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 (