came within 554 votes of defeating her in 2022.

Also on the list of likely targeted seats is Democrat Yadira Caraveo, who only won by 1632 votes last November. The north Denver-Weld County district was designed to be competitive, but it remains to be seen if Colorado’s chaotic and divided Republican Party can ramp up a challenge.

Colorado Races

Given the four seat Republican majority in Congress, every close race with a new congressperson after redistricting will be watched closely.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Ciruli Speaks on Colorado Politics 2023

National WesternNational Western

Four days before the Denver mayoral election (June 6) and shortly after the Democrats’ supermajority legislative session, pollster and commentator Floyd Ciruli will present Colorado Politics 2023 at the Colorado Cooperation Conference June 2 at the National Western Center.

Among the topics:

  • What to look for in Denver mayor’s race?
  • Biden vs. Trump – What does it mean for the West?
  • What was left on Legislature’s table and floor?
  • Boebert’s last term?
  • Can Colorado Republicans find a path back?
  • Denver’s losing population, heading for a recession?

See blog posts and topics reported on the Ciruli Buzz:

Monday, May 8, 2023

Trump Became Frontrunner After NY Court Case

Donald Trump, according to The Wall Street Journal poll of mid-April, gained 24 points among Republicans from December to April against Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, who was at 52 percent in December, dropped to 38 percent while Trump added 12 points from 38 to 51 percent by the first week of April.

Shift in Rupublican Support for Trump and DeSantis

There were several factors involved in the shift, but first and foremost was the New York DA Alan Bragg’s criminal charge against Trump that was formally announced on April 4, with the arrest and arraignment. It culminated in saturation media coverage. But coverage began in January with witnesses interviewing and testifying with Bragg’s team of prosecutors and before the grand jury.

Trump surged in the polls during this period. He won sympathy in being attacked by New York Democrats. Many party leaders rallied to him and he ignited his supporters with social media.

DeSantis was lost in the coverage and had to support Trump. The WSI poll showed Trump and DeSantis were both running close to Joe Biden for the presidential contest, costing DeSantis his argument Trump was a loser. Also Trump’s base was unaffected by a possible conviction. Finally, Trump’s allies began running attack ads which weren’t countered. Can DeSantis recover? Yes, it’s many months until a primary but Trump has demonstrated his strength.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Education Not a Topic in Mayor’s Race

East High School, Denver, Colorado Photos: Ken Lund, East High School, Denver, Colorado

In conversations about the Denver mayor’s race people volunteer that the biggest problem in Denver is the operation of the school district. Its board meetings are frequently a chaotic embarrassment. Those anecdotal views are backed by a recent district-wide poll that reports two-thirds of parents (66%) have an unfavorable view of the District board. (Chalkbeat 4-20-23)

Poll of Denver Voters

In the Chicago mayoral runoff, education and crime prevention were top issues. Both candidates had backgrounds in the city’s public school system and recognized its influence on the city’s reputation, economy and crime. In Denver’s recent election not a word. The city’s hands-off history has allowed the District in recent years to be controlled by its unions and groups with various, mostly left agendas.

The system is systemically dysfunctional. It lacks accountability, and its governance model is a failure. It needs an overhaul.

Poll results:

  • Keeping students safe A or B 14%, D or F 48%
  • Put police back in schools 73%
  • Don’t return dangerous children to classroom 74%
  • Board only interested in its own political ambition 63%

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

South Korea and American Pie

President Yoon Suk Yeol Sings American PiePresident Yoon Suk Yeol Sings American Pie Watch video on

In an unbelievable performance, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol sang Don McLean’s “American Pie” a cappella at the White House State Dinner.

The Crossley Center’s Japanese Diplomacy Program has featured the importance of South Korea as a strategic partner in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. Fortunately, President Yoon has shifted Korean policy rapidly toward a more collaborative and global direction.

  • Negotiations with Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida.
  • Strengthening nuclear deterrence in partnership with President Biden and the U.S.
  • Increased diplomacy and military activities with southern Indo-Pacific nations.
  • Attending G7 in Japan with commitment to democracy and rules based international order.


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Arizona and Nevada, the Southwest Battlegrounds

Rosen and SinemaJackie Rosen and Kyrsten Sinema

The four southwestern states, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, only represent a total of 32 electoral votes, whereas California has 55, Florida 29, and Texas 28 out of 270 needed to win the U.S. Presidency. But two of the states are battlegrounds: Arizona (11) and Nevada (6), and in an expected razor thin presidential race they will get maximum attention.

Southwest States Table

Both states are also having what is expected to be close Senate elections. In Nevada, incumbent Democrat Jackie Rosen will be running in a presidential battleground state carried by Joe Biden by about 3 points in both 2016 and 2020. She won by 5 points in 2018 and the seat is rated lean Democratic / battleground by the three main political rating journals (Cook, Sabato, and Inside Elections).

Arizona’s Senate race is complicated and will be one of the most watched in the country. First term Kyrsten Sinema was a Democrat and as of December became an Independent. She won by 2.4 points in 2018. Biden barely won in 2020 (11,000) and Trump carried the state by 3 points in 2016. Sinema, if she runs, will be in a three-way race as an Independent with Republican and Democratic opponents. All three rating agencies call it a toss-up election.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Colorado River – Drought, Floods, Climate Change and Very Tough Politics

The shortage of water in the Colorado River is the top environmental issue and political tension point in 2023.
  1. The politics of the Southwest has shifted Democratic the last decade. With only one Republican governor, both the governors and senators in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are Democrats. Will the new political orientation effect Colorado River policy and politics?
  2. The condition of the Colorado River is front page news regularly across the nation. The post drought/floods of the last few years have been like the transition in policy and politics after the Two Forks’ early 21st century drought periods. We are in a new era for water policy with a boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  3. Negotiations with downstream water uses are the focus of attention. Tribes are new players and water justice themes are at the table. Colorado’s east-west divide is still a factor as is a lack of trust of state government.
  4. A question in Colorado for major providers is what’s next? Northern, after NISP, Denver Water after Gross Reservoir, Aurora Water, Douglas after Prairie Waters- WISE projects, El Paso post-Southern Delivery and whatever the Western Slope finally settles on (if anything). What is the next round of projects, policies, procedures? Where does the State Water Plan go next?
Map of the Colorado River basinMap of the Colorado River basin

Monday, April 24, 2023

Denver Mayor Race Starts Slow

Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston at a Feb. 23 forum. Photos: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston at a Feb. 23 forum. Photos: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post

Denver’s two victors in the first round (April 4) now have to keep campaigning seven weeks while holding down the early spending.

The first poll has Mike Johnston up by 5 points similar to his election win over Kelly Brough by 4 points. (Bi-partisan poll from business group A Denver for Us All.)

The order, in the first election, is very often the opposite in the runoff. Peña and Webb were both behind in their first elections and first reelections and yet went on to win. Mayor Hancock came in second in 2011, the most recent open seat mayoral election.

Denver Mayoral Runoff

Two early endorsements summed up the candidates’ strengths. Former Mayor Federico Peña praised Johnston’s detailed plans and his ability to pass Proposition 123 last November helping finance affordable housing.

Former Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife Wilma declared Brough had the experience, could bring people together, and could make history as the first woman mayor after 45 men. For now, that is the distinguishing factor – whether it’s dispositive will be seen.

Denver Election. Money Talks.
Observations of Denver Mayoral Runoff

Anniversary In Phoenix

KK and Floyd celebrate 40th anniversary in warmth of Phoenix
KK and Floyd celebrate 40th anniversary in warmth of Phoenix

Friday, April 21, 2023

Observations of Denver Mayoral Runoff

Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough | Photos by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

The April 4th Denver election was not Chicago. The most viable progressive came in third. The first Denver Post runoff interview tried to ferret out any differences in the two establishment candidates besides gender. The differences were mostly tactical on the key issues of homelessness. Some early observations:

Left or Right

  • Both candidates must more than double their April 4 vote percentage. Arguably, progressives had at least a quarter of the vote (Calderon 18%, Herod 9%, half of Hansen and Ortega, other scattered progressives). On the right was Rougeot’s 13 percent and other scattered votes for maybe 15-17 percent. The advantage is on the left but a smash-up of left-right could be assembled.


  • With little to distinguish the candidates, money will be spent wildly on persuasion and GOTV. Will the candidates go negative? Yes, reluctantly because of blowback, but if race is close, it will be essential.


  • Turnout will be mediocre due to the lack of an angry anti-establishment candidate. Unless something changes, the two policy wonks debate style will not fire up much of the electorate.


  • A primary concern of many voters is how far left Denver will be pushed by the new city council and general gestalt of the “equity agenda.” Neither mayoral candidate is a favorite of the progressives but both are pragmatists and will deal with the political reality.

City Council

  • Big money will be spent to promote and stop the socialist candidates running for city council. Regardless of the result, the council will be very liberal.


Monday, April 17, 2023

Arapahoe County Divides on Gas & Oil

Arapahoe County Commissioners Commissioners top row: Bill L Holen, Jeff Baker; Commissioners bottom row: Jessica Campbell-Swanson, Carrie Warren-Gully, Leslie Summey

A surprising 3 to 2 vote against a moratorium on gas and oil drilling in Arapahoe County highlighted a board of commissioners with many new members and seldom seen in Arapahoe County’s history - a Democratic majority. The commissioners voted against the moratorium that would have stopped a potential drilling application for 174 wells east of Aurora and the Aurora Reservoir.

Arapahoe County Commissioners 2023 Table

Bill Holen, a moderate Democrat, and Jeff Baker, the only Republican, joined with new commissioner Carrie Warren-Gully to defeat the moratorium. Leslie Summey, who represents the most Democratic district, voted in favor with Jessica Campbell-Swanson, who won Republican Nancy Sharpe’s Greenwood Village seat very handily last fall.

Arapahoe County continues to drift to the political left but has unpredictable variations.

Holen is term limited in 2024 and Baker will likely have a competitive reelection (won by about 200 votes in 2020, had a recount).

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Denver Election. Money Talks.

Election Results and Fundraising Totals

The 2023 Denver mayoral election was more steady hand than bold direction.

  • Money, the campaigns it buys and attention it brings, made the difference for Mike Johnson, who ran a near saturation ad campaign toward the end, and Kelly Brough, who managed a cautious campaign highlighting her experience and life story. Denver’s low turnout election was dominated by older voters who wanted experience and moderation not new faces and hard left or right solutions.
  • In an election that spent more than $10 million, the two winning candidates benefited from 60 percent of the expenditure, more than half of it from independent expenditures “dark money.”
  • This is the second mayoral election Lisa Calderon came in third and out of the runoff. With previous name identification and a progressive anti-establishment message, she outperformed her money. The team of “socialists” running for City Council and Mayor had mixed results. Incumbent councilwoman Candi CdeBaca was forced into a runoff. A “socialist” won the at-large race but others are in runoffs.
  • Ethnic and progressive appeals were divided and didn’t move sufficient voters for Lisa Calderon, Leslie Herod, or Debbie Ortega. Together, it’s a large block of votes that if Calderon had received another 3,500 she would have come in second.
  • Turnout was below 2011 levels where 113,000 turned out, or 49 percent of active voters. This year, 38 percent of voters turned out, or 174,000. The overall campaign lacked fireworks or a breakout personality or theme. The Fair Campaign Fund encouraged a mass of unknown and underwhelming candidates that confused voters.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Israel – Flight Out of Ben Gurion Airport as Netanyahu Loses Control

Protesters in Tel AvivProtesters hold a banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the words 'Let my people go' in Tel Aviv [Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters]

Israel’s political polarization is beginning to gridlock the entire country — including the economy, the army, and even the airport. After a ten-day visit, I was on one of the last flights out on Monday, March 27, before the protests against the government and unions shut it down.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is receiving most of the blame for the state of affairs. To build a majority government in a country that had five parliamentary elections in four years, he assembled the most right-wing coalition in its history with a 64-seat majority out of a 120-seat parliament. But the election only reflected a 30,000-vote majority of all the votes cast. He gave high-profile cabinet positions to outspoken political extremists who have made numerous statements that Netanyahu has had to correct or explain.

The genesis of the current crisis was when Netanyahu and his conservative majority rapidly moved a judicial overhaul proposal that would position the Knesset, Israel’s only legislative body, in a more dominant position over the Supreme Court. The plan led to charges of undermining democracy and the most massive protests in the country’s short history. Firing the cabinet defense minister after his opposition to the plan on Sunday, March 26, was the final act that unleashed Monday’s threat of a general strike and closed airport. Netanyahu quickly caved but his right-wing allies are adamant that this is just a short delay in their goal to corral the court.

Delay will ease the immediate crisis but the differences in values are deep. Israel’s conservative religious parties feel the country, and especially the Supreme Court, doesn’t reflect their views and the more secular public and its leaders believe the country is drifting away from a pluralistic democracy.

If Netanyahu survives this crisis, it will be a master class in political skill, but he is the longest serving prime minister in a host of narrow majorities. Regardless of his survival, the last three months have damaged Israel’s reputation in the U.S., in the West, and especially among Israelis.

As the Jerusalem Post published in its editors’ column on Sunday, Israel is increasingly isolated, or as Tom Friedman in the New York Times put it, Netanyahu can’t be trusted.

Plainly, Israel has provoked a populist, grassroots movement fighting in massive numbers to maintain its democratic institutions. This is a new factor that the Prime Minister, his party and the government must deal with.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Southwest Shifts Blue in Presidential Politics

The southwest states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico have had long periods where Democrats and Republicans have traded off winning the presidential race and senior state level offices, but in the new century Democrats have been winning the presidential contest and most of the other major state races.

In 2000 Republicans won three of four southwest state electoral votes only losing New Mexico to Al Gore by 366 votes. But in 2020 they won none. Also, Republicans controlled four of the governorships in 2000 and 7 of the 8 senators. Today, they have one governor, Nevada, and no representation in the eight senate seats. (See chart below.)

Democratic and Republican Parties in 2000 and 2022 in Southwest

Colorado is the prime example of how rapid and sweeping the change has been from George W. Bush’s two presidential wins at the beginning of the century to Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 respectively.

While Colorado may be unusual in how thoroughly the Republican Party has collapsed, it should be a cautionary tale of what can happen to a party that is captured by its most extreme elements and fails to adapt to a changing political environment.

See stories on Colorado transformation:

Monday, April 10, 2023

UCLA in Jerusalem

Group Photo UCLA Tour in Jerusalem

A ten-day tour of Israel culminated in Jerusalem at the southern wall of the Temple Mount built as part of the Second Temple. It was Friday, a day of prayers, at the start of Ramadan, near the beginning of Holy Week – the Old City was thronged. The trip was conducted like a graduate seminar about a new country in a very old land. The visual elements of sites were combined with highly informed discussions of the history, architecture, and culture, along with a lot of politics, ancient and current.

The visit ended just as Israel’s struggle to protect its young democracy while reconciling deep social differences reached its climax. The country is as polarized as the U.S. Highlighting the drama of the moment, I flew out the day that Ben Gurion Airport had to close due to political turmoil and just before the Prime Minister paused in his party’s goal of restraining the Supreme Court.

As an important ally to the U.S. and the only functioning democracy in the region, we are hopeful for a peaceful resolution of the political gridlock.

UCLA provides a first-rate tour that leaves you with greater understanding of the politics and deep appreciation of the beauty of the country and people.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Greene & Boebert Espouse Christian Nationalism

Boebert and GreeneRep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., left, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., right, scream "Build the Wall" as President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

In her weekend 60-minute interview, Marjorie Taylor Greene reaffirmed her belief the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation which she believes the government is not sufficiently espousing. She speaks out for several Christian nationalism’s beliefs such as hostility to all immigration and sympathy for the January 6 violent insurrectionists.

Lauren Boebert is a regular speaker at Christian nationalist events and states she is “tired of this separation of church and state junk.” She calls on Christians to “rise up and take our place in Christ and influence this nation.”

  • 1 in 10 Americans are adherents to Christian nationalism.
  • Another 19% are sympathizers.
  • 66% of sympathizers believe immigrants are “invading our country and replacing our culture and ethnic background.”
  • 16% of Americans believe “things have gotten so far off track true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”
Source: PRRI/Brookings Survey 2023

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Boebert’s Last Term?

Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor-Greene. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor-Greene.
Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy should not base his next majority on Lauren Boebert’s vote. Her poor performance in the last election (closest race in the country), the ongoing struggles of the Colorado Republican party, and the Democrats targeting the race with 2022 candidate Adam Frisch back on the campaign trail, ensures it will be one of the nation’s most competitive seats. Also adding to their vulnerability, Boebert hasn’t dampened her high-profile public image away from controversial stances and theatrics.

In a district configured after redistricting to have a 9-point Republican advantage, she won in 2022 with only 546 votes. There were indications of trouble. A low-key Republican state legislator won 34 percent in the June primary. A September poll had her only winning with 2 percent. And election day confirmed the vulnerability. The largest Democratic county, Pueblo, rejected her by 6 points — up substantially from her near tie in 2020.

The State Republican party is unlikely to be of any help in 2024. It is disorganized, divided and underfunded. After being wiped out in the 2018 midterm, Republicans suffered even greater losses in 2022. They are burdened with an anti-abortion position made more salient after the Dodd decision and an extreme image in general, mostly associated with Donald Trump and election denial. As they tried to reorganize this year, it was clear the core party supporters remain focused on Trump and the 2020 election. Trump is likely to be Republican presidential nominee in 2024 or will at least hang as a cloud over the party as he did in the 2022 midterms.

Democrat Adam Frisch, Boebert’s 2022 opponent, is already in the field raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is in one of the country’s most targeted congressional races and will receive all the support he needs. The district has already been targeted by the House campaign committee and Democratic dark money funds.

Boebert hasn’t altered her positions or behavior. She maintains a high profile in Washington with the most extreme House elements and she was part of the Freedom Caucus opposition throughout McCarthy’s speakership multiple votes. She is in demand out of state as a speaker to groups due to her advocacy of Christian nationalism and guns.

Boebert is testing her voters’ tolerance for the behavior that nearly cost her the seat in 2022. Next year, she is facing a much more prepared opposition.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Asian Americans - California’s Fastest Growing Minority

California Reps. Michelle Steel (R-48) and Young Kim (R-39)California Reps. Michelle Steel (R-48) and Young Kim (R-39)

Asian Americans now constitute the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in California. They were 11 percent of the population in 2000 and 17 percent in the 2020 census.

In Orange County, South and East Asian groups, Vietnamese and Korean, are the largest, especially in the north county. In the last decade, the Hispanic community went from 33 percent to 34 percent, whereas the Asian community grew from 18 percent to 22 percent today, adding about 200,000 new residents.

asian americans ca poll

Although Asian Americans have been more likely to vote Democratic, they shifted about 10 points Republican in the last decade from the 20 to 30 percent level.

It is noticeable in Orange County, the two most prominent Republic politicians are Korean American, former County Supervisor and now Congressperson Michelle Steele, and her fellow member Young Kim.

Among the diverse Asian American community, polling shows the Vietnamese and Korean voters the least Democratic. The New York Times reports that a shift to a more conservative position, especially witnessed in the last midterm election, was related to education issues, especially access for bright Asian children, crime and anti-Asian incidents of violence. Republican candidate recruiting and community action have also been a factor.

Source: New York Times: “Asian Americans Shifting Right” by David Leonhardt, March 6, 2023

Friday, March 31, 2023

Chicago and Denver Vote for Mayor on Tuesday

Denver Mayoral Candidates From left: Denver mayoral candidates Kelly Brough, Chris Hansen, Leslie Herod, Mike Johnston and Debbie Ortega during a business forum on Jan. 19. Photo: Esteban L. Hernandez/Axios

Both Chicago and Denver vote in mayoral elections next Tuesday, April 4. Chicago makes a final decision after the incumbent, Lori Lightfoot, lost the first election. Polls show a close race between Paul Vallas, former school executive, and Brandon Johnson, teachers’ union leader. Each is drawing from racial, ethnic and political interest groups around the city with the police union facing off with the teachers union. Not surprising, crime and education are the top issues for voters.

Johnson was more than ten percent behind Vallas in the first round, but has closed the gap with a host of union endorsements and rallying much of the progress wing of the electorate including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The Denver election represents the first round with a field of 16 active candidates (17 on the ballot). There has been a dearth of polling but, a one month-old poll and financial reports appear to present a rough lineup as follows:

Kelly Brough Chamber executive ($790,000)
Mike Johnson Nonprofit executive ($581,000)
Leslie Herod Progressive legislator ($609,000)
Lisa Calderon Progressive activist, ran 4 years ago ($127,000)
Chris Hansen Liberal legislator ($490,000)
Debbie Ortega Incumbent councilperson ($254,000)
(expenditure as of 3-14)

Other than multi-candidate debates, rolling into the last week has produced a flood of advertising but not much news.

There is one Republican in the field, Andy Rougeot, who is spending his own money ($752,000) and will take votes from other candidate but not shown up in the few polls.

Turnout has been lower than 4 years ago at this point, possibly reflecting no personality has captured public attention or conversation in the mass of candidates. For what has been described as a critical election for Denver, not much interest is visible.

Chicago Latinos tilting toward Paul Vallas in mayor's race, poll shows
Denver Election: Ballots Drop; Where’s the Race?

Thursday, March 23, 2023

LA Times: Colorado - no state shifts faster, farther to left

In a new series called The New West, Mark Barabak political columnist for the LA Times, begins with Colorado as a key western state that has shifted Democratic and what it means for state and national politics.

"From a western swing state, it has become a Democratic stronghold," said pollster Floyd Ciruli, who’s sampled public opinion in Colorado for more than 40 years.


Mark Z. Barabak
Mark Z. Barabak

Friday, March 17, 2023

Israel and American Jews in a State of High Anxiety

Creator: Jeenah Moon | Credit: Getty Images

A host of trends are placing Israel and American Jews in a state of high anxiety.

  • Incidents of antisemitism are on the rise in the U.S, from violent attacks such as at the Pittsburgh synagogue to survey reports of increased physical, in- person and online attacks.
  • New surveys show “widespread belief in antisemitism conspiracy threats and tropes” have nearly doubled from the antisemitic prejudice found in 2019. One- fourth of Americans “agree” with more than half of anti-Jew statements asked on a recent survey. For example, “Jews have too much power, are more loyal to Israel than the U.S. and only care about themselves”.
  • In the American right there is a growth in Christian nationalism that wants to affirm the U.S. is a Christian nation. Historically, such movements have antisemitic rhetoric, policies and adherents. A few deny Israel’s right to exist. On the left, many don’t approve of the Israeli government and its treatment of Arabs.
  • A new, right-wing government in Israel is facing increased opposition from domestic liberal groups. The uptick in violent exchanges with Arabs is being heavily criticized internationally.

These trends have raised anxiety amid attentive people and point to a period of increased antisemitism in the U.S.

Will Israel’s Move to the Right Increase Anti-Israel Sentiment in the U.S.?

A protest unfolds in Tel Aviv Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The latest Israel government has been described as the most right-leaning in the nation’s 75-year history with many intensely religious parties in the majority.

Members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s religious-oriented cabinet are strong advocates for more religious schools and studies, and they now have authority over the police and the settlements in the West Bank, for which they support increases. Their effort to rein in the judiciary produced major protests.

It’s too early to know how it may affect Israel sentiment in the U.S. but there are already considerable anti-Israel viewpoints as expressed in a national poll sponsored by the ADL (NORC 2023).

  • Nearly 40% of Americans agree at least somewhat that Israel treats Palestinians like Nazi’s treated Jews.
  • 29% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than the U.S.
  • 17% said they were somewhat uncomfortable spending time with a person who supports Israel.

People on the far left and younger adults have more anti-Israel views than the population at large. However, 90 percent of Americans believe Israel has a right to defend itself and 79 percent see it as a strong ally of U.S.

A new Gallup poll shows the American liberal community is further alienated from the Israeli government under Netanyahu and overall public sympathy for Israel has declined.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Japan’s New National Security Strategy and U.S.-Japan Security Relations

Congratulations and thanks to professors Ahmed Abdrabou and Aaron Schneider for their many months of diligent work to get this program underway.

Today’s U.S. and Japan Diplomatic Program is a continuation of a program begun by the Crossley Center of Public Opinion Research and the Korbel School in 2019. With the help of Zoom it survived the pandemic, bringing Japanese professors together with Korbel professors and other U.S. experts.

Needless to say, the program topics have evolved. Beginning with how to deal with the “America First” politics of the Trump administration, to the changes in personnel and policy of the first year of the Biden and Suga administrations, to the emphasis on The Quad and finally the 2022 program that focused on the impact of the Ukrainian war, now the Russia-Chinese entente on a free and open Indo-Pacific are top of mind.

Professor Kanehara joined us last year when we focused on the Japan-South Korea relationship and its importance to the new security environment. This year’s program will highlight the changes underway among the free nations throughout the Indo-Pacific from Australia to the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea — and especially Japan’s dramatic shift in defense strategy and China’s reaction.

I believe this is the year of the Indo-Pacific and the program will continue to highlight the changed environment and what it means for the U.S. and Japanese relationship and strategy. The urgency is great considering the recent headlines throughout the region:

  • U.S. set to boost its troop presence in Taiwan. WSJ 2-24-23
  • Xi plans Moscow visit as Putin wages war. WSJ 2-22-23
  • U.S. eyes detailing Beijing’s potential arms aid to Russia. WSJ 2-23-23

I want to thank Dean Hall and Dean Mayer, who supported the Crossley Center’s initiation and operation of this program, and offer special thanks to the Japanese Consul General and his senior team for their support. I believe this program has a great future at the Korbel School as a part of an Asian program.

Floyd Ciruli
Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
March 2023

Denver Election: Ballots Drop; Where’s the Race?

I just spent last week in conversation with a dozen leaders in business, media (retired), campaign consulting (none working the Denver Mayors race), former Denver officeholders, and other sectors (water, culture, nonprofits). Also, I assembled the latest polling and public campaign finance contributions.

I have the following observations:

1) There is a front line — Brough, Johnston, Herod, Calderon, and Hansen — but no front runner. However, Hansen doesn’t seem to have momentum yet from his early media. Councilwoman Ortega appears to be stuck in a second tier.

Brough and Johnston are the two strongest establishment candidates, according to polling and contributions, including dark money. Johnston just received the Denver Post endorsement, which should provide a boost. Advertising quality and quantity will be important since the candidates don’t appear to have generated much grassroots passion. Total contributions: $1.7 million Brough to $1.6 million Johnston. The table shows contributions matched by the Fair Election Fund.

Fundraising Totals

2) Calderon and Herod have strong progressive identities and ethnic constituencies, and have been local candidates. Assuming one progressive makes the runoff, ethnic turnout and money will help. Herod has a money advantage, but Calderon sounds angry and many in the electorate are ready to shake up the system.

3) Crime dominated the race in Chicago and L.A. Although Bass, the progressive, won in L.A., she had to adapt to it. Crime is also big in Denver but complicated. Blending tough love and some new ideas isn’t easy with vigilant advocates, not many ready proven programs, and an ambivalent electorate.

4) For all the effort to control campaign spending and level the playing field with tax payers’ dollars, dark money is flooding into preferred apparent leaders and giving Brough, Johnston and Herod a big final push. Mostly the government money encouraged a record field of candidates (17).

5) Why no breakout? No personality or grassroots upsurge has pushed a candidate into the front. Mostly it appears to be a lack of any dominant idea or look within the campaigns. There is no “Imagine a Great City.”

Friday, March 3, 2023

Crime Defeats Incumbent Mayor in Chicago

Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson are headed to a runoff election on April 4 to become Chicago’s next mayor. Courtesy photos Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson are headed to a runoff election on April 4 to become Chicago’s next mayor. Courtesy photos

Voters concerned about crime defeated an incumbent mayor in Chicago. Lori Lightfoot, known for a difficult personality, came in third in a nine person field with 17 percent of the vote, the first defeat for an incumbent in 40 years.

She was beaten by a law and order school superintendent favored by the police union, winning 34 percent of the vote, and a progressive school union official supported by the teachers union, who came in second with 20 percent.

In Denver’s upcoming mayor’s race, crime and homelessness have dominated. It is not clear who will get the edge on the left or the right of the issues. Denver, with a 17 person field, a third of the vote may be a landslide first place position in the likely runoff.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Trump Republican Support Collapses in California

Trump and DeSantisPhoto: Getty Images

Although former President Donald Trump, like most recent Republicans, has not done well in California general elections, he swept the Republican primaries in both 2016 (75% against Kasich, Cruz, and others) and 2020 (92%). But today he is losing to Governor Ron DeSantis among Republican primary voters by 8 points, a dramatic reversal from August of 2022 when he was ahead by 9 points. It is also notable that 60 percent of these voters prefer DeSantis or some other candidates than Trump.

2024 Presidential Preferences Poll

He is still winning his high school-educated base by 15 points, but losing every other education category from some college and trade school education to post-graduate work (28 points). Trump and DeSantis are tied for support with Republican women (30%, DeSantis / 31% Trump) but men support DeSantis by 16 points (43% DeSantis to 27% Trump).

Trump’s support has contracted to his original base of the “least educated”. It mostly reflects the poor midterm election performance which gave him a reputation as a loser and cost him many of California’s Republicans who want a winning candidate.

Berkeley IGS Poll was conducted February 14-20, 2023, with 1,755 registered Republicans (± 3.5 percentage points).

Release #2023-02: Biden job ratings rebound in California, but most still oppose a re-election bid. DeSantis vaults ahead of Trump in state’s GOP presidential primary. (

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Schiff Has Opening Lead

Porter and Schiff Representatives Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, right
Photographers: Al Drago/Bloomberg, Andrew Harnik/AP

In a U.S. Senate primary, more than a year away (June 2024), Los Angeles Congressman Adam Schiff holds a small, two-point lead over Orange County Congressperson Katie Porter.

CA 2024 Primary Poll

The Berkeley IGS Poll published in the L.A. Times is considered a highly reliable barometer of California voters’ sentiment. The survey queried 5,681 Democrats or No Party Preference voters on February 14 to 20, 2023 (± 2 percentage points).

In a poll release last November from Katie Porter, she and Schiff were tied. The poll included Republican voters and had a 16 percent undecided. The last poll had 39 percent of voters undecided. More than two-fifths did not have an opinion on the two front runners.

At the start of the race, the latest poll shows a very tight race, with differences in candidate support among age groups and the degree of progressiveness. Schiff leading among older and more moderate voters.

Crossly Center and the Year of the Indo-Pacific

Putin and Xi Photo: Li Tao/Xinhua/Getty

Beginning in 2019 and through the pandemic with the help of Zoom, the Crossly Center was able to collaborate with the Denver Japanese Consulate and Japanese Foreign Ministry to direct a program joining Japanese professors and government officials with Korbel School professors and other foreign policy experts. The program is continuing with Korbel School’s Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies in a series of panels beginning in person and on Zoom on Thursday, March 2, at 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Korbel School Maglione Hall. To RSVP, click here:

The Year of the Indo Pacific

This year’s panels will focus on Japan and U.S. foreign policy shifts in the light of the new and more ominous conditions in the Indo-Pacific. From the rise of and cooperation between the authoritarian super-states of China and Russia to the impact in Asia of the war in Europe and direct military threats of China and North Korea against democratic states, the Indo-Pacific became a world theater under stress.

And as I blogged in January: Japan follows Germany in shedding its WWII foreign policy of low defense budgets and non-intervention foreign policy. Under a new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, Japan has made overtures to South Korea, begun defense talks with Australia, shown expressions of support for Taiwan’s sovereignty and initiated closer integration into the U.S. deterrent.

The Buzz: The Year of the Indo-Pacific (

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Brough in Lead - Most Voters Undecided

Denver mayor debate First debate in race for Denver mayor: Candidates give their views on affordability and the cost of living in Denver Photo:

With only three weeks until ballots go out, 59 percent of Denver voters have little idea as to who they will vote for on April 4th, election day. Kelly Brough appears to be the front runner (8%) in a field of candidates few know. Her lead is less than the margin of error over second place Leslie Herod (6%).

Brough is the last name on the ballot, but first in fundraising. The March financial reports will likely show her in an ever more substantial lead. Expect media advertising to begin shortly.

The poll was sponsored by a business political committee, no doubt concerned that voters are not yet engaged.

Jan - Feb fundraising

Will 20 Percent be Enough for First Round in Chicago?

chicago mayoral debate From left, Chicago mayoral candidates Ja’Mal Green Sophia King, Kam Buckner, Wille Wilson, Brandon Johnson, Paul Vallas, current Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Roderick Sawyer and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia get ready to debate one another at WLS-TV ABC Channel 7’s studio, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Chicago. (Tyler Pasciak/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

In Chicago’s 2019 mayor’s race, Lori Lightfoot came in first out of a field of 14 candidates with 17.5 percent. In second was Toni Preckwinkle with 16 percent. Lightfoot won the runoff and became the mayor.

This year, the incumbent has been running second or third in a nine-person race that could also produce a first round winner at or below 20 percent.

We will know tonight. Polls show a close race among the top four candidates with former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in the lead. Early voter turnout is at a record level.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Orange County Has No There There

Orange COunty Map

Orange County is a large, sprawling suburb with no single population center. As the table below shows, it has seven cities with a population over 100,000 out of 34. The County is a network of mostly contiguous small-to-mid-sized municipalities.

The County is the third largest out of 58 in California but its cities only rank 10th (Anaheim), 13th (Santa Ana) and 14th (Irvine), out of a list dominated by Los Angeles (3.9 million), San Diego (1.4 million) and San Jose (1.0 million).

orange county cities