Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pro-Choice Out Ahead In NM Poll, But Right-To-Lifers Fight On, Plus: Gay Marriage Numbers, And: More Rio Rancho Raving 

New Mexico's stance on two key social issues mimics the rest of the USA, but also reveals our conservative streak is alive and well. Poll numbers on abortion and gay marriage from Survey USA were gathered July 8 thru 10. On abortion, New Mexico remains firmly pro-choice. The poll asked: "Who should have the final say on abortion? Your state government? The Federal Government? Or should the government have no say? Sixty-two percent replied "neither." That may sound high, but not compared to California and many other states where neither received 75%. Our 62% puts us on the lower rung of approval.

It's not surprising. We talked about the reluctance among many northern New Mexicans, particularly Catholic Hispanics of a pro-life bent, to support Dem John Kerry in last November's election. What is news to me came from a conversation with longtime pro-lifer Dauneen Dolce of the NM Right to Life Committee. She told me her group did election literature drops at Catholic churches in the north and earned the wrath of several Catholic priests. "A lot of them are Democrats and were mad about us doing it," she said.

That caught my attention because the focus after the election was on how some Catholic priests apparently discouraged parishioners from voting for Kerry because of his abortion views. Combine that with the Right to Life activity and those weak Kerry numbers there come even more sharply into focus.

Dolce told me parental notification remains her current goal. "It passed the senate last session but failed in the House. We will try again," she said of the measure which would require a minor to notify one parent if they planned on having an abortion. The procedure would then be halted for 24 hours. The minor would still have final say on whether to abort. Dolce said with Big Bill in the governor's chair her group has an uphill battle in getting the measure to his desk.


And what about about gay marriage in NM? It seems to be a nonstarter, but not overwhelmingly so. Forty-six percent of those surveyed chose "neither" when asked who should have the final say in gay marriage, the federal or state governments? A majority of 51% chose the government, meaning gay marriage advocates have their work cut out for them. Conservatives may say the opposition number is not high enough. They have a point. Survey USA does not screen for registered voters as rigorously as other polls. That group could be expected to be more opposed to the notion of men and women marrying the same sex.


They can argue until another bridge is built over the Rio Grande, but the facts speak clearly: money is moving to the northwest in the ABQ metro area. Friday, the stock of Amrep, which owns thousands of acres in Rio Rancho and is a major residential builder there, hit a new 52 week high on the NYSE. ABQ's political gridlock has expedited growth there. All the talk about infill, downtown redevelopment and attracting major new industry within the city limits is mostly talk. (Rio Ranchos's Intel announced more hiring plans Monday). What is happening is the formation of a Dallas-Ft. Worth here. All the government paid economists, think-tank spinners and politicos can argue otherwise, but on Wall Street they're betting on it with their money. Who do you think is right?


Blog reader Alan Schwartz was one of several to react to our call yesterday for a lowering of the petition requirement to get on the ABQ mayoral ballot. After all, it is higher than that for candidates seeking statewide or congressional office. Said Alan: "Given..the bloat in the voter registration rolls (moved, dead) why not tie the signature requirement to actual election participation?

The current 2% of registered requirement equates to almost 6% of votes cast in the last mayoral election. By contrast, 2% of that same vote count would require less than 2,000 signatures."

Well put Alan. And something the next city council might want to take a look at.


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