Wednesday, October 16, 2019

One Year to the 2020 Presidential Election, Nov. 7 Event

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research would like to invite you to attend an event it is cohosting with the Office of Global Engagement, One Year to the 2020 Presidential Election, that will be held on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at 5 p.m. in Maglione Hall at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.

Can America Be Great Again?

Former Ambassador Christopher Hill and Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, Floyd Ciruli, will assess the changes in American democracy and the impact on American foreign policy with one year remaining to the 2020 59th presidential election. What does “America First” mean and can America be great again? This event follows the November 8, 2016, “Election Ramifications;” May 1, 2016, “First 100 Days;” and November 1, 2017, “One Year After the Trump Election” events in a series evaluating the Trump presidency with Hill and Ciruli.

5:00 PM – Doors Open / Reception 
5:30 PM – Presentation 
6:15 PM – Q&A
7:00 PM – Event Concludes

Maglione Hall
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex

University of Denver
2201 S. Gaylord St., 5th Floor
Denver, CO 80208


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

DU Panel on Colorado 2020 Primaries Attracted a Packed House

Does impeachment spell doom for Cory Gardner? Can Hickenlooper survive the Democrats’ climate change agenda? Will Bernie Sanders be a viable candidate in the Colorado March 3rd primary? Will the unaffiliated vote in the primaries favor Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, others? Can Proposition CC overcome the voter skepticism of state tax initiatives?

The panel of political experts opined on these and a host of other topics shaping Colorado’s 2020 political environment and likely to influence the March 3rd presidential and June 30th senate primaries. The panel was bipartisan with longtime participants in the political process who are often called on to make public observations.

Steve Welchert, Democratic consultant, Channel 7
Sheila MacDonald, Democratic consultant, Denver City election
Kelly Maher, Republican consultant, Channel 9
Dick Wadhams, Republican consultant, former state chair

Floyd Ciruli, director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies, moderated. The event was organized by the Crossley Center. The panel had some sharp disagreements, but they made a point of describing their friendships and observed that politics can be civil in spite of differences of opinion.

More than 60 community members, professors and students participated and offered commentary and questions.

The Crossley Center will sponsor another forum in the spring as the political year gets underway.

Monday, September 23, 2019

DU Panel on 2020 Election: Presidential and Senate Primaries, October 8, 2019

On March 3, 2020, Colorado will hold its first presidential primary in twenty years. It will join fifteen others states on Super Tuesday to help sort out the race. What will the field look like? Who will win Colorado and who’s likely to be the frontrunner on March 4?

Also, Colorado has one of the U.S. Senate races that could decide which party controls the chamber. Will John Hickenlooper maintain his frontrunner status into the June 30, 2020 primary? Does Cory Gardner have a path to victory?

On October 8, 2019, the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and the Korbel School at the University of Denver will assemble a bipartisan panel of political experts to examine and debate the political environment.

Panel Discussion: Colorado 2020 Presidential and Senate Primaries: 

Moderator: Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research

Steve Welchert – Democratic consultant, campaign manager, congressional candidates, ballot issues
Sheila MacDonald – Democratic consultant, campaign manager, ballot issues
Kelly Maher – Republican consultant, 9KUSA commentator
Dick Wadhams – Republican consultant, campaign manager and former State Chair

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

University of Denver Campus
Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex
Room 1150
2201 S. Gaylord St., Denver, CO

Event FREE, But Limited Space


Hill and Ciruli: Countdown to the 2020 Election: What’s at Stake for the U.S. and the World?

Ambassador Christopher Hill and Pollster and Professor, Floyd Ciruli, have tracked the Trump administration from Election Night in November 2016 through its first 100 days, to its one- and two-year anniversaries with commentary and analyses. Now, as the administration approaches its re-election effort, Hill and Ciruli will preview the 2020 election, one year out. The presentation will include the Democratic presidential primary and Colorado senate race, review of the main issues and the impact the election could have on the U.S. in world affairs.

Join Ambassador Hill and Professor Ciruli in a night of political and public policy discussion on November 7, 2019, hosted by the Office of Global Engagement at the University of Denver and the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Korbel School. Save the date. More details later.

November 7, 2019
Maglione Hall
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Anna and John J. Sie International Relations Complex

University of Denver
2201 S. Gaylord St., 5th Floor
Denver, CO 80208

Monday, September 16, 2019

KOA Interview: Hickenlooper Goes for Fast Break

John Hickenlooper rushed into the Colorado U.S. Senate race with his third video of the year, racking up a game of pool at his old brew pub, the Wynkoop (his announcement was March 4 and his withdrawal August 15). He moved quickly because there are 11 Democrats already in the race and they appear unlikely to drop out or stop their fundraising, endorsement seeking or organizing. In an  interview with April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz on August 23, we discussed what challenges he faces in the transition from a failed presidential campaign to frontrunner in the Colorado Senate race.

Failed President Campaign

It had been clear to most observers that after the second presidential debate in late July that Hickenlooper had little to no possibility to make the next debate round. And, in spite of his repeated efforts to downplay any interest in the Colorado Senate race, a host of D.C. politicians and media personalities told him to drop out and switch.

Once a decision was made, he conferred with his colleague, Michael Bennet, and began a fast and well-planned transition as the video and some early endorsements show.


Numerous polls confirm that Hickenlooper would enter as the frontrunner against the little known Democratic primary field (more than 50 points in one poll) and that 2020 was likely a Democratic year in Colorado, with a 10- to 13-point advantage (much of the Democratic ticket won by more than 10 points in 2018).

Hickenlooper’s problem is that there are two Democratic parties voting in the Democratic primary next June. There are about 150,000 party activists. They represent the more progressive wing of the party and various important interest and identity groups, like organized labor, environmentalists, women and minorities. (There will also be a new bloc of unaffiliated voters who can participate.)

Previous elections and recent polls confirm that the progressive wing comprises more than half of these activists. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren supporters are part of this group and don’t appreciate Hickenlooper’s anti-Medicare for All and Green New Deal positions. Anti-frackers have become more powerful in Colorado since Hickenlooper left office. They will actively oppose him. The teachers union opposes his position on charter schools and will likely find other candidates. At least early on, Hickenlooper will face the ire of Democratic groups that didn’t support him for president and won’t back him for senate unless forced to by the choice of Gardner vs. Hickenlooper.

Establishment Candidates

Hickenlooper likely wouldn’t be in the senate race, but for the effort of the Democratic Party establishment, especially in D.C. and its media-friendly organizations, like MSNBC, to encourage him. Minority Leader Schumer and a host of other Democratic senators believe that Hickenlooper was needed to help retake the majority. Within a couple of days of the announcement, the DSCC endorsed him with its financial clout and team of top D.C. consultants.

The only problem is that Colorado Democrats resent and usually resist the party establishment. In 2016, Bernie Sanders crushed Hillary Clinton among the Colorado activists who tend to dominate the party nominating apparatus. Hickenlooper will likely need to go by a petition nominating route to minimize the rank and file resistance. Republicans should benefit from the Democratic Party’s nomination donnybrook.

A couple of side notes:

Hickenlooper mentioned Mitch McConnell as often as Cory Gardner in his video. McConnell polls worse than Gardner. Expect a lot of attacks on McConnell.

One visible message was that Hickenlooper is a straight shooter. His repeated disparagement of the Senate as not a place that gets things done and his disinterest in it will be a long-term political weakness. The sudden switch has made him appear a partisan politician, which he’s tried to avoid his entire career.

KOA: Is Bennet Out?

April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz asked questions concerning Senator Michael Bennet’s prospects to be in the September debate, and if not, does he drop out?

Make the Stage – No

Although there may be a couple of polls done by August 28 that could be counted, but are not yet reported, it’s impossible for Bennet to make the stage. He’s never registered 2 percent in a national or state poll and he doesn’t have the online contributor goal (130,000). In fact, at the moment in the national polling average, he’s near the bottom and registered 0.5 percent, having missed even 1 percent in recent polls (rounded to 1% in chart below).

Drop Out – Now or Delay?

At least eight candidates are in a similar position to Bennet – should they drop out now or delay the decision? The October debate uses the same rules. They could go to Iowa and wait for the caucus.

Unless something extraordinary happens, the current field will be the group selected from by caucus and primary voters. Bennet must decide when delay becomes a political liability.

Read The Buzz: Michael Bennet: A Decision is Near

TABOR Override Below 50% in Adams County

The statewide TABOR override is in a close contest among Adams County likely voters. The Proposition CC labeled, “Retain revenue for education and transportation,” has 44 percent in favor to 40 percent opposed in a recent Ciruli Associates poll among Adams County likely November voters. It is below 50 percent, with two-fifths of voters already in opposition. In recent weeks, Democrats, i.e., legislators, recognizing the vulnerability of the proposition, have mostly abandoned it. And, indeed, the poll indicates initial Republican voter opposition (68%), which is likely to grow. Unaffiliated voters are leaning slightly against.

Opposition has already ramped up with attack ads appearing online. Republican leadership, realizing the tax implications of the proposition as a tool for a party in need of a rallying theme, has gone all in to oppose it.

Ballot Titling

Democrats gave the proposition a major public relations lift in the ballot titling. They started with a disclaimer about raising taxes, listed the programs benefitting, claimed the budget will remain balanced and offered an annual “independent” audit.

Proposition CC: Retain revenue for education and transportation

The Ciruli Associates polling question was more modest and straightforward in its description:

Proposition CC is a TABOR override to retain state tax revenue to fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges and transit. Do you favor or oppose the proposition to allow the state to keep and spend all the tax revenue it annually collects instead of the current requirement to refund the money to taxpayers?

The poll was conducted August 6-9, 2019, with 401 likely November Adams County voters (the area poll represents 77% of county), with plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The public tends to favor local TABOR overrides, but this one is for state government, which seldom has much voter support for tax increases, and Democrats made it permanent. The November 2019 turnout will be smaller, older and more conservative.

A couple of questions to ponder:
  • Will Proposition CC’s November result affect Democratic 2020 momentum and Governor Polis’ and the Democratic leadership’s political reputations?
  • Will the Proposition CC result affect the plans of liberal interest groups to take TABOR head-on next year?