Kathy Turley from the Centennial city council, along with Katy Brown and Earl Hoellen from the Cherry Hills Village city council, came to hear Ciruli’s analysis.Photos by Freda Miklin
BY FREDA MIKLIN
At its regular monthly meeting Oct. 3 at Maggiano’s DTC, members of the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club heard from longtime local political analyst Floyd Ciruli. In addition to analyzing politics for 9-KUSA TV, KOA Radio and the Denver Post, Ciruli serves as adjunct faculty of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, where he is the director of the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and a board member of the Korbel school’s Social Science Foundation.
Jumping directly into national politics, Ciruli said the new generic ballot tests that seemed to show the Democrats with large margins are now indicating much more modest gains for Dems because pollsters are now targeting likely voters instead of registered voters, thus they are contacting fewer millennials, who historically vote in small numbers. Democrats need 23 additional House seats to wrestle control from the Republicans. No one is predicting with any certainty that they’ll get them. Neither is anyone certain that they might not get more than 23 new seats. The political climate is very fluid. Even though we start voting in Colorado in mid-October, most of the country still vote on Election Day, Nov. 6 and the up-and-down emotions of voters associated with events like the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court, constantly move the needle.
Ciruli thinks the Democrats would be foolish to impeach Trump, just as the Republicans were when they impeached Bill Clinton in December 1998, resulting in a backlash in the next election that favored the Dems. He cautions that a more likely result of a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is that it would keep the White House busy with continuous investigations of the president.
Floyd Ciruli talked to local Republicans about the factors affecting Colorado political races.
In the race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District (CD6), Ciruli believes that Washington Republicans have been too quick to write off Rep. Mike Coffman’s re-election as being “out-of-reach.” He points to Coffman’s “incredible track record,” that saw him defeat popular Democratic Morgan Carroll in 2016. In that election, Hillary Clinton bested Donald Trump for president by nine points in CD6, while Coffman beat Carroll by eight points. He also pointed out that Colorado’s increased population will result in an additional congressional district in 2022, which will result in all Colorado congressional districts being realigned. If Amendments Y and Z pass in November (they are supported by the chairs of both major parties), voters can expect there will not be gerrymandering, but it doesn’t guarantee political balance. As of Sept. 30, current active voters in CD6 are 29 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat, 38 percent unaffiliated and 2 percent other. There are 471,114 total voters in the district, including 76,359 who are considered inactive. Ciruli expects that CD6 will lose 100,000 people when Colorado’s eighth congressional district is formed.
Moving to the governor’s race, Ciruli said, “This is going to be a transformational election in November,” because we’ve had a balanced legislature (Democrats control the statehouse, while Republicans control the state Senate), and Gov. John Hickenlooper hasn’t introduced very liberal ideas. If Rep. Jared Polis is elected, and also has a Democratic legislature, he is likely to bring more liberal ideas to the table. If Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is elected, he needs the Republicans to keep control of the state Senate, because it is extremely unlikely that Democrats will lose the statehouse. If Stapleton wins the governorship, but the Republicans lose control of the state Senate, Stapleton will have trouble being effective. Ciruli pointed to a current poll conducted by respected pollsters from both parties that points to a seven-point lead by Polis. He said that new voter registration favors Polis, who he described as, “a very wealthy and recently polished candidate.” He said that Stapleton “needs to change the narrative” quickly if he expects to win. Ballots will be in the mail beginning Oct. 15 and one-third of voters return them right away.
Asked what he saw in Colorado’s future, Ciruli said, “Colorado is not a swing state now. It is light blue. It is moving to the left because millennials are starting to vote, and they are independents or Democrats.” He believes that millennials will not have a huge effect on the 2018 election, but expects that they will make a difference in 2020.
Nationally, he sees Republican strength, due to the incredibly strong economy, and expects the Republicans to take over Senate seats in Missouri, Indiana, and North Dakota.
Dick Wadhams, a respected and renowned political strategist, and former GOP state chair came up to the lectern from his seat in the audience to encourage fellow Republicans. He said that Stapleton being down seven points is not unusual for a Republican candidate and that Stapleton can still win by taking over the narrative, telling the voters his agenda and pointing out that Polis is very liberal. He said that worked for former Republican Gov. Bill Owens in 1998.
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