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Sunday, August 29, 2010

ABQ Journal Poll: Martinez Lead Vs. Denish Shrinks to 5-6 Points from Leaked Statewide Poll of Mid-August

The first Albuquerque Journal governor's race poll of the 2010 election season was released today and shows the GOP's Susana Martinez leading Dem Diane Denish by 6 percentage points, 45% to 39%. However, a significant number -- 16% -- are still undecided. Most voters don't start paying attention to fall elections until at least Labor Day, and most campaigns are not in full swing until then, so consider this survey a kind of baseline poll. Additional poll results reported in today's Journal are available here.

The survey, as always, was conducted by Brian Sanderoff's Research and Polling Inc., a company in which the Albuquerque Journal has a financial stake. Also, as usual, the Journal did not release the full cross tabs on the polling, nor any info on how the questions were worded, how data was weighted demographically, etc. As always, the Journal selectively released the data collected.

At any rate, the Journal says the results of "phone interviews" with 942 registered New Mexico voters statewide "who have voted in the past and who said they plan to vote in the upcoming general election" have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. It said that "the margin of error grows for sub-samples, such as ethnic groups and political party affiliation," although the Journal did not disclose what those margins of error were for the sub-samples. We also don't know how many Hispanic Democrats in the "Albuquerque Metro Area," for instance, were interviewed, as no such breakdowns were published.

The released the following statement in response to the poll results:

“Polls will go up and down, but as New Mexicans learn about the real Susana Martinez, they’ll see she’s just another politician who isn’t on their side and can’t be trusted. New Mexicans don’t want a Governor who wants to cut public education and let powerful corporations take advantage of families. There’s only one candidate in this race who has a track record of standing up for New Mexico families and the issues most important to them – and that’s Diane Denish,” said Denish for Governor spokesman Chris Cervini.

Results Similar to Rasmussen's
The margin between Martinez and Denish in this poll is about the same as it was for a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted on August 24, 2010 by means of automated phone calls of "likely voters," which showed Martinez with 48% and Denish with 43%. However, the Rasmussen had only 6% of those polled as undecided, compared with 16% in the Journal survey.

Martinez Lost Support Since Mid-August
Pundits earlier made much of leaked partial results of a poll allegedly conducted in mid-August by an unnamed statewide candidate that showed Martinez ahead by 12 points but under 50%. Since there was so much emphasis placed on the undocumented poll results by those who call themselves "reporters," I'll take them at their word and say that today's results show a degradation of support for Martinez between mid-August and now. If the leaked results are to be believed, Martinez has lost a full 6 percentage points of support over a period of only a few weeks as voters' interest in the race has grown at least somewhat. Bad news for Susana!

Of course many will argue with this take, and will now ignore the mid-August "results" as without meaning. You know how they are in journo-ville. Blast headlines over nothing and then switch gears when other results are released by the supposed "paper of record."

What's the reality? Early on, with most people not yet paying much attention to the election, Denish's support is trailing due to the usual mid-term let down for the incumbent party, with undecided voters still in double digits. She's 5-6 points down to a "fresh face" who has been the beneficiary of lots of positive commentary lavished on her by mainstream media sources and certain bloggers. The horse-race-style "reporters" love a contest with many twists and turns and a breathless story line that features the candidate commonly seen as a newcomer underdog up in the polls.

The results shouldn't be disregarded -- but they should be taken in context and in proper proportion. Regardless, they show that Denish and the Dems have an uphill battle in the governor's race at this point and that, when all is said and done, the November gubernatorial election will no doubt be a close one in this challenging environment.

The Task for Dems
I think Dems need to clearly show how Susana Martinez's economic and job policies -- as weak and ill-defined as they are -- will hurt ordinary New Mexicans, not help us. Working families will suffer more under the slash and burn budget and economic policies of right-wing candidates like Martinez. Jobs won't be created by a return to the Bush-era, trickle-down focus on giving already wealthy people more money to play with. Etcetera. And the same is true for contests up and down the ballot.

Voter outreach and strong messaging will be of prime importance between now and November 2nd for Dem candidates. Not only will Dems have to provide a clear contrast between their forward-looking, common-sense proposals and the failed policies of their GOP opponents, but all of us will have to volunteer to canvass, phone bank and more. This won't be an easy election cycle by any means, but we CAN WIN and WILL WIN if we do what needs doing in the coming weeks.

Additional Journal Poll Results

August 29, 2010 at 12:32 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, Media, Polling, Susana Martinez | Permalink


So, early in June Denish was at 43 in the polls. The recent Rasmussen had her at 43 and now the Journal poll has her at 39. The fact that she has never been over 43 can't be good news for team Denish.

Posted by: BGar | Aug 29, 2010 1:23:36 PM

Shocking that Martinez is doing so well in the Albq metro area in the Journal poll. Where the hell is our county party? What is their strategy? What are their plans? Are they registering voters? Are they doing canvassing? I haven't seen or heard a word about the Bernalillo County chairwoman in many weeks. Wake up county party!

Posted by: West Side | Aug 29, 2010 1:58:38 PM

Everybody focuses on GOTV techniques. Since the '70s when computers became cheap enough to be available to political campaigning, the focus has been more and more on identifying supporters among the voters and then trying to ensure that they turn out.

The larger questions that take a lot of thought and which take time and real leadership between elections, meanwhile, have tended to get left to chance because that is harder to coordinate.

Meanwhile, conservatives have been buying up the media and funding organizations of various types that influence the public and define the terms of public debate.

In the future, it will be absolutely necessary to engage in defining terms, ensuring that history is not distorted, and creating a basis in science for understanding the true nature of the problems we face as a society.

If we stay in the same old rut, arguing the same arguments that have been in place (largely promoted by Republican efforts) we may not actually be able to really deal with what is coming down the pike. Instead, those who are simply responding through existential anger may carry the day.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | Aug 29, 2010 3:14:41 PM

Susana has nothing to say about real issues so I guess she will spend the rest of her campaign about the plane NM has. Name me one state of any size that doesn't have planes? Are we in the 1880s?

Martinez offers absolutely nothing as a candidate. She doesn't understand government or education or even the private sector. She has worked in the DA office all her working life. Good for prosecuting criminals but her view of life is narrow and punishing.

Posted by: Educator | Aug 29, 2010 4:16:45 PM

The most entertaining things I've seen today came from Oren Shur's email and this post.

Diane Denish is an incumbent at 39% in an anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat, and anti-Richardson environment. That 50% mark might as well be on the summit of Mt Everest.....

Posted by: Come On | Aug 29, 2010 7:59:01 PM

Hey Come on: what's your point? Sick form of entertainment. Unless you are one of the vindictive Dems out to see Denish lose. Believing stronger in your conviction of some vendetta instead of fear of the future with Susana driving the ship. I dont get the Democrats going over to Susana. How could you be a Democrat in the past and now be willing to vote for someone who has none of the Dem values. She would not lend a helping hand if she saw you drowning right in front of her.

Posted by: mary ellen | Aug 29, 2010 9:35:16 PM

Mary Ellen, I think the point is that Denish has gone from 43 right after the primary to 39. There is no way to put a positive spin on that. Team Richardson/Denish Administration can try... but I dont think there is enough perfume to cover up that turd.

Posted by: BGar | Aug 29, 2010 10:11:22 PM

Susana was a Democrat for a long-time. She grew up in a lower middle-class family and understands real people.

Diane Denish is a trust fund kid. She grew up privileged and inherited millions.

Denish is just too out-of-touch.

Posted by: Come On | Aug 29, 2010 10:18:50 PM

I'm glad Susana is ahead! She is the people's candidate.

Susana has worked for everything she has. She has done everything the hard way. She knows New Mexicans.

MARTINEZ-SANCHEZ, Real New Mexican Values.

Posted by: Northern Dem | Aug 29, 2010 10:25:42 PM

Ay yay the hell is Denish going to fix this one? I'm not a Martinez supporter by any means, but let's be real folks. When has anyone that has ever had Denish's name ID ever closed a gap this big with only 2 months to go? It's going to take a miracle and this team of hers is really bad at what they do.

I think we screwed up a long time ago by handing Diane the nomination on a silver platter. My bet is that she's toast.

Posted by: Vaquero | Aug 30, 2010 4:58:42 AM

Uh, oh, Barb: looks like word got out to the Martinez partisans that therre is an article on DFNM on which they need to comment.

As Sherlock would say, "The game's afoot!"

All I wanna know is, what does the Journal consider an ethnic group: Hispanics, or Polish bloggers? ;-)

Posted by: John McAndrew | Aug 30, 2010 5:22:46 AM

Hey John, make that half-Polish bloggers, although I admit I identify most with that part of my makeup. Must be the polkas!

You're right about the Martinez people. The same handful has been commenting for awhile now. Most likely they are paid operatives of her campaign.

I think the commenter who claims Martinez is "the people's candidate" needs to explain why the biggest chunk of money in her primary race came from a TEXAN - $450,000 from Bob Perry (and wife), the slimy real estate guy who created the dishonest Swiftboat campaign against Kerry. See and . Perry was one of George W. Bush's biggest donors, and he was a big supporter of the crooked Tom Delay as well. And northern New Mexicans should vote for a GOP candidate who is heavily backed by Perry? Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Susana, who was in fact born in TEXAS, got most of the rest of her primary cash from moneyed oil and gas interests in southern NM. She represents the forces that have long worked against working families, a quality education for all and protecting our environment for future generations.

Posted by: barb | Aug 30, 2010 9:18:09 AM

It is time for everyone who beleives in Democratic values and helping people and our kids and their education to stop complaining and start acting. The difference between these two is clear.

Posted by: mary ellen | Aug 30, 2010 9:36:45 AM

I agree Mary Ellen, the difference is clear... about 6 points and growing.

Posted by: BGar | Aug 30, 2010 10:11:06 AM

Susan is JUST LIKE PALIN!! All the talk about selling the plane. Why don't you sell all the vehicles you bought your select bunch of ada's? Why are those STATE vehicles allowed to have private license plates? Is it so they can go on vacations, grocery shopping, and your campaigning without the public knowing the vehicle is owned by tax payers?

Posted by: Mel | Aug 30, 2010 10:23:07 AM

BGar- Susana's supporting is slumping. She was higher in the middle of August but now more people are getting what an awful candidate she is and that she really is an extreme right wing Republican. She loves the tea party and kissed their asses all during the primary.

She is not for helping anyone in the working and middle classes. She is like all Republicans-for the rich elites and oil and gas industry give aways. She is against health care for the people, thinks more testing will help our schools when too much time is already spent testing instead of dealing with each child's needs. She is against public transportation, the Railrunner, film industry jobs and extending unemployment benefits during the economic crisis created by Bush and her own Republican party.

Posted by: Martinez is our enemy not our friend | Aug 30, 2010 10:52:58 AM

Susana's support is soft and based mostly on her last name and that she is "new" to elected politics. Undecided at 16% is huge. This race has only just begun. Don't believe the right wing spin-get our and work for Diane. If we turn out our vote we will win. There are way more Democratic voters here than Republicans.

Of course Hispanics are excited about a female Hispanic candidate-but only until they learn what she is really for. If you liked what happened to NM when Republican Gary Johnson was governor by all means vote for Martinez. She would do what he did-veto every bill that helps the people and leave everything from health care to education crippled.

Martinez is trying to pretend she is middle of the road now that she needs Democratic votes to win but she was her real self in the primaries. It was very ugly.

Posted by: Luis R. | Aug 30, 2010 11:03:45 AM