Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The United Nations: Japan and U.S. in the Suga, Biden Era

The United Nations was sidelined for the U.S. the last four years by the America First policy. On December 9, two experts on the United Nations will discuss its importance in foreign policy and the opportunities and challenges the new administrations in Japan and the U.S. face to use the agency effectively.

Professor Tim Sisk of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Institute of Comparative and Regional Studies will be joined by Professor Akiko Fukushima, a Senior Fellow of the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, to discuss their latest work as it relates to the UN’s potential contribution to addressing a host of global problems. Professor Floyd Ciruli will moderate the discussion.

The program is supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.

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2:00 PM MT

December 9, 2020

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Video Now Available on Foreign Policy Impact of Election: U.S. and Japan

Hear Japan’s leading political analyst and television commentator, Professor Toshihiro Nakayama, describe the U.S. election night results from Japan’s perspective. He was joined in the conversation on the election’s impact on U.S.’s and Japan’s foreign policy by former Ambassador Christopher Hill.

The Nov. 11 program was supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.

WATCH VIDEO

As President-elect Joe Biden selects his foreign policy team, hear an analysis of the challenges and opportunities for a new policy in Asia.

See blogs:

Japanese TV Political Analyst Compares 2016 and 2020 Election Nights

President-elect Biden Warns China in First Talk with New Japanese Prime Minister 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

President-elect Biden Warns China in First Talk with New Japanese Prime Minister

In his first diplomatic conversation with the new Japanese Prime Minister, President-elect Joe Biden committed the U.S. to Japan’s defense of its disputed islands with China. It was a clear and early warning to China that a new team is in charge. As a part of the transition, Biden spoke to his counterparts in Japan, South Korea and Australia, establishing relationships and setting priorities.

The Japanese government recently underwent its own significant transition as record-serving (8 years) Prime Minister Shinzō Abe resigned on October 10 and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party selected Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga.

The Associated Press (11-13-20) reported Biden and Suga hit the key diplomatic points, considerably different than reported phone calls with foreign leaders from President Trump early in his term. It was clear Biden had been well briefed on the issues.

  • Importance of U.S.-Japan alliance and how to strengthen it
  • Focus on climate change, promote democracy, and work for a prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region with like-minded countries that share concerns about China
  • Shared view that China’s influence and North Korea’s nuclear trust are prime challenges. Most importantly, he offered a strong U.S. commitment to support Japan’s territorial rights to islands disputed with China.

Suga doesn’t have much foreign policy experience, but has been assisting Abe and his agenda for many years. Biden is not known for his relationship with Asia and Japan beyond his broad foreign policy experiences in the Senate and White House. So, the initial conversation was closely examined. Japan’s foreign policy senior officials were pleased with the alignment of values. Also, they believe Biden wanted to send a message of reassurance to other allies and a warning to potential adversaries that existing treaties are lines not to be crossed.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Japanese TV Political Analyst Compares 2016 and 2020 Election Nights

“It’s not the chaos, but the dark and hostile tone.”

Toshihiro Nakayama, one of Japan’s most famous TV political commentators, has covered America’s two Donald Trump elections. In 2016, in surprise, he stopped commentary for more than a minute when the race was called for Trump – a major pause for national television.

Wolf Blitzer on Election Night 2016 | CNN screenshot

His discussion of election night 2020 at a recent Korbel School Zoom forum was illuminating. A guest of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at DU, Toshi Zoomed in from Japan.

  1. The Japanese election night audience and commentators expected Trump to lose after mishandling the coronavirus and the normal election intelligence; i.e., polls, forecasts, etc., but the closeness, especially early in the evening, was a surprise.
  2. But the bigger difference with 2016 was not the chaos of the election because American democracy is chaotic, but the dark and hostile tone – the uncivil language; the conspiratorial and aggressive social media, tweets and retweets; the bullying first debate; and the hostile rhetoric at rallies.
  3. If you had a child watching in 2008, it was a celebration of democracy and America’s social progress. You wanted them to miss 2020.

John King on Election Night 2020 | CNN screenshot

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Election Central – Foreign Policy Impact: U.S. and Japan – Nov. 11

On November 11, join the conversation of the U.S. election results, the recent change in government in Japan, and their foreign policy impacts on the U.S.-Japanese alliance and policy in the Indo-Pacific region.

Returning is frequent Korbel School speaker, Ambassador Christopher Hill, now at Columbia University, joined by Japanese political and election television commentator, Professor Toshihiro Nakayama of Keio University in Tokyo. Crossley Center Pollster and Professor Floyd Ciruli will review the latest election results and moderate the discussion.

The program is supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

2:00 PM MT

November 11, 2020

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Post-Election Day Video Now Available

The Nov. 4th post-Election Day video on “What Happened? Why? What’s Next?” is now ready for viewing. On Nov. 4th, Korbel School Dean Fritz Mayer and Pollster and Professor Floyd Ciruli reviewed the results, the final polling and the political implications.  

The program was sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy.

WATCH VIDEO


Friday, October 30, 2020

Election Central – Foreign Policy Impact: U.S. and Japan – Nov. 11

On November 11, join the conversation on the foreign policy impacts of the U.S. election results and its effect on the U.S.-Japanese alliance and policy in the Indo-Pacific region.

Returning is former Dean and frequent Korbel School speaker, Ambassador Christopher Hill, now at Columbia University, joined with Japanese political and election television commentator, Professor Toshihiro Nakayama of Keio University in Tokyo. Crossley Center Professor Floyd Ciruli will review the latest election data and moderate the discussion.

The program is supported by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

2:00 PM MT

November 11, 2020

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Crossley Center Election Coverage Continues

The Crossley Center with the Korbel School and University of Denver are committed to a program that informs the electorate about the issues and political environment and provides opportunities for public engagement. The Friends of the Crossley Center have been in the front row of a series of election-related programs on media, polling and forecasting; Colorado issues and campaigns; and China’s role in the election. Video archives of all the programs are available here.

The program continues through Election Day, and as the final results become clearer, we will shift to foreign policy on Nov. 11th.

Next, the Results – The Nov. 3rd Election: What Happened? Why? What’s Next? – Nov. 4

Is November 3rd the most important election in a generation? Most voters believe it (77% Gallup). On November 4th, Pollster and Professor Floyd Ciruli and Korbel School Dean Fritz Mayer will review what’s known and unknown in the presidential and Senate results. Was it a blue wave or a mixed outcome? What is expected next from election officials, candidates and campaigns – final counts, concessions, lawsuits, demonstrations? 

This discussion is sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

3:00 PM MT

November 4, 2020

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Election Central – Foreign Policy Impact: U.S. and Japan – Nov. 11

Frequent Korbel School speaker, Ambassador Christopher Hill, now at Columbia University, joins Professor Toshihiro Nakayama, national media commentator from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, and Crossley Center Director Floyd Ciruli for an update of the U.S. election results and discussion of the foreign policy implications for the U.S. and Japanese alliance from the elections in both countries (Japan just changed prime minister through a parliamentary party selection). 

This program is sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

2:00 PM MT

November 11, 2020

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Election Central Videos Are Now Available

Many Friends of the Crossley Center have requested the videos of the election Zoom programs held this October. They are now ready for viewing. Join Professor Ciruli as he hosts Election Central programs. 

Forecasting and Who Wins the Presidency and Senate – October 13

Jessica Taylor, an editor of the Cook Political Report, one of the most followed forecasting publications, described the Cook Political Report’s latest presidential and U.S. Senate predictions, including Colorado. WATCH VIDEO

Election Night 2020: Long Night, Long Count – October 16

A panel of media and election experts on what the election night will look like in Colorado and across the country. The panel:

  • Tim Ryan, veteran 9KUSA Assistant News Director and now Director of Content
  • Shaun Boyd, CBS4 political reporter
  • John Frank, political reporter, Colorado Sun and formerly Denver Post
  • Amber McReynolds, former head of Denver Elections Department and now CEO of National Vote at Home Institute

WATCH VIDEO

Colorado Political Experts: Two Weeks Out – October 21

A panel of top political, policy and media experts discussed the competitive races in Colorado: presidential, senate and congressional, legislature and ballot issues. The panel:

  • Dick Wadhams, former Republican Chair, consultant, CBS4 commentator and Denver Post columnist
  • Sheila MacDonald, veteran consultant to leading Democratic campaigns and numerous local and statewide ballot issues
  • Joey Bunch, editor, senior writer, columnist for Colorado Politics and the new Denver Gazette

WATCH VIDEO

The U.S. and China in the 2020 Election – A New Cold War? – Sept. 30

Will the next administration inherit a new Cold War regardless of who wins? Professors Floyd Ciruli and Suisheng “Sam” Zhao discussed the issues. WATCH VIDEO

Election Central: Pre-Labor Day Update – Sept. 1

Join Professor Floyd Ciruli in a pre-Labor Day review of the major issues, such as the pandemic, race relations and the economy, and the position of the campaigns and the major questions related to polls and forecasts. WATCH VIDEO

Podcast: Political Polls: Can We Trust Them? 

For those of you who want to know more about what happened with the 2016 presidential polls and if it could happen again, tune into a DU RadioEd podcast on the subject. LISTEN HERE

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Nov. 3rd Election: What Happened? Why? What’s Next?

The public believes November 3 will be the most important election in a generation. On November 4, Dean Fritz Mayer and Professor Floyd Ciruli will review what’s known and unknown in the presidential and senate results. Was it decisive or a muddle? What is expected next from election officials, candidates and campaigns – concessions, lawsuits, demonstrations?

This discussion is sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, the Korbel School of International Studies and the Scrivner Institute of Public Policy.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

3:00 PM MDT

November 4, 2020

REGISTER HERE

Wolf Blitzer on Election Night 2016 | CNN photo

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Colorado Election Experts – Two Weeks Out

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research presents a Zoom conversation on October 21 at 3:00 pm MT with a panel of top political, policy and media experts discussing the competitive races in Colorado: presidential, senate and congressional, legislature and ballot issues. Will Colorado finally end the Gallagher Amendment after the previous failed attempts? Does the state want to join the popular vote and leave the Electoral College behind? Is the public about to move away from reproductive choice?

Join Professor Floyd Ciruli and the panel as they provide their opinions on the state of the election.

  • Dick Wadhams, former Republican Chair, consultant, CBS4 commentator and Denver Post columnist
  • Sheila MacDonald, veteran consultant to leading Democratic campaigns and numerous local and statewide ballot issues
  • Joey Bunch, editor, senior writer, columnist for Colorado Politics and the new Denver Gazette

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

3:00 PM MDT

OCTOBER 21, 2020

REGISTER HERE

Friday, October 9, 2020

The U.S. and China in the 2020 Election – A New Cold War?

Is China an issue in the 2020 election? Are presidential campaigns likely to affect China policy? Will the next administration inherit a new Cold War regardless of who wins?

Professors Floyd Ciruli and Suisheng “Sam” Zhao discuss the issues to 200 friends of the Crossley Center.

WATCH VIDEO

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Americans Say Russia Will Attempt to Disrupt the Election

 Most Americans (75%) believe “Russia or other foreign governments” will attempt to influence our election this November. The percentage of the public concerned about Russian or other interferences has increased by 8 percentage points the last two years, up from 67 percent in the 2018 election.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified September 17 before the Homeland Security Committee that indeed Russia is actively interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign. As CNN reports:

According to Wray, Russia is using social media, proxies, state media and online journals to sow "divisiveness and discord" and "primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment."

Forecasting and Who Wins the Presidency and Senate

Jessica Taylor, editor at the Cook Political Report, one of the most followed forecasting publications, will join the Friends of the Crossley Center and the Korbel School to discuss the process of forecasting and why a candidate’s ratings may change. She will also describe the Cook Political Report’s latest presidential and U.S. Senate race predictions, including Colorado.

Join Professor Floyd Ciruli and Korbel School Dean Fritz Mayer on October 13 at 3:00 pm MT for a virtual conversation on the 2020 election as early voting is underway in Colorado and other states around the country. 

JOIN US ON ZOOM

OCTOBER 13, 2020

3:00 PM MT

REGISTER HERE

Cook Political Report, Sept. 30, 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Ambassador Christopher Hill Joins Columbia University Faculty

Chris Hill was just appointed the George W. Ball Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. The announcement from SIPA Dean Merit Janow follows:

I am also pleased to share that Ambassador Christopher Hill will serve as the George W. Ball Adjunct Professor at SIPA in Spring 2021. As the George W. Ball Adjunct Professor, Ambassador Hill will teach a course on diplomacy and also deliver the annual George W. Ball lecture, among other activities. His extraordinary foreign policy experience will be of tremendous benefit to our students and intellectual community, and we look forward to welcoming him to SIPA this spring.

Chris was the Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies for 7 years, professor of diplomacy and head of a DU Center of Global Engagement. Chris and I frequently presented on politics, elections and foreign policy.

Congratulations Chris on your Columbia appointment.

Floyd Ciruli and Chris Hill present a post-election event,
Nov. 2016 | University of Denver photo


Monday, September 21, 2020

Crossley Center Fall Election Program

The Fall Election Program has begun with virtual presentations, which started with pre-Labor Day Zoom update on the status of the election and a podcast commentary on the accuracy of polling. China and its impact on the election is the first virtual conversation. A panel of Colorado election experts is next in October and November 3 results discussed post-Election Day. YouTube, podcasts and virtual events are adjusting to the pandemic. Join us for the most important election in the century.


Election Central: Pre-Labor Day Update
The recording of the “Election Central: Pre-Labor Day” session is available. Join with the 140 Friends of the Crossley Center who participated in a review of the major issues, such as the pandemic, race relations and the economy, and the position of the campaigns on September 1, the major questions related to polls and forecasts, and what Election Night will look like.


Podcast: Political Polls: Can We Trust Them? 
For those of you who want to know more about what happened with the 2016 presidential polls and if it could happen again, tune into a DU RadioEd podcast I did on the subject. LISTEN HERE

The U.S. and China in the 2020 Election: A New Cold War?
On September 30, our opening program “The U.S. and China in the 2020 Election – A New Cold War?” brings together Professor Sam Zhao of the Center for China-US Cooperation and Professor Floyd Ciruli of the Crossley Center in a conversation addressing the questions around the U.S.-China relationship’s effect on the election and whether the campaigns are ensuring a new Cold War regardless of who wins. Plan to join the program on Zoom at 3:00 pm on September 30. REGISTER HERE

Colorado Political Experts Election Panel: Presidential, Senate and Third Congressional
Some of Colorado’s best political minds will share their assessments of the major races and ballot issues as early voting starts. They will also discuss Election Night and what to expect as the returns roll in. Zoom, October 21 at 3:00 pm. REGISTER HERE

Election 2020: What Happened? Why?
On November 4, Dean Fritz Mayer and Professor Floyd Ciruli will discuss the available results and lead a conversation of what happened and why. Zoom, 3:00 pm, November 4. SAVE THE DATE

Thursday, September 17, 2020

National Dashboard: 50 Days Out – Little Movement

With less than 50 days to November 3 and only a few weeks until ballots arrive in Colorado (October 9), the National Dashboard of Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s positions have not moved significantly since mid-April. Biden still leads in the head-to-head and Trump still maintains his mid to low 40s approval rating as he has for most of his term.

As of September 15, post the two conventions and more than a week after Labor Day, polls continue to range around the same averages in spite of a variety of astounding news with The Atlantic article accusing the President of denigrating the war dead, the Bob Woodward book accompanied by tapes of interviews with Trump, and more protests and violence in American cities. Also, both candidates are now going into battleground states – the President with his raucous rallies and Biden with masks, small groups and Zoom.


The President’s current disapproval at 54 percent and a negative 9 points is slightly better than two weeks ago, but the head-to-head spread remains a similar 7 points, down from 8 to 10 during the summer, but still substantial.

Trump is betting, as the virus recedes in the news and some level of normalcy gains traction, that his law and order theme and the economy will work with swing voters and late deciders for the final advantage. The numbers remain close enough to make the theory plausible, but early voting is starting and the numbers have been stubborn.

From Left to Right, Social Issues to Taxes, Colorado Voters Face Eleven Ballot Issues

In a Colorado Politics report. Marianne Goodland (9-8-20) describes the impact, sponsors and opponents of the 11 ballot issues Colorado voters will sort through this election.

I predict massive turnout because of the presidential race. I did not believe the ballot issues would influence it, but will have to deal with it.

As University of Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli said recently, there’s something on the ballot for everybody this year.

The 11 measures approved for the Nov. 3 ballot touch on social, fiscal and electoral issues and represent diverse political views, Ciruli told Colorado Politics.

As a result, it's a wash for either side to think a particular ballot question would drive turnout in their candidates' favor. Voter turnout in Colorado is likely to be record-setting, regardless, Ciruli said.

The major protagonists include: environmental groups interested in introducing grey wolves and the farm and ranch community in opposition; long-time opponents engaged in an abortion limit; conservative tax groups are active for tax reduction and the placement of fees under TABOR; and liberal interests are backing paid leave with business interests in opposition. More than $10 million has already been raised, mostly from out-of-state funders. 

As Vaccine Becomes Politicized, a Majority Won’t Take It

 Preparation, introduction and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine have become politicized, and now two-thirds of the public say they won’t take it. Another blow to President Trump, who saw it as a game changer for his come from behind Election Day strategy.

With Trump’s frequent insistencies that the vaccine would be ready before the end of the year and the recent order from the CDC that local distribution sites be ready before Election Day, the vaccine is now part of the political landscape and its utility to containing the virus is compromised.

A new poll shows that only a fifth of the public (21%) would get vaccinated as soon as possible. The majority (58%) would wait to see what happens. Two-thirds (65%) say “if there is a vaccine this year” their “first thought would be” it was “rushed through.” The YouGov panel poll was conducted September 2-4, 2020 for CBS News.

In another indicator of the politicization of the vaccine: in March, 86 percent of voters trusted information from the CDC. Today, only 54 percent.


In fact, there is an across-the-board decline in the credibility of authorities and sources of information about the virus, but the CDC took the brunt of the loss.

The More Trump Campaigns, the More Democrats Benefit

Joe Biden’s supporters are more likely to say their support is based on dislike of Donald Trump than support for Biden. A majority of Democrats (56%) say dislike of Trump is the main reason for their support of Biden. Only 19% of Trump supporters say their main motivation is dislike of Biden.

Observers have suggested that this is one of the origins of the enthusiasm gap between Biden and Trump (20% difference between “strong support” for Trump – 66% over Biden – 46%). But, it also reflects the contradiction in Trump’s basic strategy. The more he campaigns, especially on his instinct and with his aggressive rhetoric, the more he strengthens Biden’s base and alienates independent voters.

For example, the thrust of the Trump convention and post-convention strategy is law and order. And indeed, Americans oppose the violence they see and read about on the news and newsfeeds. But, when asked if what the candidates are saying about protests is making the “situation better, worse or doesn’t have much of an affect,” 55 percent say Trump makes it worse, including 26 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats, and importantly, 53 percent of independents. Only 13 percent of the public believes he’s helping.


In a follow-up question, Trump lost out to Biden by nearly two-to-one on questions of uniting vs. dividing America (64% Biden vs. 33% Trump), doing a better job of handling race discrimination (64% Biden vs. 34% Trump), or doing a better job handling protests (59% Biden vs. 39% Trump).

Gardner Hits the Final Run Still Off the Pace

The August 30 poll from Morning Consult, the second in the last six weeks, brought bad news for Cory Gardner. He was 9 percentage points behind his Democratic challenger, John Hickenlooper, just as the race led into the final 60 days. An even more recent poll from AARP offered better news, but still showed Gardner down 5 points (51% to 46%) (9-5-20).

Gardner’s campaign and financial allies have been pouring money into advertising, much of it negative, in the hope of realigning the race. It has had a mixed result. In the Morning Consult’s July poll (7-12-26), the race had tightened to 6 points from a presumed 10 or more points in several previous polls before and after the June 30 primary. But then, they reported it as 9 points just before Labor Day.

As I commented recently, Gardner needs to show the race is closing or the party may begin to shift support to Republican incumbents in closer races, such as Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Steve Daines in Montana and Joni Ernst in Iowa.

The collective problem the entire Republican senate field faces is that the presidential campaign is stalled and 6 to 7 points behind nationally. Both of the latest Colorado polls have Donald Trump 10 points behind Joe Biden.

All the commentators on the poll mention that a Republican must win the unaffiliated voters to survive a statewide race in Colorado, and in the Morning Consult poll, Gardner is 23 points behind Hickenlooper by self-declared independent voters. He was 13 points behind in the earlier poll. The AARP poll reported voters 50 years old and older were 2 points in favor of Gardner (49% to 47%), a good, but not unexpected figure. However, it’s not good enough to make up for the difference among under 50 years old voters (52% Hickenlooper, 44% Gardner).


Read blogs:

Election Central: Conversation on Election 2020

 Is there a Silent Majority? Will the polls tighten? Where’s the Colorado senate race now?

Watch the Crossley Center video, “Election Central,” which reviews the candidate polls and the major election questions, including Election Night, as the campaigns go into their final runs.

August Economic Report Shows Slow Recovery. Bipartisan Public Support for More Stimulus Payments.

 The Senate defeated an economic stimulus proposal just as the American people reported it as their top priority and as the August economic report showed the pace of the recovery has slowed. In its top political issues for voting, Pew reported on August 13 that the economy was the most important issue for voters it tested, attracting 79 percent.

Although the overall unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent from 10.2 percent in July, the biggest news was an increase in reported layoffs and furloughs becoming permanent. Announcements of planned corporate layoffs has mounted with United Airlines – 16,000, American Airlines – 19,000, MGM – 18,000, Coca-Cola – 4,000, Marriott Hotels – 100,000 and Boeing – 6,000. The Federal Reserve confirmed the need for more stimuli, from Chairman Jerome Powell, to numerous board members, such as Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, who said: “Partisan politics threatens to endanger additional fiscal relief…a very significant downside risk to the economy today.”

Gallup reports a bipartisan majority support more stimulus. Seventy percent of U.S. adults support more federal stimulus payments, including 82 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans.


Both parties need to find a compromise. The public was also generous on the size of the payment, with majorities of both parties supporting payments of at least $600 per week.

Courts and Judges are Important to Both Parties

 President Trump in his long interview with Bob Woodward revealed the names of people on his shortlist of possible Supreme Court nominees. It included conservative Republican Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Arkansas) and Josh Hawley (Missouri).

In a recent poll on the most important issues in the election, Supreme Court appointees were third on a list of 12 items asked of voters in early August 2020, with 68 percent of voters making it a “very important” issue. It ranked ahead of the coronavirus and violent crime, but behind the economy and health care. Both Democrats (61%) and Republicans (66%) believe it is very important, each from their own perspectives. 



Early Polls – Still Biden Advantage

 Donald Trump needed a bounce from his convention. In fact, he needed a leap. He was losing on average 7.4 points before the event and is losing this week by 7.2 points according to the RealClearPolitics average posted yesterday, Wednesday, September 2.

Today’s results aren’t much better in the battleground states. A new Fox News poll conducted in Arizona, North Carolina and Wisconsin through September 1 shows Trump losing to Biden by an average of 7 points. All three Republican senate candidates are also on the defensive.


Political Polls: Can we trust them?

I just did a political podcast for the University of Denver online radio on the accuracy of polls:

  • What happened to the polls in 2016?
  • Are they better today?
  • Biden’s ahead, but Trump has strengths
  • Is there a Silent Majority being missed in the polls?

Listen to the podcast here

Are National Republicans Giving Up on Gardner?

 In the online paper, the Colorado Times Recorder, reporter Sean Price puts together a story on speculation that since Donald Trump’s campaign hasn’t targeted Colorado, the national Republicans funding sources may be walking away from incumbent Senator Cory Gardner.
Sen. Cory Gardner | Getty Images


I doubted it, although I agreed it doesn’t appear Trump’s chances in Colorado, as of now, are very good.

Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado pollster and political analyst, does not believe Republican donors are going to back away from Gardner. He argues that Gardner is too close to leadership to forsake, but Ciruli can’t ignore the difficulties that Garner will face in his campaign.

“If you look at Arizona, the presidential race is close,” Ciruli said. “Same with Montana. The president may well carry North Carolina. It will be close in Maine. Nobody thinks Colorado is going to be close at the moment. There’s no way the Trump campaign is going to spend big in Colorado because you can’t find a poll that has Trump within ten points. And that is Cory’s problem.”

If Trump was investing in Colorado, it might help, but Gardner’s challenge is to be ahead of Trump by sufficient votes to defeat John Hickenlooper – today, polls have that number at least six points. Trump may lose by twice that amount. Finally, I argued that in late September/early October, the D.C. Republican funders of campaigns will make a decision as to where to put their final money.

Not until mid-September or early October will national Republican groups, like the NRSC, decide whether to desert Gardner, according to both Welchert and Ciruli “It’s important to note that McConnell’s PAC is pulling away,” Ciruli said. “That’s an important factor. But there is still quite a lot of other dark money in this race. Maybe on October 1, if Gardner is down 6-8 points, you’ll start to see them give up on him, but not yet.”

Could Hickenlooper Lose?

 As of mid-August, polls and political prognosticators suggest that Democratic Senate candidate, John Hickenlooper, will have to work very hard to lose to incumbent Senator Cory Gardner. But, if anxious Democratic activists are any indication, it could happen. Hickenlooper’s campaign is judged as weak and his strategy overly dependent on Donald Trump.

Polls suggest he’s at least 6 points ahead of Gardner and President Trump’s down at least ten to Joe Biden. Political science suggests the linkage between voters’ preferences for president and senate is very strong in the age of polarization.

But, the feedback from many media observers, political consultants and just activist Democrats desperate to win the senate is that Hickenlooper’s campaign is disorganized and losing ground. He appears to be trying to avoid engagement with Gardner and it’s creating an issue. He is also not interacting with local media, which wants calls answered. According to numerous activists, the campaign is depending purely on online and media advertising, but many are criticizing the ads as poorly produced and boring, which reflects the opposite of many of his previous campaigns. Hickenlooper appears remote and still without a short, clear message as to why he is running. Maybe it won’t matter – his handlers seem to think so. But, the negative feedback is loud.

Democratic senate candidate John Hickenlooper | AP photo


Friday, September 11, 2020

Ciruli: Podcast – Are the Polls Accurate?

Poll Skeptic
“I’ll bet $100 that the polls on 1 October will be off by MORE than the margin of error from the results of the presidential election in early November. I’m interested to see if indeed polling has improved in the past 4 years from the dumpster fire it was in 2016.”

I pointed out that polls on October 1 will describe the election on that day within the margin of error, not the result on November 3. Polls in 2016 weren’t a “dumpster fire.” Tune into my DU podcast to get the full discussion.


Political Polls: Can we trust them?

Since Donald Trump's upset victory in the 2016 election, skepticism of political polls has grown steadily. After all, the numbers showed Hillary Clinton in the lead from start to finish. Pollster and political analyst Floyd Ciruli talks to us about what happened four years ago, the likelihood of the president eking out a similar victory on Nov. 3, and what it all says about the state of the country and democracy worldwide. Listen here 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The U.S. and China in the 2020 Election – A New Cold War?


China is a topic in the U.S. presidential election. President Trump and the administration regularly speak of it in disparaging terms. Public sentiment and many members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment have turned against it decisively. Does the next U.S. administration inherit a new Cold War with all of its costs and dangers?

Professors Suisheng (Sam) Zhao and Floyd Ciruli will lead a conversation on China as a presidential election issue and the alternatives for China policy in the next administration.

Join the talk on September 30 at 3:00 pm MT

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Election Central: Pre-Labor Day Update

The Democratic Convention is done and the Republicans are underway. Join us September 1st when the conventions are over to preview the race before the campaigns start in full force. The Friends of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research have organized a session to have a conversation as to where the campaigns stand.

We will have two highly watched races in Colorado – one for U.S. Senate, and after the upset primary, the 3rd Congressional District. But, of course, most importantly and powerfully influential on local races will be the contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The following topics will be discussed on September 1st at 11:00 am MT:
  1. Where’s the election today? Who’s ahead, who’s behind? U.S. Presidential, Colorado Senate, Third Congressional?
  2. Are the polls accurate? What about the Silent Majority (secret Trump vote)?
  3. Will the race tighten? What are the underdog’s strategies to win and will they work?
  4. Who’s going to vote? How many? Problems?
  5. What will election night look like? When will we call the race?


Former VP Joe Biden (L) and his wife Jill Biden (2nd left) and Sen.
Kamala Harris (2nd from right) and her husband Doug Emhoff (R) wave
to supporters after Biden spoke during the fourth day of the Democratic
Convention, Aug. 20, 2020 | Andrew Harnik/AP

Friday, August 21, 2020

Election Central: Pre-Labor Day Update

With one convention completed and the second about to begin, the election is poised to start in full force. Before the onslaught, the Friends of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research have been invited to a session to present a status report and have a conversation as to where the campaigns stand.

We will have two highly watched races in Colorado – one for U.S. Senate, and after the upset primary, the 3rd Congressional District. But, of course, most importantly and powerfully influential on local races will be the contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

The following outlines topics we will discuss on September 1st at 11:00 am MT:
  1. Where’s the election today? Who’s ahead, who’s behind? U.S. Presidential, Colorado Senate, Third Congressional?
  2. Are the polls accurate? What about the Silent Majority (secret Trump vote)?
  3. Will the race tighten? What are the underdog’s strategies to win and will they work?
  4. Who’s going to vote? How many? Problems?
  5. What will election night look like? When will we call the race?

SEPTEMBER 1st ZOOM EVENT

Crystal Ball
Electoral College Rating
July 14, 2020

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Battlegrounds: Millions are Being Spent in Battleground Advertising. Are the Numbers Starting to Move?

In the last month, there has been little movement in the battleground numbers, even with millions in advertising expenditures from the Trump campaign. The state polling numbers in 2020 are more reliable with multiple polls conducted by national media outlets.

The President improved his position by a point in Arizona and Michigan, two points in Florida, and his biggest gain of four in North Carolina, going to three points for Biden to one for Trump. He lost a point in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. I’ve added Ohio to the watch list. Trump won it by 8 points in 2016 and is now behind by 2 points.


Out of the seven states on the battleground list, three are within the margin of error (typically ±3 points). This remains a close race that will likely be fought through Election Day, and this year, like 2000, possibly after Election Day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

National Dashboard: Democrats in Strong Position as Convention Begins

Examining the National Dashboard from the last post on July 28 shows little change in the presidential race. As the Democratic National Convention begins, the Democratic presumptive nominee, Joe Biden, is 8 points ahead of Donald Trump. The convention appeared to get initial good reviews. The polls have been frozen in a narrow range and it will be surprising to see much of a bounce. And, of course, the Republican Convention begins next week and may receive its own bounce.

Trump’s approval rating remains at 42 percent in spite of repeated polls showing he has lost the COVID-19 management and the race relations issues by more than 20 percent. He does win approval on the economy, but it hasn’t helped yet. His highest approval this year was after impeachment and before the virus. It’s not clear how he gets back to that number.

Most professional pollsters and campaign consultants believe the race will tighten, especially after Labor Day. In fact, the race has closed by one point if July 1st is used as the baseline.

Third Congressional Now a Competitive Race

A top Democratic polling firm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR) just released a Third Congressional District poll that showed the race is tied (43% Mitsch Bush to 42% Boebert). It was a bit of a surprise. The district was judged to lean Republican because of recent wins by the incumbent Congressman Scott Tipton and Donald Trump’s 12- point win in 2016. The recent history would likely still give Republicans an edge in the district. But, the fact President Trump is also tied with his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden (43% each), this becomes a race.

Neither candidate is well-known, except for extreme images argued by partisans. Diane Mitsch Bush is labeled a “socialist” due to having support for Medicare for All and Democratic positions from her 2018 run. Lauren Boebert is a gun-toting, strong Trump supporter who’s made reference to QAnon. If the presidential race is close in the Third Congressional District, an “extremist” label is unhelpful. If Boebert avoids it, she’ll have the advantage because of her public relations skills and Trump-like positions. But, in a Democratic dominated House, having a pragmatic Democrat may be the preferred choice. Expect major campaigning with millions spent.


Read blog
Tipton is Gone. Can the Republicans Hold the Seat?

Economic Recovery Stalls as Deaths rise: Twin Towers – Part Nine

Since the last Twin Towers report on July 13, California, which had been fifth in COVID-19 fatalities, moved to third, and Texas leapt over a host of states to become fourth, with Florida following it at sixth, and likely to move up the next 30 days as total deaths have kept a steady pace of increases. Fatalities were up 22,000 from mid-June to July and 26,000 since mid-July to August 12 to a total of 168,000.


Although treatments are improving and fatality rates declining, the sudden flare-up after re-opening has spread anxiety about controlling the virus and undermining the confidence of individuals, business and government decision-makers on gauging the safe path to pre-COVID-19 activities. Reconvening schools and athletics and restarting the hospitality and recreational industries have been especially affected.

The unemployment rate in July compared to June went down to 10.2 percent from 11.1 percent in June. That remains a record high, near the top rate in the Great Recession of 2008-09 (10.0% Oct. 2009). Although 1.8 million jobs were added, that was lower than the 4.8 million in June and very few were in goods producing manufacturing.

The recovery was slowed in Florida, Texas and Arizona due to their spikes in COVID-19. The nationwide recovery is now being affected by the growing view that major labor market growth will depend on businesses having confidence that consumer demand will be steady and employees will feel safe. The spikes have reduced confidence, required some rollbacks, and extended the time required for the recovery. The most commonly heard comments are about the lack of national leadership, including the recent failure to extend unemployment payments and federal funding for schools, and state and local governments.

See blogs:
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part One
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Two
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Three
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Four
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Five
The Twin Towers of Pain: Part Six
Recession Starts, COVID-19 Continues: Twin Towers – Part Seven
Surge in Infections and Deaths Threatens Jobs: Twin Towers – Part Eight

Friday, August 7, 2020

Trump is a Problem for Gardner, But Also a Great Benefactor

Donald Trump is losing Colorado today in the presidential race and may drag Cory Gardner down with him. But, it is also a great boon having a friend in the White House worried about Gardner’s re-election.

Much of Gardner’s campaign message will tout what he accomplished for Colorado, including passing the Great American Outdoors Act, moving BLM, securing the Space Force, etc. Gardner is also very adept at working with the Senate leadership. Very impressive record for a freshman, but is it enough?

President Donald Trump signs the H.R. 1957, “The Great American
Outdoors Act,” at the White House, Aug. 4, 2020 | Alex Brandon/AP

Trump Searches for Silent Majority With New Ads – Unfortunately, It’s Not 1972

The Trump campaign released a couple of new advertisements in target states that have early voting. It’s part of the shift in strategy by the new campaign manager, Bill Stepien. The messaging is basically aimed at the base Trump Republican voters. The message is that Joe Biden is captive of far-left Bernie Sanders, AOC wing of the party. It shouts out: taxes, immigrants and crime.

The Silent Majority strategy is an attempt to replay the Richard Nixon 1972 campaign of running against “acid, amnesty and abortion.” The difference between the Nixon and Trump campaigns is that Nixon managed to quiet most voter concern over the COVID-19 issue of that era – the Vietnam War. Through Vietnamization, Peace with Honor and massive troop reduction from 536,000 in LBJ’s last year to 24,000 in 1972, he could then focus his campaign on social issues and label Democrats “captured by the far-left wing of the party.”

It’s the Pandemic, Stupid
Unfortunately for Stepien, Trump’s still losing by 60 percent to 30 percent the main issue on people’s minds – COVID-19. The Trump campaign is just reinforcing its narrow base, which may get it to 42 percent, but will have a struggle to even get the 46 percent of 2016, much less Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent.

Biden is Not McGovern
The second problem with Stepien, et al’s approach is that George McGovern and the 1972 Democratic Party was clearly controlled by the party’s insurgent wing. McGovern defeated establishment figures, like Ed Muskie and Hubert Humphrey, and the chaotic convention didn’t welcome big city mayors, like Richard Daley, Democratic governors or major labor unions. Biden defeated the liberal wing on Super Tuesday and they surrendered shortly thereafter. The basic Republican message is not a good fit. It’s not 1972.

Watch “Silent Majority” ad here

See Washington Times article:
Trump team’s blitz on Biden shifts to early battlegrounds

The South and West are Rushing Forward in COVID-19 Fatalities

From well back in the queue, California is now in third-place among the states in COVID-19 fatalities, jumping ahead of Massachusetts in the last week. New York and New Jersey are still the frontrunners in number of deaths, but also in managing the virus. Texas is on a tear, and in the last week, overtook Florida in reported deaths. Texas and Florida are now sixth and seventh, respectively, as the states in the Northeast and Midwest have lowered their rates of new infections and deaths.

This is clearly a difficult disease to manage and it’s putting tremendous strain on the health care system, the economy and social relationships in general. But, political leadership from Washington, down to counties and mayors, are reeling from the tension between the virus and the economy. Although there are majorities for safe, careful reopening and return to schools, there is also a strong and vocal minority resisting masks and social distancing and for a rapid return to pre-pandemic conditions.

Democrats Need Four Seats to Win the Senate – Three are in the West

Democrats need a net of four new seats to win control of the Senate and remove Mitch McConnell as majority leader – a top party goal. They assume they are going to lose the Alabama Senate seat won in 2018 in a very strange special election. They are targeting vulnerable incumbents in Maine and North Carolina. But, three possible wins exist in the Mountain West in Arizona, Colorado and Montana.


  • In Arizona, Mark Kelly is 7 points ahead of incumbent Republican Martha McSally. President Trump is losing to Joe Biden by 4 points. Trump truly needs the state and is visiting it incessantly. He carried it by 3 points in 2016. 
  • Trump is far behind in Colorado. The state received an Ivanka Trump visit, but is not targeted. He’s behind by 13 points. The senate race is closer, but Democrat John Hickenlooper is still 6 points up over Cory Gardner. Trump lost the state by 5 points in 2016. 
  • Montana is new to the list of Democratic senate targets. It is a longer-shot since Trump is ahead by 6 points and won it by 20 points. However, Democrat Governor Steve Bullock is now ahead of incumbent Steve Daines (44% R to 46% D).

If elected, the three new senators would make their state delegations all Democrat, joining with New Mexico (a very likely Democratic win replacing retiring Democrat Tom Udall) and Nevada.

In Last Half of July, Mexico Reaches Third and India Jumps to Top Five in Fatalities

Europe is receding in new virus infections and fatalities, even as it opens up, but the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and India are surging. With Mexico just jumping around the UK to third in deaths, the Western Hemisphere now dominates the COVID-19 crisis. In the last three weeks, the U.S. added 22,000 deaths, about 1,000 a day, a major increase from the plateau reached in June.

Weak health care systems and irresolute leadership appear to be contributing to Brazil, Mexico and India joining the U.S. as the top COVID-19 countries, with France, Italy and Spain falling back in the queue.


After four months, it’s finally dawned on Donald Trump that his presidency was likely to be another fatality of the virus. It’s not clear that the Jair Bolsonaro, Andrés Manuel López Obrador or Narendra Modi – all populist-style leaders – will have the same political problem as Trump, but managing the virus is the overwhelming crisis and political imperative for these times.

See The Buzz:
World Fatalities Pass 560,000: Brazil Now in Second, Mexico Jumps to Fourth and the U.S. Surges Again
World Fatalities Pass 400,000; Brazil Moves to 3rd
Open for Business and Living With the Risk

Gardner Needed That

It was a good week for Cory Gardner. First, a poll was reported that had him closing the gap with John Hickenlooper. And then, Donald Trump touched the third nail of American politics – cancelling an election – which Gardner was able to quickly condemn. The seriousness of Trump’s transgression was reflected in the speed it was rejected by even the cautious Mitch McConnell and usually supportive Wall Street Editorial Board.

Read Crossley blog:
Can Trump Hold the Line?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) and Sen. Corey Gardner
walk to the Senate Chamber, July 27, 2017 | Cliff Owen/AP

Will the Presidential Race Tighten?

The President and his campaign are attempting to adjust to the reality of nearly two months of polls – both national and battleground – that show him losing well beyond Hillary Clinton’s polls at the same time in 2016 and upwards of twice the margin of error.

President Trump has been a few points behind Joe Biden since early in the year, but it was after Memorial Day that the spread expanded, settling at 8 points on June 17. It rose to 10 and is currently at 8. Trump remains highly unpopular, with a 43 percent approval and a negative 55 percent (12% deficit). His party is down 9 points in the generic ballot test and only 23 percent of the public believe the country is moving in the right direction.


But, will the polls tighten? Yes, for several reasons:

  • After Labor Day, all pollsters shift to likely voters because attention to politics ramps up and registered voters are more likely to know if they will vote. This should help Republicans since historically likely voters have tended to be older, higher social economic status.
  • Trump, in an effort to close the gap, is ramping up his social media and traditional campaign advertising with an emphasis on cultural issues, and is targeting his voters, including identified undecided and weakly committed. Also, he is aiming to persuade people who only occasionally or seldom vote.

Could Trump Win?

No, not with these numbers, but many things could happen in the last 95 days. Biden has kept a low-profile, but soon will decide a vice president, direct a virtual convention and debate. All of the activities have possibilities of mistakes.

Finally, there’s the completely unexpected: the Comey, WikiLeaks, Access Hollywood type of event that caused a major turbulence in 2016.

So hang on. The polls may be correct today, but they can and are likely to change, especially in a year where a pandemic and George Floyd-type of events dominate and so many historic political and presidential norms have been broken.

Can Trump Hold the Line?

The Crossley blog regularly reports the political numbers. The table below has been updated monthly starting in April.

President Trump is aware his biggest problem is that his massive national polling deficit has spread to battlegrounds states where the vote is closer, but still significantly in Joe Biden’s favor. Republicans are in serious danger of losing the Senate in states where Trump is behind Biden, such as Arizona, North Carolina and Maine. Even until recently, seats thought safe are in play, such as Montana and Iowa.

RealClearPolitics currently rates the Senate with leaning and secure states as: 46 Democrats, 47 GOP and 7 toss-ups. When they distribute the toss-up seats by the available polls, the result is 52 Democrats and 48 Republicans, a source of concern for Mitch McConnell and the Republican majority.

As President Trump’s national and especially battleground state polling position has declined, a critical question becomes: Can he hold Republicans in line? He knows that respect or friendship for him among Republican colleagues is thin, but even among the most loyal, political survival is foremost and senators, governors and representatives are going to start looking for some separation.


The President hopes his numbers improve to reassure nervous colleagues. He has attempted some adjustments in his behavior related to the pandemic, changed campaign managers and dramatically stepped up campaign advertising, but there’s no relief in sight yet.

Trump Losing the Economy

Up until the last month, Donald Trump maintained a slight advantage in public approval in handling the economy. But, it has slipped away, and RealClearPolitics now, in its aggregate poll, has Trump’s approval as 48 percent to 48 percent disapproval.

His problem is complicated by the negative rating in handling the virus, which RealClearPolitics places at 39 percent approval to 59 percent disapproval, or a negative 20 points. As recently expressed in the Wall Street Journal, there are “doubts about a growing economy and recovery due to the uneven public health response.” The Federal Reserve, for example, sees a deeper downturn and more difficult recovery unless there is more effective action.

What Trump has never understood, and it has cost him much public support, is the relationship between the economy and public health. His distrust of government and skepticism of science have been major handicaps in his ability to deal with a recession induced by a pandemic.

Landslide: For Trump or Against Trump?

Although it is hard to believe now, earlier in the year supporters of Donald Trump thought he would win easily and possibly by a blowout. Even after the pandemic started, many kept the faith, believing handling COVID-19 well was an opportunity.

There are presidents in traumatic times who won by 20 points in popular vote and 200 or more electoral votes. Since Roosevelt, the biggest winners trying for reelection were Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 after the Kennedy assassination, Richard Nixon in 1972 in the tensions between the anti-war movement and Silent majority, and Ronald Reagan in 1984 as America emerged from a recession into “Morning in America.”

Looking back, these presidents’ opponents mostly appear hapless and off-key and choice is often an important element of the voters’ decision, but the economic and political context of these elections was even more decisive. In the three landslide elections listed below, only one challenger was above 50 electoral votes and they averaged less than 40 percent of the popular vote (see table below).


However, what President Trump’s team might consider is that he could get the challenger’s popular vote and dramatically fewer electoral votes than Hillary Clinton received in 2016 (227 electoral votes).