Thursday, September 29, 2016

In Memory of Helen Crossley

The staff and students at the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research are sorry to hear of the passing of Helen Crossley last Sunday.
Helen Crossley

Helen’s gift to the University of Denver Korbel School started an academic center that has provided scholarships for graduate-level students, taught more than 90 students public opinion and foreign policy, and participated in WAPOR conferences in Nice, France and Buenos Aires, Argentina and AAPOR conferences in Anaheim, California and Austin, Texas.

The Crossley Center recognizes the contribution of Archibald Crossley to survey research and to its standards and is a tribute to the lifelong dedication of Helen to the profession. Helen actively followed the Crossley program and was briefed at her home in Princeton last spring on the progress and future plans.

The entire DU community, the Korbel School of International Studies and the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research offer our condolences to the family and thank Helen for her generosity.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Nationalism and Anti-Immigrant Policies on the March Across Europe

Angela Merkel just lost her home state in regional parliamentary election, a warm-up for next year’s general election. Her party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), came in third in the voting after the rapidly rising far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) Party. The center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) led with 30 percent, but in general, parties of left also lost votes from the previous election.

One million refugees in 2015 have broken the center-right’s solidarity and very possibly ended Ms. Merkel’s ambition for a fourth term (in office since 2005). Her policies on the refugee crises was the salient topic reflected in her approval ratings, which is at a five-year low (45%).

Of course, Germany is hardly the only country seeing a surge of nationalism and anti-immigration politics. Great Britain has a new prime minister due to David Cameron’s loss of the Brexit vote and France’s Hollande is so weak in the polls that his re-election, or even running, is doubted. His nemesis, Marine Le Pen (The National Front), is one of the most nationalistic, anti-immigrant and anti-EU in Europe. And, although it’s not clear the French electoral system will let her get to the presidency in next year’s elections, the politicians running, especially Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president, sound like her.

U.S. Senate Leaning Democratic

Senator Michael Bennet is a very lucky politician. In what was projected to be a competitive race, he now has a walk. Labeled a likely Democratic hold by all the rating organizations and commentators, he is ahead by 13 points over Darryl Glenn in the current polling average.

Bennet beat out considerable competition to be appointed to the seat by Governor Bill Ritter in 2009 and survived a difficult Democratic year to win a narrow election in 2010. He could be serving the next six years with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate (majority may need VP’s vote).

As of the end of August, Democrats have a good chance to pick up a seat in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. They are very competitive in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania and recent polls show a close race in North Carolina. Democrats need to hold Reid’s open seat in Nevada, which appears close. They need 5 seats if Hillary Clinton wins and 6 if Donald Trump wins.

Working for them is presidential turnout (tends to be more Democratic), the possibility Trump underperforms in many states with Republican senators at risk, and the simple fact Republicans have 24 seats to defend and the Democrats only have 10. The race to control the Senate, as of today, appears more competitive than the presidential race.

Millennials are Avoiding the Parties and Their Candidates

Millennial voters (aged 18 to 34) are identifying with independent political status and are giving near majorities of their votes to independent presidential candidates.

In a statewide Ciruli Associates poll, 38 percent of Millennials identify themselves as independent more than any other age group and nearly equal to the number who claim to be “strong Democrat” (29%) and “not so strong Democrat” (11%).

The latest Quinnipiac Colorado survey shows 46 percent of Millennials support independent candidates Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, and Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together attract 52 percent.

The Colorado results for minor party candidates among Millennials were larger than what was nationally reported as the Millennials’ preferences (46% in Colorado to 28% nationally) in the latest Pew Research poll where Clinton was ahead of Trump by 4 points. (Different cut-off point in age explains some of the difference, but not all.)

In general, Johnson voters are younger, White and more independents. He tends to attract more Republicans than Democrats.

Nate Silver’s analysis of a half dozen recent polls of Millennials show Johnson getting 17 percent or nearly double his current average of 9 percent from all voters.

Colorado Likes Independent Candidates

Colorado tends to be more supportive of independent candidates. This is confirmed in the latest Quinnipiac poll in Colorado, which shows Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, with 16 percent, nearly double his national average. If Colorado decided who got on the debate stage, Johnson would make it.

Johnson ties Donald Trump among self-declared independent voters (Johnson 24%, Trump 25%). He also does well with Millennial voters, only 5 points behind Hillary Clinton (Johnson 29%, Clinton 34%).

Gary Johnson