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: 9news.com

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

Friday, February 24, 2023

Japan’s New National Security Strategy

The U.S. and Japan Diplomacy Program starts its 2023 schedule with a panel of U.S. and Japanese professors and foreign policy experts discussing Japan’s new national security strategy.

The program on foreign policy and security strategy in the Indo-Pacific was begun in 2019 by the Korbel School’s Crossly Center for Public Opinion Research directed by Floyd Ciruli.

The first panel will be in person and on Zoom on Thursday, March 2, at 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Korbal School Maglione Hall. Dinner will be served.


Kishida G7 AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Joe Biden meets with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at Akasaka Palace on May 23, 2022, in Tokyo.
RELATED: The Year of the Indo-Pacific

Thursday, February 23, 2023

SCFD Has 35-Year History of Voter Approval

Governor Roy Romer signed the legislation creating the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) on July 1, 1987, with supporters gathered around his desk. In November 1988, 75 percent of Denver metro voters in six counties authorized the collection of the sales tax, producing about $14 million for distribution to regional cultural organizations starting in 1989. Today, more than $85 million will be distributed.

Picture from RMPBS Picture from RMPBS

Since its initial approval by Denver regional voters, SCFD has had three successful renewal elections. Most recently in a 2016 election with 1.3 million voters participating, it won in all seven metro counties with a 63 percent average.

History of SCFD Elections

The district’s closest vote was in 1994, a mid-term election which saw an angry national electorate end 40 years of Democratic rule of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was also just two years after the passage of the tax limitations TABOR amendment in Colorado.

In the 2016 district-wide approval, the SCFD carried Boulder (71%) and Denver (73%) by its largest margins but also won the suburbs of Arapahoe (61%), Jefferson (59%) and very Republican Douglas (58%) by a wide margin–6 percentage points or more. Historically, more blue-collar Adams County is more resistant to regional tax-related votes. Adams voters said yes by 52 percent.

2016 SCFD Coutny Election Results

Although Colorado is now a blue state in its partisan orientation, it remains independent enough to say “no” on various statewide and local taxes to keep leaders, interest groups, and office holders cautious on tax initiatives. The next renewal will require SCFD to have support from a new group of leaders–such as the Metro mayors featured below.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock with Popsicle at Mayors Launch SCFD GOTV, Oct. 4, 2016

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

California Population is Dropping

The U.S. Census reports California lost 500,000 residents since 2020, the last census published. At that rate it will lose multiple congressional seats in 2030, the next reapportionment. The state lost one seat in 2020 as it went from 53 to 52 U.S. Congressional representatives, the first loss in the state’s history.

Population experts point to pandemic deaths, declining birth rates and low internal and foreign immigration. Mostly, arrivals have slowed and departures increased.

CA Growth Chart

RELATED: California’s Losing Population and Power

Monday, February 13, 2023

California Votes Democratic for President but It Cycles

CA Seal and OC Logo

California has voted Democratic in eight presidential elections since 1992 when Bill Clinton beat George Bush with some help from Ross Perot. But prior to this long Democratic run, Republicans took California’s electoral votes nine times, from Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 to George H.W. Bush’s election in 1988 with the exception of the Goldwater landslide in 1964. And Ike interrupted a five-election run for Democrats beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and ending with Harry Truman in 1948.

CA Presidential Voting Preference

Today, Democrats appear well embedded in the state beyond presidential electors. They control all statewide offices, and substantial majorities of the Congressional delegation and legislature. But nationally a poor nominee or foreign or democratic crisis can change presidential politics quickly.

Even Orange County, which voted Republican since 1936, has slowly shifted toward the Democrats but well behind the pace of the statewide vote. Republican presidential candidates have garnered 10 percent or more support in Orange County since 1992 but barley held it in 2008 as they faced 60 percent Democratic statewide victories. Republicans finally lost the county with Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in 2016. The defeat was duplicated in 2020 when Joe Biden beat Trump by a similar 9 percentage points. Although Orange was the last of the big California coastal counties to shift blue in presidential politics, it remains purple in local elections.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Debates, Ballot Position & More Money

The Denver mayoral election rushes into its last seven weeks with another $680,000 collected during January, positions on the ballot decided by draw and debates started.

The six top fundraising candidates maintained their positions with Kelly Brough still leading at $848,000 followed by Republican self-funder Andy Rougeot putting in another quarter million to reach $787,000. Lester Herod is in third with $624,000 and Mike Johnston followed with $446,000. Johnston had the highest total collected in January of $129,000.

Fund Raising Totals and Ballot Position

Brough and Debbie Ortega share the two last places on the ballot, 17th and 16th respectively. Lisa Calderon with anemic fundraising will be at the top of the ballot.

The first full 17 candidate “debate” was at Regis University on Thursday (2-9-23) and Channel 9 will host a debate on February 16.

Sixteen candidates participate in a Fair Elections Fund Mayoral debate in Claver Hall at Regis University Feb. 09, 2023, in Denver. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post) Sixteen candidates participate in a Fair Elections Fund Mayoral debate in Claver Hall at Regis University Feb. 09, 2023, in Denver. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Unaffiliated Voters Control Colorado Politics

The political winner statewide and of many larger county elections must have support from a majority of unaffiliated voters who are 46 percent of Colorado registered voters. During the last decade, 2010 to 2020, a wave of 1,290,000 new voters registered primarily unaffiliated. The category started at 31 percent, then grew to 42 percent in 2020, and finally to 46 percent in 2022.

At the same time Republicans dropped from their first-place position in 2010 with 36 percent of the electorate to last place and 27 percent in 2020 and slipping to 25 percent today. Democrats improved their position vis-à-vis Republicans but are, in fact, in a weak second place with only 30 percent of registered voters (28% today). The message is that both parties are struggling for members and neither party can win statewide without a majority or more of unaffiliated voters.

Colorado Registration Changes from 2010 to 2020

Ignoring some of the complexity of a typical vote (i.e., not all party members vote for their registered party, etc.), Republicans will need at a minimum 25 percent more of this electorate, which would equate to 53 percent of the unaffiliated block of voters.

Democrats also depend on a huge block of unaffiliated voters. Since 2018 they have received support from a majority of Colorado’s new unaffiliated voters, reflected in their huge wins for statewide constitutional offices from governor to lower positions. It was repeated across the board in 2022. Democratic federal candidates have also dominated with wins of 13 percent for President Biden (2020) and 15 percent for Senator Bennett (2022). For Bennett to receive 56 percent of the vote if he carried 95 percent of the Democrats and 5 percent of Republicans, he had to receive about 60 percent of unaffiliated voters.

Biden and Bennet President Joe Biden stands with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado, October 12, 2022. CAROLYN KASTER/AP PHOTO

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Denver Mayor’s Race Wide Open: Eight Weeks to Go

The April Denver mayoral election has only 7 more weeks of active campaigning for the 17 candidates.

One released poll and the fundraising reports of January 31 show the top 5 candidates with 4 percent or more of the voters saying they support them. (See table below).

Meanwhile, not surprising, 47 percent say they don’t know. Finance reports show six out of the 17 have collected $250,000 or more.

Denver Mayor Fundraising Poll

The early polling report is mostly name identification, which is beneficial at the start of a campaign but doesn’t mean much once the active campaign begins with debates, endorsements, advertising, and the inevitable attacks. Later, money and momentum can shift very quickly.

The poll was released by Debbie Ortega’s campaign and conducted January 11 to 14, 2023, with 500 likely voters. It attempted to model the Denver electorate with 48 percent Democrats, 43 percent Unaffiliated, and 10 percent Republican. Ortega is ahead of a list with mostly single digit support. Officeholders dominated the field along with candidates in previous races and ethnic identifies.

Early fundraising gets some attention and can attract more contributions, but the campaigns will quickly burn through prodigious amounts of money primarily for advertising. Mr. Rougeot is a self-funding Republican who may add more money. Also, there is likely to be independent funds from state and national political action committees.

Denver's City and County Building Denver's City and County Building. Aug. 10, 2021. Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Denver Mayor’s Race Could Be Won by 28% in the First Round

In the last two Denver mayor elections, Hickenlooper in 2003 and Hancock in 2011, about 113,000 voted, with the front runners not getting 50 percent, forcing a runoff between the top two candidates.

In 2003, four candidates out of eight received double digit votes and John Hickenlooper lead with 43 percent.

Denver Mayor Candidates 2003 and 2011

The 2011 open seat first round election saw Michael Hancock come in second with 27 percent just beaten by Chris Romer with 28 percent. Hancock went on to win. Out of ten candidates, three recorded double-digit wins, with James Mejia in third at 26 percent.

In the 2023 election with 4 or 5 top contenders out of 17 candidates 25 to 30 percent could win first and second positions and compete in the runoff.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Denver Mayor’s Race Turnout Could Double Since 2011 Election

Denver's City and County Building Denver's City and County Building, Aug. 10, 2021. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

In the 2011 mayoral election, 113,000 voters participated in the first round, which sent Michael Hancock and Chris Romer to the runoff. It was the most recent open seat election for mayor and the turnout was 49 percent of 231,000 registered voters. The 2003 election in which John Hickenlooper beat Don Mares had a similar 113,000 turnout of 246,000 active voters, a 46 percent.

Turnout, if similar, in the April 4 the first round vote this year, could produce a doubling of voter turnout to about 200,000 based on the much higher numbers of active voters in 2023 (446,972).

Denver Mayor Turnout Table 2003 v 2011