Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bull Market Continues to Run

The year-end rally that produced a nearly 14 percent increase in the DOW has continued. And the DOW is still the laggard. Its 3.8 percent improvement in the first two months of the year was exceeded by the tech heavy NAS (6.6%, 43% in 2023) and the broader S&P (6.7%, 24% in 2023). All three indexes hit new highs this year.

Only a handful of stocks have been the primary movers in this market. The so-called Magnificent Seven: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet,, Nvidia, Meta Platform and Tesla.

The Dow End-of-Year

Although there continues to be uncertainty related to interest rates (now about 5%), inflation (above 3%) and a possible economic slowdown in the remainder of the year, it still appears to be a good investment market. Rates are likely to come down slower than expected in the next 10 months and inflation appears subdued, if not reversing. Also, with near full employment, wage gains, and steady consumer spending, fear of a recession has receded.

Year End Rally Continues? (January 3, 2024)

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Biden Narrows Gap

In the last month, President Biden has narrowed his voter gap with former President Trump from 4 points to 2 points but he is still behind. (Down 48% to 44% on January 30 to 46% to 44% on February 27) As the month ended, Trump was able to revel in the South Carolina win and his designation as the presumptive nominee.

Also, national polls show Biden is still losing more support to third-party candidates than Trump. He’s behind Trump 4 points when third-party candidates are included (RFK receives 14%). (See figure below)

The Presidential Polls
Below is a polling average drawn from RealClearPolitics (RCP) with regular comparisons to FiveThirtyEight (ABC News) website, Gallop, and other credible polls.

Ciruli Polling Review
2024 Presidential Election - February 27, 2024

Democrats mostly remain optimistic if not confident that the race is winnable. Forty percent of South Carolina Republicans voted for Nikki Haley, preferring an alternative to Trump.

The economy is improving, Trump induced chaos in the House, the backlash from his provocative talk about NATO and various legal skirmishes were big February news, helping Biden and Haley and keeping Trump on the defensive.

Biden Loses Presidential Election Today. (February 14, 2024)

Monday, February 26, 2024

Schiff, Garvey Have Lead as Porter Stalls

Porter and GarveyDemocratic U.S. Rep. Katie Porter and Republican Steve Garvey, Jan. 22, 2024.
Photo by Damian Dovarganes, AP Photo

After two debates and millions in advertising spending, the California Senate race is taking final shape with Democratic Congressperson Adam Schiff in a growing lead at 28 percent followed by Republican Steve Garvey (22%). Now stalled in third place in the latest Emerson College poll is Democratic Congressperson Katie Porter at 16 percent. A PPIC poll also conducted mid-month has Schiff ahead with Porter and Garvey tied for second place.

In the final debate (February 20), Porter launched an all-out attack on Schiff recognizing her vulnerable position two weeks out from the March 5 primary. She is targeting younger voters, the most difficult to turn out, especially in what is likely a lower turnout primary (a lack of presidential contest).

California Senate Race

Porter Drops to Third, Republican Garvey in Second (January 2, 2024)
Schiff Starts Ahead for Final Senate Run (December 18, 2023)

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Biden’s Colorado Win Cut in Half

Nationally, the presidential election is nearly tied (Biden 44% to Trump 45%) but two recent statewide Colorado surveys have President Joe Biden ahead of former President Donald Trump by about half (8 points) his 2020 election win of 14 points (55% to 42%). Trump is still toxic in the state with a negative 26 percent favorability rating compared to Biden’s negative 12 approval.

CO State Polls

Generally it's good news for Colorado Democrats. In more competitive congressional and legislative districts, Biden appears to be not much help but also not have much negative effect. Republicans must still deal with Trump, who will probably carry the congressional districts he won in 2020 but be a burden in swing districts.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Five Biggest Takeaways from Media Panel

The Colorado Water Congress February 2 media panel analyzed the national elections’ impact in Colorado, the state’s four most contested Congressional Districts, and the opening turmoil in the state legislature.

Biggest Takeaways

National: As of today, Biden would lose the national election and win Colorado by about half his 2020 victory – 14 points. His smaller margin would likely affect turnout and possibly close races as would ballot issues.
Congressional Districts: Colorado has three open Republican House seats with primaries. One appears competitive in November. Democrats must defend their newest seat.
  • 3rd CD incumbent fled the district. Republican candidate Jeff Hurd has the partisanship advantage but Democrat Adam Frisch has the money ($11 mil) and the close 2022 election result. Hurd has a slight edge.
  • 4th CD will not be a picnic for the “carpetbagger” candidate Lauren Boebert, but she has all the advantage of the standard metrics, money ($1.4 mil), name identification, a likely multiple candidate opposition, and powerful endorsements. However, establishment Republicans would like to see her gone and her edgy behavior weighs her down.
  • 5th CD is an open field with Republican State Chair Williams’ representing extreme MAGAs and possibly Doug Bruce trying to revive his old anti-tax reputation. Establishment will have candidate.
  • 8th CD first term incumbent Yadira Caraveo is vulnerable in closely balanced district but she has money and more name ID. If Biden runs weaker and Republicans find a capable candidate, close race is expected.
Best projection with current data is no change in partisan arrangement but a lot of drama and turmoil, at least through the June primary.
Legislature: After brief fight, Republicans pick new leadership as legislature opens. Democratic leadership start session after disciplining outlier members. Representative Epps is MIA at capital and may add to the 29 record vacancies. The Democratic super majority can expect more sparks as progressive members push controversial legislation. Republicans are so far back as of today a couple of seats could change parties but not enough to shift control of either house.

Political reporters:

  • John Frank – Axios
  • Marianne Goodland – Colorado Politics
  • Ernest Luning – Colorado Politics
  • Floyd Ciruli - Pollster, Moderator

Colorado Politics in an Unprecedented Year

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Biden Loses Presidential Election Today. Colorado Win Likely Cut in Half

As the general election begins, national polls show Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden by 2 points, as of February 13. While a few polls have Biden in the lead, the average has been negative for weeks. If third party candidate are included, Biden drops further and is losing by 5 points.

The Presidential Polls
Below is a polling average drawn from RealClearPolitics (RCP) with regular comparisons to FiveThirtyEight (ABC News) website, Gallop, and other credible polls.

poll feb 13 2024

Trump is still politically toxic in Colorado but Biden is hardly booming. A new Colorado poll shows Biden with a negative favorability of 12 points, 40% to 58% as Trump’s favorability rating was worse (62 unfavorable/36% favorable. (Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group). Biden still beats Trump but only by 8 points (49% to 41%), which would be about half his 14 point win statewide in 2020. The polling story appeared in Axios written by John Frank (2-7-24).

Friday, February 9, 2024

People are Voting with Their Feet – California Could Lose Four Congressional Seats

View of Los Angeles from Griffith Park Observatory Trails PeakView of Los Angeles from Griffith Park Observatory Trails Peak Nov. 14, 2022
Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo

The latest census population estimates have been released and when analyzed with congressional reapportionment, there is a dramatic shift of residents from Blue to Red states. The Brennan Center for Justice analyzed the data and projected the potential congressional shifts if trends seen the first couple of years after the 2020 census continue.

California, New York, Illinois are among the biggest losers in the latest population trends and Texas, Florida and South Carolina among the biggest winners.

Congressional Seat Shift

California just lost the first congressional district in its history, so the possibility is not just speculation. But there are several mitigating factors to watch. These trends often change during the ten years, immigration could step up, and Texas and Florida could have social or economic problems or acts of nature that depress their current attractiveness. Also, some of the factors cited by people leaving California could be mitigated, for example, the cost of living and deteriorating quality of life.

California Population is Dropping (February 22, 2023)
California’s Losing Population and Power (January 6, 2023)
From Counties to School Districts, New Election Districts are in a Fight (February 14, 2022)
California Gains a Few People, But Loses Power (August 26, 2021)
California Sends a Congressional District to Colorado (January 3, 2020)

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Pueblo Mayor Gradisar Crushed in Reelection Bid

Heather GrahamHeather Graham | Photo: Jess Hazel / KRCC

Observers thought first term incumbent Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar was in trouble in the January 23 mayors’ runoff election but were surprised by the 62 to 38 percent result. In the nominally nonpartisan election, Gradisar, a high-profile old-line Democrat, was beaten by a young, very vocal Republican, Heather Graham, who started her political journey angry about the pandemic lockdown’s effect on her local restaurants – obviously a sentiment widely shared.

Pueblo, a mostly Democratic working-class city, has become less dependably Democratic in recent years. Voters became restless since the pandemic with frequent complaints about the city reputation for crime and the visible homeless population. Graham, city council president who came in first ahead of Gradisar in the November multicandidate election, presented a detailed plan for police recruitment and retention and was endorsed by the local police officer union. As president, she argued part of the city’s problem was the mayor’s lack of collaboration, producing conflict and gridlock, now she’s the mayor.

Nick Gradisar Wins Pueblo Mayor (January 24, 2019)
Pueblo Crushes Municipalization (May 8, 2020)