Thursday, May 13, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Our Poll Of The Democratic Lt. Governor Race; Colón Holds Lead Over Rael And Campos, Plus: Di's First TV, Plus: Latest GOP Guv Action 

Brian Colón
Brian Colón holds the lead in the five way race for the 2010 Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in the June 1 primary, according to a scientific poll commissioned by New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan and conducted Wednesday night.

We asked: “If the Democratic primary election for Lt. Governor was held today, would you vote for Brian Colon, Lawrence Rael, Jose Campos, Gerald Ortiz Y Pino or Linda Lopez?”

Colón, the only candidate running a significant amount of TV ads, was supported by 20.6% of those polled. Lawrence Rael and Joe Campos were nearly tied for second place. Rael had 13.5% and Campos polled 12.9%. State Senators Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Linda Lopez trailed the field. Ortiz y Pino was fourth with 9.6% and Lopez lagged with 8.9 percent.

While Colón came in first among the candidates, it was undecided that pulled the most responses. 34.6% of the Democrats polled said they had not yet made a decision on the race.

Bruce Donisthorpe, a New Mexico political veteran and Republican analyst for us, assisted with the survey. He said with just under three weeks to go there is still time for Colón's foes to catch him, but they must move urgently.

Brian has a seven point lead and unless the trend we are seeing in this survey is interrupted, he is positioned to win. He leads in virtually all demographic groups in all areas of the state. His challengers need to get on TV and fast. Time is not on their side.

Rael says he will come with a new TV spot next week. Colón has raised more money than anyone in the field and has not been subjected to any attacks. He started a major TV buy on May 3. Campos also plans TV ads, but can't match Colón's cash.

Colon has his strongest lead in the ABQ metro area which we define as Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties. He scores 21% to Rael's 15%. Ortiz y Pino has 15%; Lopez 12% and Campos 7%.

Colón trounces the field when it comes to Anglo voters, but it is nearly a tie between him and state Rep. Campos for Hispanics.

21% of the Anglos go for Colón. Campos gets 12%; Ortiz y Pino 11%; Rael 8 and Lopez 8. Undecided is at 39%.

Among Hispanics, Colón scores 21%, just one point more than Campos who gets 20%. Rael and Lopez each get 13 and Ortiz y Pino 7. Undecided is at 27% among Hispanics.

Some other cross tabs. Among men Colón polls 20%; Rael 18 and Campos 13. Among women Colón gets 20% Campos 14 and Ortiz y Pino 11.

Donisthorpe says the polling of state Democrats points to absentee and early voting comprising about 45% to 50% of the total vote with the remainder cast on the actual election day.

We polled 356 likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error of the survey is plus or minus 5.19 percent. It was conducted by automatic phone calls by the Roswell, NM firm Dialing Services, LLC. The polling memo is posted here.

Thanks to our advertisers for making this exclusive survey possible. It's another service to you from the state's leading political website.


Forget about appealing to most Democratic primary voters, certain Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish makes a general election play in her first TV ad of the cycle, and she takes a sharp turn to the right to go there.

As Governor, one of the first things I’ll do is cut waste out of government. Let’s get rid of the bloated bureaucracy. Slash the state car fleet. And get rid of unnecessary political appointees.

If for a moment you thought Di might be doing an ad for the GOP nomination, you're forgiven and you're not alone. GOP Guv hopeful Doug Turner was quick to note the swerve to the right, and he pounced:

The Lt. Governor should have aired this on April Fool’s Day. Her attempt to re-imagine herself as an “outsider” is the most laughable ad of the campaign.

Denish is unopposed in the June 1st primary which will feature a light turnout and base Democratic voters who are more liberal than the party as a whole. This ad ignores them and works to win support from conservative and independent minded voters--mainly Anglos--that we suppose Denish's internal polling shows as the main threat to her in the November election. But she will have to eventually excite the Democratic base to win and taking them completely for granted, as this ad does, presents a challenge.

The ad implies that Denish just parachuted into the political scene and was nowhere near the multiple train wrecks in Santa Fe. Her nearly eight years as lieutenant governor are barely referenced, and she takes an indirect slap at poor-polling Governor Big Bill by saying, "I’ve never been one of those ‘good ol’ boys’ and never wanted to be one of those ‘good ol’ boys."

Incumbent is the new political curse word and Denish works overtime (too much?) to steer voters away from remembering that she has been a mainstay on the political and government scene for two decades.

One puzzling part of the ad is that reference to cutting the "state car fleet." GOP Guv candidate Allen Weh has been pummeling Di on TV over her use of the state jet. Why invite more hits?

Cosmetically, Denish also comes across as, you guessed it, conservative. She wears dark eyeglasses that give her a studied look, but we glimpse her in one scene without the glasses and she looks more refreshed and more approachable, but perhaps not as penny-pinching.

Not for one second in the 60 second ad is Di shown alone. No podium shots. She addresses folks gathered in a circle. All of this to not brand her as a podium-practiced politician.

Denish actually has a pretty good record as Light Guv but apparently the campaign believes no one wants to hear it or won't believe it. The toxic environment of 2010 has the insiders all acting like outsiders.


Dona Ana County District Attorney Susana Martinez came with a new ad that attempts to pull at the heart strings. The family of NMSU student Carly Martinez who was abducted, raped and slain in 1998 tells their story in the 30 second ad. Martinez prosecuted the case.

The mother of Carly says she is "grateful to Susana, grateful to her--forever." The ad ends with the slogan flashed on the screen: Susana Martinez, She'll make a difference; She always has."

It's the first ad from any of the five GOP Guv candidates that has strayed from jobs, the economy and corruption. It attempts to add a new dimension to Martinez's personality as she seeks to pull ahead of chief rival Allen Weh.


From the email comes the Alligator analysis on the ABQ Journal poll that hits the streets Sunday:

No Way Weh upped his TV buy because he did not like his numbers. Susana Martinez is raining on his parade by gaining ground. I will bet the undecided in No Way Weh's internal polling is more than enough to put Susana over the top. You can bet that once the Journal poll comes out Janice Arnold-Jones and Doug Turner people gravitate to Susana not to No Way Weh! More and more Republicans are coming around to the view that Susana is the Republican Joan of Arc and best suited to slay (Democrat) Diane Denish in November.

That's a point to consider. Is Martinez more attractive to supporters of Arnold-Jones, Turner and Pete Domenici, Jr. than Weh? Most primary voters don't cast "strategic" ballots, thinking of who would be the best candidate to win in November. But some do. Something to ponder as we await the Sunday numbers.


With no negative hits coming from either Martinez or Weh, one of our analysts offered this thought: "Maybe they both think they have it won and don't need to do any negative."


When it comes to the approach to illegal immigrants Arizona and New Mexico are night and day, and in this New York Times piece you find it why. (One reason: Our Hispanic population is now at 45%, more than any other state.)


It looks as as if the reason for the paid suspension of ABQ Metro Court Judge Victoria Grant could be explained to the public. The state Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for Monday to determine whether the Judicial Standards Commission should release the details. The secrecy has been a point of contention, but one of our insiders emailed us what he said was the reason for the suspension and we posted that Tuesday.

Meantime, reader Jim McClure, noting that grant was apparently suspended after defense attorneys complained of her sentencing actions, rose to her defense:

I had to laugh when I read that Judge Victoria Grant is in trouble because of her penchant for sending criminals to jail. I suppose she would be in the good graces of the local legal fraternity if she let the bad guys out on probation instead as most other judges do Only in Planet New Mexico!

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