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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Poll: ABQ Mayoral Race Still In Play; Mayor Marty Lands On The Money Number, But Barely; He Hits Exactly 40%; It's My Special Sunday Blog 

Not bad, not bad at all. But enough? Not quite. That's the word on the first nonpartisan poll of the 2005 ABQ mayor race conducted by pollster Brian Sanderoff of Research & Polling and released today by the ABQ Journal. Sanderoff bottom lined the numbers saying of the Oct.4 election: "It's not over yet." Indeed it is not, but Mayor Marty's three opponents have their work cut out for them. Marty polls exactly at 40% which is the magic number. If he pulls that Election Night he avoids a run-off with the other top vote-getter. But can Republican City Council Prez Brad Winter, the most likely second place finisher, catch up? He registers a disappointing 11% in the survey and the mayor has made significant inroads with GOP voters. 68% of them approve of his performance and 38% of them say they are going to vote for him. Democrat Eric Griego polls 13% and has been given credibility that it is he, not Winter, who is best poised to challenge Marty. Dem David Steele, the 65 year old political unknown gets 3%. Still, the race is not put away for the incumbent as 31% of the voters polled maintain they are undecided. And why shouldn't they be? This poll is basically a referendum on the incumbent since we have had no realy campaigning from anyone else.

Any politician with 98% name ID, like Mayor Marty, has a hard time beating his first polling number come Election Day. Sanderoff indicates it may be easier for Marty to do so because he has a high job performance approval among the undecided. But that's open to question. How come the mayor is not stronger in this poll since his overall job approval rating is at a very healthy 63%? That's the opening his opponents will sieze upon. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4%, meaning Marty could be at 44% or as low as 36%. Insiders in the Chavez campaign were hoping for at 45% or better thinking such a high number would basically end the race. But this poll, as Jesse Jackson might say, keeps hope alive. Obviously, Winter's late start has hurt him. He will need TV money very soon and he faces the challenge of picking up just about every GOP vote that is not already with the mayor and then some. Griego faces similar issues. It will now be up to the opposition to spin the numbers in a way that they can raise money from and also keep the race from being written off by the public after it gets news of a poll that shows Marty nearly 30 points ahead of his closet competitior.

Expect heavy negative campaigning too. Winter and Griego must stop any growth in the Chavez numbers or else he wins in the first round. At the same time, they must get known and create some positive vibes about themselves. Hey, no one said it would be easy.

More on all this Monday from my all-star team of election watchers. It will be exclusive, in-depth analyze you can get nowhere else so dont miss it. See you then!

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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