Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Book On Berry: Our Exclusive Poll Shows ABQ Mayor Scoring 62% Favorable Rating; The Numbers And The Analysis Are Up Next On The Wednesday Blog 

Mayor Berry
The police department is the subject of almost daily controversy, with calls for a Department of Justice investigation mounting and the ABQ metro economy continues to struggle mightily, with little or no job growth. But Mr. and Mrs. Albuquerque don't seem to be of a mind to blame ABQ Mayor Richard Berry. The Republican chief executive scores a solid 62% approval rating in an exclusive poll conducted on July 17 for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan.

We asked this question: "Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the job performance of Albuquerque Mayor R. J. Berry?"

 Only 15% of the 401 respondents in the automatic telephone survey supervised by veteran Republican consultant and pollster Bruce Donisthorpe expressed an unfavorable opinion of Berry. 23% of likely, registered voters said they were unsure how they felt about him. The margin of error in the poll is 4.9 percent.

Berry is the first GOP mayor in ABQ since the 80's so this high favorable rating is especially gratifying for him. However, the danger for Berry is that the goodwill could quickly shatter. Since he defeated Democratic Mayor Marty Chavez in October 2009, the mayor has not been subjected to much criticism either by his opponents or the press. There have been occasional clashes but Democrats have largely let Berry to his own devices and it has cost them. Despite the pressing problems with APD and the economy, the public is not exacting a political price from him--at least not yet.

Also, like Republican Governor Martinez, Berry has not pressed a hard-right Republican agenda before the city council. The proposals he has made have been mainly of the modest variety.

Berry, a former NE Heights state legislator, stands for re-election next year and pollster Donisthorpe says that's when we'll find out then whether Berry has a glass jaw. Will he drop like a rock if a strong opponent questions his decisions? We'll have to see. Right now, let's go to Donisthorpe for more exclusive polling numbers and analysis:

Mayor Berry is in strong shape as he looks to a re-election campaign in 2013. He has a strong  favorable vs. unfavorable rating, clearing more than a 4-to-1 margin among all voters. The mayor’s strength is his 77%-10% fav/unfav rating among GOP voters. They will comprise approximately 35%-40% of the turnout in next October's mayoral race. Republican voters have a high degree of turnout in non-presidential elections, and this strong performance helps Berry significantly--especially if he has the Republican field to himself.

Democratic voters have a significantly less favorable view of the mayor than Republicans 53%-20%--but still a majority give Berry a favorable rating. As Democratic mayoral candidates emerge and begin attacking Berry, these numbers will fall, but Berry starts with a strong rating among the opposition party’s voting base.

Berry turned in a strong performance--58%-10%--with likely independent voters in our survey. As is the case with Democrats, these numbers will most likely fall some as his unfavorable rating rises in response to campaign attacks.

Over 27% of Democratic voters and 31% of independent voters were unsure of Berry’s job performance. These voters will be hotly contested next year and almost certainly guarantees Berry’s unfavorables will climb during next year’s campaign. Some of these voters probably have unfavorable opinions of the mayor, but chose not to express them in our survey. 

Those likely voters who selected “jobs and the economy” as the most important issue had a 71% favorable rating of the Mayor.

Among Albuquerque’s neighborhoods and regions: Likely voters on the Westside gave Berry a 63%-16% favorable/unfavorable rating, with 20% unsure. In the North and South Valley, he scored a 51% favorable rating, 22% unfavorable and  28% unsure. This represents the toughest and most competitive region for the mayor in next year’s election since Democratic candidates there have a considerable registration advantage over the GOP.

In the Southeast and Mid-Heights areas, Berry has a 57% favorable rating, a 13% unfavorable rating and 30% are unsure. Berry posted good numbers in the GOP dominated Northeast Heights, where he scored a 71% approval rating. Likely voters there gave him a 12% unfavorable rating. About 18% of voters in this area were unsure.

Thanks for that, Bruce. And here's a final tidbit on this from our corner....


Mayor Berry has signaled his intent to seek re-election next year, but no one has yet announced a formal bid against him, although Dem ABQ westside City Councilor Ken Sanchez is considered very likely to run. Also mentioned as a possible is former Dem City Councilor and Public Safety Director Pete Dinelli and former Lt. Governor Diane Denish. Dem State Sen. Tim Keller is another name on the mayoral radar. A big question is whether Berry will draw a Republican challenger. If he did and that person qualified for the ballot, it could hurt Berry dramatically. He was elected in 2009 when Mayor Chavez and Richard Romero split the Democratic vote.


As for the moribund economy around here, much of it is caused by the new New Mexico paradigm--lost jobs in the previously impervious government sector:

The Albuquerque metropolitan area’s economy lost 4,000 jobs in the year that ended June 30 for a negative 1.1 percent job growth rate, according to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. Most of those job losses came from the government sector, which shed 4,600 positions over the year.

True, some of that big government job loss is seasonal--related to higher education--but we are still shedding government jobs. And what's to replace them? So far, nothing. And that explains everything about the housing bear market, the foreclosures, the lack of retail development and the brain flight from the state.

The Republican administrations in Santa Fe and Albuquerque can take heart that the economy these days is being seen through a national prism, but what will they have to say when voters' eyes gaze their way? 


One thing the Obama camp has going for it is a deep bench of Hispanic politicians who will go to bat for them when the going gets rough. Recently, State Rep. Rick Miera and Senator Linda Lopez--both of ABQ--were trotted out to defended the President. We'll see more of them and others as the campaign accelerates. Obama's Hispanic support is crucial to his victory plans here.


It's been a while since we checked out the ABQ radio ratings. Now that we have, we noticed that the market is increasingly fractionalized. Not a singe station has 10 or even 9 percent of the average listeners. Perennial market leader KKOB-AM holds down the #1 spot in the spring ratings with only a 7.0 share. Top 40 KISS FM scores a 5.7 share and 94 Rock takes third place with a 5.0 share. The ratings are for all listeners aged 12 and over.

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