Monday, March 26, 2018

National Polling Conference and Crossley Center Sponsor Panel on Marijuana

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 Denver Sheridan on May 15 at 5 PM. The panel will be open to both AAPOR members and the general community.

Doug Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, will moderate a conversation among pollsters and legalization experts and policymakers, including David Metz, Partner and President of FM3 Research, and Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center. The panel will 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.

The panel will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Japan Forms Close Alliance with Trump

While many of Europe’s leaders neither trust nor like Donald Trump, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has made himself one of President Trump’s few foreign confidantes and his country an indispensable ally in Asia. Abe and Trump have had four summits and dozens of phone conversations since President Trump’s election. In fact, Abe was Trump’s first foreign visitor at Trump Towers during the transition and his first foreign visitor to Mar-a-Lago during the famous cocktail table situation room visit (North Korea launched a missile that was discussed at a patio table with cell phones for lighting.)

Japan, like the rest of the world, was surprised when Trump was elected president. It led to concern. He had said a number of things during the campaign that were dramatically different from the positions of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War. Trump was quoted as saying Japan and most of America’s defense allies were freeloading; that possibly it’s time for Japan to acquire its own nuclear weapons; that the trade relationship was unfair; and specifically, he disliked multi-lateral trade deals and didn’t like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry went into overdrive to help Abe develop a strategy to protect what Japan saw as a critical alliance and blunt the worst of the Trump policy reversals. Correctly, it was perceived that Trump had many opinions, but was ill-informed and lacked experience. Most importantly, Trump depends on personal relationships and must have in-person attention. Hence, Abe became the peripatetic traveler and Trump’s man in Asia.

Many of the worst aspects of Trump’s views were contained, but there are still many surprises. For Japan, a country that avoids bombast, Trump’s frequent threats and insults toward North Korea and Kim Jong-un are jarring. And, of course, for an ally that values consultations, the sudden acceptance of face-to-face negotiations with Kim Jong-un was a shock.

Ultimately, regardless of the stress and strain, Japan and America have significant interests that bring them together.

For Japan:
China. China is a tremendous market for trade, but unconstrained it’s a threat to regional stability and sovereignty. Japan needs a partner to assist in managing the Chinese relationship.

North Korea. America’s position on the Korean peninsula makes it the strongest participant in restraining North Korea and guiding peace negotiations.

Nuclear deterrent. Japan’s ultimate protection depends on the U.S. nuclear deterrent. The country’s defense-only use of military force is enshrined in its constitution. Its stance against developing nuclear weapons is reinforced by the memories of Hiroshima and even nuclear power generation is controversial following the recent disaster at the Fukushima power plant.

Trade. Japan is a trading nation. Asia is the economic area of the world likely to experience the most growth in the next century. Even without the U.S., the multilateral TPP agreement is valued.

Shared values. Japan and the U.S. share the values of democratic nations: rule of law, maintenance of democratic processes, and the regular and peaceful exchange of power. Protecting those values and the countries that share them is important to both nations.

Most importantly, Japan does not have many alternatives to its alliance with the U.S. to meet its basic strategic needs. And, America also must have a strong ally in the northern Pacific to achieve its goals.

America regularly has two carrier battle groups in the Pacific. Currently, the Ronald Reagan is stationed in Japan, but the island itself is the U.S.’s greatest military asset for projecting power in Asia. The U.S. has more than 70,000 troops and sailors stationed between the Japanese mainland and Okinawa. Japan is the U.S.’s staunchest and most valuable ally in the Pacific.

America’s foreign policy leadership has long recognized the importance of Asia, making it the largest military command. In fact, even President Obama, who is most noted for his restraint, advocated a “pivot” toward Asia in terms of focus and resources. But, the ambition and authoritarian shift in China and the closing in on deliverable nuclear weapons by North Korea make the relationship in 2018 even more critical.

Professor Floyd Ciruli
Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
Korbel School of International Studies
March 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

The New Authoritarianism: Can America Meet the Challenge? – April 10

Ambassador Chris Hill and pollster Floyd Ciruli will speak at a WorldDenver forum on April 10, 2018 at the Lakewood Country Club. Hill and Ciruli will discuss the rise of a host of powerful and aggressive authoritarian leaders, the danger to democracy and what should be America’s response.

Ambassador Hill leads the office of global engagement at the University of Denver and is a professor of diplomacy. He was dean of the Korbel School for International Studies for seven years. Ciruli is a Korbel School professor teaching public opinion and foreign policy and the director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research.

Hill and Ciruli present together regularly on the Trump Administration and its impact on foreign policy. They offered predictions after the November 2016 election. They provided an assessment after the first 100 days, and last fall gave a status report on “Is America Great Again?” one year after the election.


April 10, 2018
5:30 pm MDT-7:30 pm MDT


Register here


Lakewood Country Club
6800 W. 10th Ave
Lakewood, CO 80214

Event Details

5:30 pm-6:15 pm: Networking Reception
6:15 pm-7:30 pm: Presentation and Q&A

Market Tops 26616 in January; Dow Drops 2600 Points – Correction Territory

The Dow Jones Industrial average hit its all-time high of 26616 on January 26, 2018. The run-up since the November 2016 election had been incredible, more than 40 percent. But, in spite of a healthy economy and continued strong earnings, volatility is up and significant market drops have become common (record drop 1557 intraday, 1175 close, Feb. 5, 2018).

The Dow is currently at 23957, or about 2600 points under the top, correction territory. Various reasons are cited for the market stall and increase in volatility. Federal Reserve tightening, a slight increase in interest rates and rumors of inflation appeared to have caused the initial anxiety. The Facebook crisis is dampening an entire sector. Now, tariffs and the President’s enthusiasm for trade wars are the reasons for drops in major Dow components.

Up until now, the chaos in the White House has been ignored by investors as the positive aspects of cutting taxes and regulations were dominant. But, the politics of 2018 are beginning to undermine the Republican control of Congress and the agenda of President Trump. Investor confidence appears to have broken. Expect volatility and more downside pressure.

USA Today: Trump escalates trade war rhetoric with threat of European auto tariffs
Markets Now: Dow plunges 724 points as trade war fears rock Wall Street

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Iraq War Began March 20, 2003

Iraq is the war of the Millennial Generation. No draft, but no victory. And while we left in 2011, the war didn’t end. We are still fighting on the ground and in the air.

In the winter of 2003, going to war was popular. Pew Research reported 71 percent of the public said: “The U.S. made the right decision in using military force in Iraq.” But, the euphoria ended quickly, and by 2005, President Bush was managing a war that had more people saying it was a “wrong decision” than “right.” Republicans were severely punished in the 2006 congressional elections as Nancy Pelosi became the Speaker of the new Democratic Party-controlled House.

In 2008, corresponding to the election of Barack Obama, support for war was at its lowest point. For the last five years, about half the public has said the war was the wrong decision, with less than 40 percent saying it was the right decision. As of today, the public is nearly equally divided on the decision, with 48 percent saying “wrong decision” and 43 percent saying “right.”

Like everything in America, there are stark partisan differences, with 61 percent of Republicans now saying “right decision,” reflecting Republicans generally more martial viewpoint, but also support for a Republican president. Among Democrats, it had been as high as 52 percent in 2014 near the end of Obama’s term when he had to order the military to reenter combat to fight ISIS. Today, only 27 percent of Democrats are offering a “right decision” response.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March 1968: The Political Hinge

Nineteen sixty-eight was the extraordinary year that saw the turning point in the Vietnam War’s escalation and the end of the Democrats’ eight years of control of the federal government. It concluded the rush of New Deal/Great Society programs and major civil rights legislation (final legislation signed by LBJ on April 11 – Fair Housing Act).
President Lyndon B. Johnson announces
 he will not seek reelection,
March 31, 1968 | AP photo

March was the pivot month. The American war effort was thrown on defense as the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive of January 30 framed the weeks leading up to the first test of the reelection of President Johnson. The New Hampshire primary was on March 12, and Senator Eugene McCarthy, who announced his challenge to Johnson in November 1967, was on the ballot. Although several anti-war liberals, such as Paul Newman, and groups, such as Americans for Democratic Action, supported him and he was a rock star on campuses, New Hampshire polls had him winning only 10 to 20 percent of the primary voters. McCarthy advocated an end to the Vietnam War by way of immediate withdrawal. Most establishment Democrats, big city party bosses and union leaders felt that was too radical and were reluctant to oppose an incumbent president.

Senator Eugene McCarthy, a candidate for
the presidential nomination of the Democratic
 Party, speaking at his New York headquarters
on Jan. 1, 1968 | Lisl Steiner/Getty Images
But, McCarthy showed with a 42 percent New Hampshire vote that the party was already divided. Johnson barely won with 49 percent, less than half the Democrats. The result was a shockwave that hit Washington, which rapidly brought Bobby Kennedy out to announce his candidacy on March 16.

Johnson now saw the difficult struggle ahead and prepared a March 31 speech offering a bombing pause and efforts at negotiations. But he then ended the extraordinary month and his speech with the surprise announcement: “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”
Robert F. Kennedy announces
his candidacy for president,
March 16, 1968 | Magnum Photos

As April began, it was clear America had just entered a new political era, with major changes in policies and personalities on the horizon. It was also the beginning of more violence and trauma here at home.

Read The Buzz:
Walter Cronkite calls Vietnam a stalemate
The USS Carl Vinson visits Da Nang

Monday, March 19, 2018

Bannon Takes Ethno-National Message to Europe

Steve Bannon, the self-styled, right-wing thought leader and propagandist who lost much of his base in the U.S. after being pushed out of the White House and Breitbart, has taken his road show to the populist and nationalist movements of Europe.

National Front party leader Marine Le Pen applauds Steve Bannon after his
speech at the party congress in Lilles, France, March 10, 2018 | AFP/Getty
He provided fans and detractors a rousing speech at France’s National Front conference on the stage with Marine Le Pen. Bannon, who argued vociferously in the U.S. that he was an economic not ethno nationalist, provide a full-throated defense the National Front ethno agenda.

“Let them call you racist, let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativist. Wear it as a badge of honor.” In the midst of applause, he said: “Because every day, we get stronger, and they get weaker.”

Bannon believes the nationalist and populist movement is worldwide and that there is a role for him in channeling and guiding it. Indeed, his knowledge of the black arts of online new right propaganda and election targeting probably has a market, especially in Europe. Unfortunately, Mr. Bannon’s penchant for the edgy speeches and candid interviews, which gave him worldwide notoriety, also helped destroy his marketability. It’s not clear that his high-profile “Let them call you racist” slogan is going to be a winner, even in some of the darker corners of Europe.

Breitbart: Stephen K. Bannon declares Marine Le Pen leader of Europe’s populist movement
CBS: Steve Bannon to French far-right: Wear racism allegations “as a badge of honor”
New York Magazine: Bannon tells France’s National Front: “Let them call you racist”

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Xi: “Paramount” and “Permanent” Leader

The China Communist Party, which often titles Xi Jinping China’s “paramount” leader, amended its party constitution last fall and added his name and his thoughts on “socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.” The nation’s People’s Congress just amended the national constitution with the same language (Xi Jinping thought) and made him the “permanent” leader. The term limits and collective leadership reforms of Deng Xiaoping have been ruled outdated to the circumstances and needs of the new global China.

Xi’s vision of an aggressive China with global aspirations now dominates all aspects of China.

Xi Wants to be Leader of the Unfree World
  • One person, one party rule. A party reinvigorated and expanded in reach. He believes it’s a model for others to follow.
  • Xi’s version of state-controlled economy and state industries with markets in specific areas, some but limited reform. Barrier to foreign entry and protectionist policies remain.
  • New technologies of surveillance and digital repression. Little civic space, narrow room to criticize, no ability to communicate to like-minded.
  • Marginalize, isolate and purge opponents, often in the name of corruption
  • Project on aggressive, intimidating regional foreign policy with carrots and sticks, such as Belt and Road and South China Sea Islands.
  • Claim to be ready for center stage of the world as a globalist, environmentalist advocate
  • Believes Western democracies are dispirited, divided, distracted and withdrawing

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) with other
delegates at the opening of the first Plenary Session of the 13th National
People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP) in Beijing,
 March 5, 2018 | EPA-EFE

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tillerson Out

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired by a Tweet on March 13, 2018. Although he made it one year from his confirmation (February 1), the firing was not communicated to him in advance. He thought he’d make it through 2018.

Tillerson never appeared comfortable with Trump, in terms of style, tone and basic outlook toward America’s foreign policy objectives. But, Tillerson never mastered Washington politics nor got comfortable at the agency.

The Buzz asked, “Tillerson Gone?” on December 5 during the last wave of speculation about his replacement (Pompeo). Trump said the main reason for firing Tillerson was that they did not see eye-to-eye on issues like the Iran agreement. There were, in fact, a host of issues Tillerson had a different slant on.

America First

Tillerson’s challenge. The administration is:
  • Hostile to alliances and multilateral agreements, TPP
  • Skeptical of NATO, it’s a burden
  • Anti-Iranian Agreement
  • Moving embassy to Jerusalem
  • Anti-climate agreement
  • Hostile toward NAFTA, Mexico
  • Hostile toward Russian sanctions
  • Pro-Saudi Arabia vs. Qatar
  • Removing 2,000 employees

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

European Elections: Germany and Italy, Fragmentation and a Surging Right

Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel required nearly six months from September 24, 2017 to March 3, 2018 to form a government. Merkel was 109 votes short of a majority in the Bundestag after a weak September election result and forced to renegotiate a partnership with the also diminished Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The partnership brought many new faces forward in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, her associate party, Christian Social Union (Bavarian wing) and the SPD. This will no doubt be Merkel’s last term. The stability of the new coalition remains to be seen, but polls made clear the result of the fragmentation of the last election has empowered a new right party, the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD). It is now the largest opposition force, equal in support to the SPD.

The Italian election of March 4 has also left a fragmented landscape with an empowered populist party, Five Star Movement, gaining the most votes as a single party (33%). It is led by 31-year-old Luigi De Maio. A consortium of center-right to far-right parties received the most total votes (36%) (Forza Italia, Northern League, Brothers of Italy, Us with Italy). One surprise was Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia with only 14 percent of the vote, making it the junior partner with the League (18%) led be Matteo Salvini, a more anti-immigrant, anti-EU leader. Both the populist and right wing parties are more pro-Russian than the Italian establishment parties.

The center-left ruling party’s support collapsed to 19 percent. Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will not be a part of the new government.

Hence, the forces of fragmentation and collapse of center parties continues. Although the European establishment bought some time in Germany, Italy will now be a new southern European challenge for the EU.

Monday, March 12, 2018

This is a Weird Picture

The “Rocket man” who promised to kill millions with nuclear weapons to maintain his dynasty and dictatorship is now the gracious host, family in tow, for a formal dinner.

Gathered around Kim Jong-un is his wife Ri Sol-ju and Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, fresh from a diplomatic mission at the South Korean Olympics. Partially due to domestic political conditions, South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent his top spy, Suh Hoon, and South Korea’s H.R. McMaster, Chung Eui-yong. Moon, as a new president from the Korean left, is especially sensitive to appearing weak as he pursues his preference for negotiations and calmer relations with the North.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center right) sits with a visiting South Korean
delegation in Pyongyang and other high-level North Koreans, March 5, 2018 | KCNA

Clearly, North Korea has decided on a meeting and negotiation track. His invitation to President Trump is bold. His immediate goal is sanction relief, and he believes appearing reasonable will help. There have been long periods of negotiations before. The likelihood he will give up his nuclear weapons for “security guarantees” still seems implausible.

But, it’s his (and his family’s) long-term goal that is a deal killer – U.S. gone from the peninsula and the Koreas united under his direct rule, or at least like the Russian theory of the Ukraine – within his share of influence. Would China prefer that outcome too?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Trump: Base, But No Majority

After 400 days in office, Donald Trump still operates as if he is running a reality TV show. A 35 percent share of a national audience is huge. But, it is insufficient to command real political respect. And, it is likely to contribute to Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives. Like most recent surveys of his 35 percent approval rating (CNN poll), he has 80 percent of Republicans, few Democrats (5%) and approval from independent voters equal to the overall average (35%).

Also representative of most national samples, Republicans tend to be about a quarter of the sample, Democrats about 10 points higher and the rest claiming to be independents.

When you apply simple analysis to the distribution, it is clear the “base” is insufficient for building and retaining political power. In fact, the endless effort to reinforce the base is counterproductive; it drives off Democrats and independents.

It is not impossible for Trump to improve his position with Democrats and independents. His approval of the handling of the economy is 51 percent in a new Gallup poll. It includes the approval of 28 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents. Although only a slight majority, it is a significant improvement.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state
and local officials on school safety in the White House,
Feb. 22, 2018 | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A major part of Trump’s problem is that his style and tone is not just distracting from the economic message, but is exhausting many swing voters. People view White House rhetoric as helping cause national division and increased violence in society.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Democrats and Republicans Split on Sympathy for Israel

Although Israel still receives considerable sympathy from Americans in its dispute with Palestinians (46% for Israel, 16% for Palestine), there is now a significant partisan gap in sympathy, with a 52-point difference between Republicans’ (79%) sympathy for Israel compared to Democrats’ (27%).

The gap began in earnest toward the end of President George W. Bush’s second term. Republicans had been consistently more supportive of Israel than Democrats since the start of the Pew Research measurement in the late 1970s. But, sympathy jumped from the 50 percent level to the 70s after 2006, especially among conservative Republicans. Support for Israel among Democrats, on the other hand, while somewhat lower, remained steady until the 2014 period, then it dropped 15 points to the current 27 percent.

The two shifts in sympathy are an example of domestic politics significantly affecting the public’s foreign policy viewpoint. Evangelical Republicans became increasingly committed to Israel’s security as the site of the biblical story during the Bush presidency. Israeli politics became much more conservative under Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli government hostility toward the Obama administration intensified based on settlement policies and the Iran agreement. Republican political leaders welcomed Netanyahu to speak to Congress on his opposition to the Iran government without the Obama administration’s involvement in May 2015.

The Trump administration has pledged its close support for Israel’s position in negotiations with Palestinians and announced it’s moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a controversial position avoided by previous American presidents.

The new alignments are creating stress among American Jews who support Israel, but are domestic liberals and Democrats. Israel may find a much more conflicted and less supportive U.S. government when the Democrats regain control in D.C.

American Jews (7 million, depending on definition, voted 70 percent for Hillary Clinton.

See Pew Report: Republicans and Democrats grow even further apart in views of Israel, Palestinians

Hickenlooper Goes to Iowa

The DU political panel last Thursday speculated that Governor Hickenlooper was running for president and would be on his way to Iowa (the first caucus state on the road to the White House). Hickenlooper, more or less, confirmed it over the weekend in D.C. at the National Governor’s meeting when he stated he would announce his decision later this year as his gubernatorial term ends. He said he doesn’t want his staff to be distracted with a presidential run.

He made himself available on national and D.C. media on school shootings (acts of terrorism) and a new proposal for health care announced with his fellow governors. He and Governor John Kasich of Ohio had already promoted a health proposal last August with some hints of an independent run for president. Kasich is making early moves to oppose President Trump’s nomination.

The Democratic primary in 2020 should be a wide open battle. Looking back to 1976 after the Nixon impeachment and Ted Kennedy decided not to run and the 1992 primary when Mario Cuomo left the field to a host of aspiring Democratic contenders, in both cases, moderate governors from southern states won the nomination.

Could this be the year for a moderate governor from Colorado?

Gov. John Hickenlooper joins others to push bipartisan National
Health Care Compromise, Feb. 25, 2018 | CBS Denver 

Tancredo is Out. Who Are the Frontrunners for Governor? A Panel of Experts.
Sponsored by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research
Moderator: Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research at the Korbel School; Panelists: Dick Wadhams – Republican campaign manager and former State Chair; Steve Welchert – Democratic campaign manager; Melanie Layton and Zoey DeWolf –Colorado lobbyists with Colorado Legislative Services; and Vincent Carroll – Former editorial page editor for Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post. Thursday, Feb. 22

#NeverAgain: Is Gun Control an Issue Mike Coffman Can’t Finesse?

A new Washington Post-ABC news poll highlights that 77 percent of Americans believe Congress “is not doing enough to prevent mass shootings in this country.” The polls shows white suburban women are the most concerned about the issue. Republican congresspersons in swing districts are the most vulnerable to the passion that has erupted around the issue.

Republican Mike Coffman has won three re-elections in an Arapahoe County congressional district that increasingly votes Democrat for president and other statewide offices. He has shown considerable skill managing highly controversial issues that the national party takes pure partisan positions on, such as health care, DACA and tax reform. Coffman is now dealing with guns. A host of recent headlines have not been good:

  • “Greenwood Village Town Hall: Mike Coffman booed at as people demand action on guns” (Denver Post, 2-21-18)
  • “Rep. Mike Coffman is top recipient of NRA funds among CO delegation” (Colorado Politics, 2-23-18)
  • “Town brawl” (Aurora Sentinel, 2-22-18)
  • “Democrat Jason Crow’s first digital campaign ad targets Coffman’s gun lobby money” (Denver Channel, 2-23-18)
  • Democrats take gun control demands to suburban House races” (CNN, 2-24-18)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman talks during a town hall meeting
with constituents in a high school assembly hall in Greenwood
Village, Feb. 20, 2018 | David Zalubowski/AP
It remains to be seen if the gun issue has a stronger or longer life than after New Town and the myriad of subsequent mass shootings, including of Congresspersons Gabby Gifford and Steve Scalise, who are divided for and against gun control, respectively.

Coffman is a supporter and recipient of NRA money, which he defends. He does have a limited gun safety platform, including outlawing bump stocks and more federal money for school safety, but the violence that has punctuated the South Metro area from Columbine to the Aurora theater is a dangerous backdrop for a strong NRA-supported congressperson.

March for Our Lives; Will Florida Make a Difference?

Will the mass shooting in Florida change the politics of gun control? It may, but the track record is very mixed. After the elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, no gun legislation passed the U.S. Senate. Colorado, however, passed gun control laws in 2013, and became a test case of the proposition: Can gun control start at the local level and go national? The answer turned out to be no.

Democrats, having taken over both houses of the Colorado legislature and controlling the governorship, rapidly passed a background check and limit on magazines in the 2013 legislative session. But, gun supporters, aided by the National Rifle Association, struck back by instigating two recall special elections against senior Democratic state senators, and they won. The recalls had a chilling effect on gun control legislation, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country.

National and local polling shows the public is mostly favorably disposed toward a number of specific gun control measures, even while they support the Second Amendment. A recent Colorado poll by CU shows a majority of the public favors increased gun control by 59 percent to 37 percent, but that there are significant partisan differences.

National surveys that ask if the public supports or opposes stricter gun laws often record a divided response, with a modest majority favoring stricter laws (CNN, stricter laws 52%, Oct. 15, 2017; Gallup 60%, Oct. 11, 2017; Quinnipiac 59%, Dec. 18, 2017). However, when specific laws are proposed, support can reach more than 9 out of 10 people, for example, 95 percent support background checks for all gun buyers (Quinnipiac, Dec. 18-20, 2017).

Pueblo Chieftain: Colorado Candidates and Gun Control

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting has made gun control a top issue for Colorado gubernatorial candidates.

They are following the national distinctions between the parties, but with a slightly more restrained approach among Democrats given the state’s reputation as more gun friendly and the 2013 recall backlash on new gun laws. Peter Roper in a Pueblo Chieftain quoted me and polled the candidates on their proposals.
Floyd Ciruli, whose Ciruli Associates polls are among the must trusted in Colorado, said the continuing tragedies of mass shootings has moved the public's opinion on gun control, but not the political leadership.
"Nationally, the support for specific gun-control measures tends be around 60 percent or higher, but the political lines haven't budged much at all," Ciruli said. "Politically, the gun question is still considered to be very controversial, especially in swing districts."
Most candidates mentioned mental health. The following are highlights recorded by Roper.

Colorado Politics: Tancredo Hits the Paywall – and Shakes Up Both Parties

Both parties have too many candidates for governor. The March 6 caucuses should begin the winnowing process. Also, a number of candidates who have more money than followers in the grassroots party are taking the petition route, which are due to be turned in by March 20. 

Colorado Politics is intensifying its coverage of the 2018 election. In an article published on Ash Wednesday (St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14), I review Tom Tancredo’s withdrawal and how it affects both parties.

Tancredo hits the paywall – and shakes up both parties
Once again, the Republican establishment said “no” and Tom Tancredo surrendered to the reality of having no source of funding for his third campaign for governor. Tancredo’s decision to run always lacked believability beyond a primary challenge. It appeared mostly as a revenge tour for being denied the gubernatorial nomination in 2014.

But, his withdrawal not only shakes up the Republican race, it also rearranges the Democratic line-up. Jared Polis, the frontrunner, is seen by many Democrats as a vulnerable statewide candidate. The initial plausibility of his statewide election was mostly a product of Tancredo’s dramatic misalignment with the Colorado electorate of 2018. Read more…

Gloomy Former Governors Meet at DAC Forum

Last Friday, former governor and presidential candidate, Michael Dukakis, visited Colorado for a Denver Forum session. In attendance was his old friend and colleague, Dick Lamm.

The two governors have a long history. Both were first elected in 1974 and served 12 years in their respective states, Massachusetts and Colorado. Dukakis lost the Democratic primary after his first term, but came back in 1983 for eight more years.

Dukakis was the Democratic nominee in 1988, losing to George H.W. Bush, and Lamm tried to wrestle the Reform Party nomination from Ross Perot in 1996 and lost. As Lamm points out, the Reform Party was a wholly owned Perot franchise.

Lamm was on a potential list to be in the Dukakis cabinet and Dukakis was a jacket endorsement of Lamm’s 2013 book, “Brave New World of Healthcare Revisited.” They both went into teaching – Dukakis in Northeastern and UCLA (he likes the winters) and Lamm at DU (he just retired).

Both are notoriously gloomy about national debt and the ability of the political leadership or even the American system to act responsibly. Dukakis tore after the Republican tax reform as fiscally irresponsible at his DAC talk, and Lamm is famous for railing on the failures of the health care system.

Here are the differences: 
Dukakis is far more the Democratic Party reformer and Lamm the dreamer of a third-party or independent candidacy. Dukakis revels in his Greek ethnic identity and believes we should welcome more immigrants. Lamm is the old zero population growth adherent and thinks we should keep the borders tight and immigrants assimilated.

Both now in their 80s (Dukakis at 84 and Lamm 82) – gloomy or not – are still in the public policy game.