Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Public Divided on Banning Sleeping in Public Spaces

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston visits homeless encmapmentDenver Mayor Mike Johnston visits homeless encampment
Photo: Kathryn Scott, The Denver Post

Although the public, especially in urban areas lists homelessness as one of their top concerns, they are divided on one of the main strategies cities use to manage the problem – namely a ban of sleeping in public space. A new Marquette Law School Poll on recent Supreme Court oral arguments found that Americans were divided 47 percent in support of a city being able to ban sleeping, in public space, and 36 percent opposed.

As expected, partisans disagreed. Only about a third of Democrats (36%) supported a ban whereas 63 percent of Republicans were in support.

Can Cities Ban Sleeping in Public Spaces?

But the biggest gap in opinions was seen between under and over 30 years old. More than half (58%) of Generation Z opposed a sleeping ban but among older Americans (60 years old plus), 59 percent support a ban and only a quarter (23%) oppose.

The challenge for urban Democratic leaders is the public’s demand to address homeless and the street population but the resistance of young Democratic voters to use a public sleeping space ban as a tool.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Western Leaders Face Unhappy Public

President Javier MileiArgentina's President Javier Milei speaks during a rally organised by the Spanish far-right Vox party ahead of the European elections, with various far-right leaders, in Madrid, Spain, May 19, 2024. REUTERS/Ana Beltran

With rare exceptions the public in democratic countries are unhappy with their top elected leaders. The few leaders with more approval than disapproval in a new Morning Consult poll in nominally democratic countries are populists in India, Narendra Modi, Argentina, Javier Milei, and Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Milei, the Argentine anarcho-capitalist who most recently insulted the Prime Minister of Spain and his wife, continues to command public favor by providing entertainment and nationalism in a crisis-ridden country.

Sample of National Leaders Approval and Disapproval

As embattled as President Biden is, he has the highest approval among US allies and Western European democracies. At 39 percent, he exceeds Scholz in Germany (26%), Sunek in the UK (25%), Macron in France (23%) and Kishida in Japan (15%). Centrist leaders are facing dour electorates and populist opponents.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Third Parties Could Have Big Impact in 2024

Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. kicks off petition drive to get on Colorado ballot at Aurora rally | Photo: Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics

National polls and history show that when the major parties nominate two unpopular presidential candidates, third parties become more attractive and can make a difference in the electoral vote. In 2016, third parties received nearly 6 million votes. In the three most closely contested states, the liberal third party candidate received more votes than Clinton lost by. Third parties were held to 2 percent nationwide in 2020 and 3 percent in Colorado (see table below). But they have 14 percent of the current national polling average (RealClearPolitics). RJK Jr. leads with 10 percent.

US and Colorado Presidential Election Results 2016 & 2020

Third party candidates represent a serious challenge to Biden, especially in battleground states such as Arizona and North Carolina. The first significant challenge a third party must overcome is ballot access. The Green Party has access to most states’ ballots.

Although RFK Jr. may get on the Colorado ballot, the state is not likely have a serious presidential contest. But, with a 48 percent unaffiliated voter registration, a record number of minor parties (8) attracting a fragmented electorate and a history of voter independence demonstrated in 1992 when Ross Perot received 23 percent of the vote, a third party candidate could expect considerable support. In the recent Super Tuesday primary, the two major party frontrunners lost a total of two-fifths of their fellow partisans (33% for Haley and 8% uncommitted).