Monday, January 29, 2018

Marijuana Panel Brings National and State Polling and Policy Experts to Colorado at National Conference

The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver (DU) will sponsor a panel on marijuana, public opinion and legalization at the AAPOR national conference at the Denver Sheridan on May 15.

National and state pollsters will join legalization and regulatory experts and policymakers to describe how public opinions shaped the passage and implementation of marijuana legalization in Colorado and other states. They will also focus attention on the changed political climate from Washington D.C. and how it could affect public attitudes and the future of marijuana legalization in Colorado and around the country.

AAPOR, the national association of public opinion researchers, was founded in Central City in 1946 and first headquartered at DU. This will be their first national conference in Denver.

Floyd Ciruli, the director of the Crossley Center, will be the local organizer of the panel. The Crossley Center at DU is named for Archibald and his daughter, Helen Crossley, two pioneers of survey research and founders of AAPOR.

More information about the panel will be available as the agenda is finalized. Find information about the AAPOR conference here.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Crisis of Democracy – DU’s Engaging Ideas Series

Democracy is being challenged. Some weak and new democracies are becoming less democratic and more authoritarian. Even established democracies are facing challenges from rising populist parties and politicians that disdain democratic values and procedures.

The University of Denver has begun a video series called Engaging Ideas hosted by former Dean and Provost, Jim Griesemer, where faculty present their research and ideas to further public dialogue on real world issues.

My segment, “Democracy on the Defense,” presents material used at international forums, in DU classes, and in front of Colorado audiences on democratic trends in the U.S. and worldwide. To view the interview directly, click here.

It’s Not Time to Panic Yet

“It’s not time to panic yet,” said researcher Billy Barr after measuring snowfall, water equivalency and daily temperatures in Crested Butte. The area is facing the worst winter ever recorded for lack of snow.

Recognizing the state’s vulnerability, Governor John Hickenlooper in his final State of the State speech highlighted the state’s unmet water needs. Steady population growth and a possible looming drought have created a water gap that can only be met with strong conservation measures and new projects. The state has identified $3 billion in needs, and Hickenlooper called for funding.

On January 25, he will review his water legacy and describe his recommendations for next steps with the state’s water leadership. The forum, which I will moderate, includes questions from the leaders.

Colorado Water Congress 2018
Annual Convention

Thursday Luncheon
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
January 25, 2018

Keynote Speaker
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

State of the State Speech, January 11, 2018
This includes protecting our water for agriculture. If we don’t implement our water plan, rural agricultural communities will be hit first and hardest. We live in a state of open markets. They can never afford to match what front range homeowners pay for domestic water. Having a sustainable source of food – no matter what happens around the world – is an essential foundation for the future of our state. We’re one of the great food exporting states and that’s a resource we should continue to invest in, rather than put at risk.

The Colorado Water Plan provides a framework, but doesn’t include all the funding for the last billion dollars over the next thirty years, we need the support of the General Assembly.

See Colorado Politics: Hickenlooper’s final State of the State reminds lawmakers about water plan

Colorado Politics: A New Congressional Seat for Colorado

Colorado Politics published my latest analysis of Colorado’s prospects for a new congressional seat after the 2020 census. The decision as to where to place the seat will begin as soon as the reappointment is announced, probably in late 2020. The next governor and likely the new legislature will be involved. More reason for Colorado’s November election to be closely fought.

CIRULI: a new congressional seat for Colorado in 2020?
Colorado’s political parties will be fully engaged in the 2018 election, and not least among its issues of concern is the possibility that Colorado could get another congressional seat. As of now, congressional redistricting is directed by the governor and legislature, and control of both is at stake.

Distribution of 435 congressional districts is governed by the 2020 census count, which is historically drawn on April 1 in decennial years. In 2020, that will be in the middle of undoubtedly raucous presidential primaries in which the census may be an issue. The latest census estimates indicate a congressional district needs about 750,000 residents, up from 710,000 in 2010. Colorado last picked up a seat in 2000, which became the 7th district in the northwest metro area suburbs. Its location was court determined after the legislature and governor gridlocked over the map. Read more…

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Mexico’s July 1 Presidential Election Will Feature Corruption and Dealing with USA as Major Topics

The ruling party is in a battle to hold power. President Enrique Peña Nieto, after a difficult five years, is working to pass along the presidency to his party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). After monopoly political power in Mexico for most of the 20th century, they lost control to the center-right PAN in 2000. They returned to the presidency in 2012 with Nieto and don’t want to lose it again.

PRI is fielding candidates to see who is strongest against expected frontrunner, former socialist mayor of Mexico City Andrés Manuel López Obrador. PRI Finance Minister José Antonio Meade is the current preferred candidate. In a late November poll, he was only 5 points behind López Obrador, 28.7 percent to 23.2 percent (GCE).

Except for López Obrador who has near universal name identification, most of the field is unknown to voters. Barely a third of voters could identify Meade. López Obrador has run twice before for president, getting close in 2006 and refusing to concede. He was labeled the Hugo Chávez of Mexico, but is currently running a more moderate-sounding campaign focused on corruption and Mexico’s self-sufficiency. Like Donald Trump, he’s not a fan of NAFTA.

Early polls show him ahead of a multi-candidate field (6 to 10 candidates offered) by 5 to 15 percentage points in a first past the post no run-off system. Nieto won with 38 percent in 2012. López Obrador has indicated he might add a socially conservative party to his coalition in a quest for a plurality. He is likely at least 5 to 10 points short of the 35 to 40 percent needed to win.

Independents will be allowed to run in the July 1 election for the first time. They are entering the race, including former First Lady Margarita Zavala (PAN President Felipe Calderón’s wife) and Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodríguez.

PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of current President Enrique Peña Nieto will hold a convention in March. The major parties must offer their candidates by March. PAN (National Action Party) and PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) are considering a coalition and options for candidates. Candidates could be Ricardo Anaya Cortés, former PAN leader. Morena (National Regeneration Movement) was created by López Obrador. He has produced a 400-page manifesto to fight corruption and run his government.

Polling in Mexico:
El Universal, 1000, Nov. 10-17, 2017, ±3.53 error
El Financiero, 1004, Nov. 11-16, 2017, ±3.1 error
GCE, 600, Nov. 28, 2017
Parametria, 800, Dec. 14-17, 2017, ±3.5 error

Colorado Politics: Roy Moore’s fate shows character counts — while control of the House teeters

Sex scandals will be a political topic in the 2018 battle for control of the U.S. Congress. Roy Moore and Alabama highlighted character of the candidates and President Trump will be factors in the upcoming contests. Read my latest opinion piece in Colorado Politics, the state’s political website.

Roy Moore’s fate shows character counts — while control of the House teeters

My Dec. 6 blog on the Alabama Senate race opened with, “Alabama Judge Roy Moore is in the first post-Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, sex scandal election.” His loss in a state that Republicans have held a near total lock on since the early 1990s was a powerful demonstration that character counts. Because of the uniqueness of the election and difficulty of capturing the turnout patterns of major constituencies; i.e., African Americans, rural whites, Millennials, and suburban women, final polls and conventional wisdom, including Democratic commentators, thought Moore was likely to eke out a win. Polls in the last week showed Moore winning by 4 to 9 points, except that the last reported poll conducted by Fox News had Doug Jones up by 10 points. Most observers thought the Fox News poll was an outlier, not a harbinger. But Jones won with about 21,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, of the 1.3 million votes cast.
The following are some conclusions from the election.

Paul Ryan Quits?
The election has significant impact for Republicans as the 2018 contests begin. The first casualty of the Alabama result may be Paul Ryan. He sees the election, as do most political observers, as a mirror image of the 63-seat disaster for Democrats in 2010. Ryan does not intend on being the minority leader, defending the ever embattled and seldom grateful Donald Trump. Clearly, the Alabama result begins to change the calculation for both House and Senate races. And, of course, some of the Republican problems in Alabama have not gone away. In spite of his stunning loss, Steve Bannon continues to recruit anti-Republican establishment candidates and the party’s Trump divisions are affecting races, such as in Arizona and Nevada. Read more…

Former White House Strategist Steve Bannon shakes hands with
embattled Senate Candidate Roy Moore at a rally in Alabama |
Jonathan Bachman/Reuters

Hickenlooper and Ciruli Talk Water

What will be the Hickenlooper legacy on water policy and development? Floyd Ciruli and Governor John Hickenlooper will review the administration’s accomplishments and what the Governor believes the next administration needs to do.

Colorado Water Congress 2018
Annual Convention

Thursday Luncheon
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
January 25, 2018

Keynote Speaker
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

Moderator: Floyd Ciruli, Ciruli Associates 
As we enter the final year of the Hickenlooper Administration, what are the expectations? It has been nearly 4 years since Governor set in motion the process to develop a balanced Colorado Water Plan. Virtually every sector of Colorado’s water community engaged in the work. All things considered, did we achieve the underlying goals? This interactive session will feature an opportunity to have a conversation with the Governor. What are the next steps for a new administration?

Colorado Politics – Could Donald Trump be Heading for Re-election?

Donald Trump made it through 2017 with some accomplishments and a massive amount of disruption of the expected behavior of the White House and the President. No doubt, the show will continue in full force into 2018.

In a column in the state’s leading political website, I discuss if Trump could be headed for re-election.

Trump Heading for Re-election?

Rather than speculate about Donald Trump’s re-election chances, audiences at recent speech engagements all seem to have an answer to the same question: Will Donald Trump make it a full four years? The discussion produces considerable anxiety for both his supporters and his many and very vocal detractors.

The following is a running commentary from a slide I use in the presentations on the various scenarios that could sideline Trump before the 2020 election. It also includes possible options in the election itself.

Impeachment. Could he be impeached is asked most often, followed by the likelihood of Trump’s death. Neither is likely. Assuming partisanship dominates the process, the Democrats would need to win the House in the 2018 midterm elections. It will be their best chance since losing it in 2010. If they were to win 24 House seats, they could bring an indictment, but with 67 votes required for conviction in the Senate, it appears a futile effort. Democrats would have to decide if it would be a distraction to their effort to defeat Trump in 2020. Everyone recalls that the major loser in the Bill Clinton impeachment was Newt Gingrich, who lost his speakership in the poor Republican showing in the 1998 midterms. Read more…

Have the Rules of Gravity Been Suspended?

In 2016, none of the old political rules seemed to apply. How did Donald Trump win the presidency, yet lose the popular vote by an astonishing 3 million, even polling 10 points less in popularity than his competitor, Hillary Clinton, and having more than half of the electorate believing he was unfit for office?

Forecasts have become much more guarded since November 2016. But, by history and current metrics, if political gravity can be considered a law of nature, the Republicans should fall and the Democrats rise in the midterm elections. The general rule has been that the presidential party loses seats in midterms. Bill Clinton lost 54 seats in 1994 and control of the House; Barack Obama lost 63 seats in 2010 and Nancy Pelosi lost the Speaker’s gavel as a result.

And, of course, this president and his party have some exceptionally weak numbers after their first year in control of Washington, D.C. The President’s approval lingers below 40 percent. It has, in fact, hit the low 30s in some late November, early December polls.

The generic ballot test, which is judged a harbinger for a major shift in seats, has ranged from 8 to 11 points favoring the Democrats for months, a historic high. The Democrats need a net 24 seats to give Pelosi back the gavel. Finally, the seat-by-seat analysis from several analysts, such and Cook and Sabato, indicate Democrats have recruited a quality class of challengers and will fund them well – a Pelosi strength.

But this is the age of Trump and the old rules must be always tested and re-tested. While it seems unlikely, Trump and some of the policies, most of which do not have majority support of the public, could gain in popularity over the next 11 months. And, the economy continues to roll along.

In addition, Democrats must win a net of 24 seats. They have a few incumbents (12) in Trump territory that they must hold. At least three are open seats. Plus, they must win more new seats than just the 23 Republicans that are in districts Clinton carried — they are going to have to take a few seats from Republican incumbents in Trump territory. Possibly, the Alabama senate win demonstrates they can find candidates and a message to carry Republicans who have soured on either the President’s policies or his demeanor. And, of course, they won the Virginia and New Jersey governorships just as the Republicans did in the run-up to their successful 2010 midterm victory.

So if gravity holds, Democrats should have a good chance for their needed 24 seats, but it’s early and November 2016 challenged all the old rules.

Read Sabato’s Crystal Ball: House 2018: Less than a year out, race for control is a coin flip