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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Our Latest Exclusive ABQ Mayor Poll: Berry At 61, Dinelli With 26 And Heh At 5; Also: Arnold-Jones Leads In Hottest City Council Race 

Berry, Heh & Dinelli (ABQ Journal)
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry continues to hold what appears to be a nearly insurmountable lead in his bid for re-election, with early voting underway and less than two weeks to go before the October 8 election.

That's the finding of our second, exclusive scientific poll of the contest featuring Republican Berry, Democrat Pete Dinelli and Republican Paul Heh.

It shows little change in the character of the race since our first poll August 26 & 27.

In our poll Wednesday night (Sept. 25) Berry was winning 60.6% of likely voters, Dinelli trailed with 25.9% and Heh came with 5.1%. Undecided was 8.4%.

Bruce Donisthorpe of BWD Global consulting, who conducted the survey and who in the past five years has done many highly accurate polls for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan, analyzed the survey this way:

Berry is marching towards a blow-out victory unless there is a dramatic turn of events in the final days. Berry is commanding support of 82% of the Republicans. Independents favor him by 58% to Dinelli's 27%. Even among Democrats the mayor takes a three point lead over Dinelli, 44.7% to 39.8%.

Among Hispanics the Mayor captured 54%, compared to Dinelli's 34%. Among Hispanic Dems it was Berry 45 and Dinelli 40.

Complete mayoral crosstabs and Donisthorpe's polling memo are here.

Dinelli has never argued he could come in first against the popular incumbent, instead hoping to keep the Mayor below 50% and force a run-off election between himself and Berry on November 19.

Our poll shows reaching that goal for Dinelli is going to be very difficult. Said Donisthorpe:

He has failed to move ahead among Democrats and is getting beat 2 to 1 among independents. He needs to get independents to move their votes from Berry to him and move up substantially among Democrats, including moving people off of Berry. That is a tall order indeed.

Like Berry, Dinelli has picked up support since our first poll. In late August he had 19% Berry had 56% and Heh had  4%. Undecided was 21% but is now only about 8%.

Donisthorpe says if there's any good news for Dinelli it's that Berry is done growing and most of the undecideds that end up voting should cast ballots for Dinelli.

In this second poll Berry increased his support among R's and independents and held his ground among Democrats. Dinelli picked up most of his support among Democrats who he has been making a direct appeal to in his TV ads.

Dinelli had no TV ads up during our first poll, but he came with them in early September. However, two Berry ads attacking Dinelli have been in rotation and gone unanswered by the Democratic hopeful. Donisthorpe says the ads may be helping Berry hang on to his Democratic and independent support.

Berry is expected to raise $800,000 or more for his campaign. Dinelli opted for public financing and gets about $350,000. That financial disparity is now hitting home for Dinelli on TV and in the mailboxes.

We polled 452 likely voters via automated phone calls. The margin of error for the mayoral survey is 4.6%.

JANICE'S JOURNEY

Arnold-Jones
While there's little suspense in the mayoral race, up in City Council District 7 in the Northeast Heights we could be headed for a nail biter.

GOP City Councilor Janice Arnold-Jones is facing off with Democrats Diane Gibson and Matt Biggs. She is very close to getting the 50% needed to win a four year term outright and avoid a November 19 run-off but she's not quite there. And well-financed attacks against Arnold-Jones only recently began.

Our poll Wednesday night showed Arnold-Jones with 45.9%, Gibson with 28.0% and Democrat Matt Biggs at 11.5%. Undecided was 14.5%.

We asked Donisthorpe how Arnold-Jones can avoid a run-off:

Janice can get to 50% by focusing on undecided Republicans and independents who can put her over the top and by staying on pace with the Democratic support she is winning. 12% of the R's remain undecided and they could be key, if Janice is successful in fending off the increasingly heated attacks coming her way.

Arnold-Jones is getting about 70% of the R's while Mayor Berry is getting over 80%.

The district is 47% Dem and 31% R. The crosstabs for the poll are here.

Another factor is whether Dems supporting Biggs will start to move to Gibson now that she is the established Democratic front runner. Interestingly, Biggs, an Iraq war veteran, is drawing his support equally from Dems and R's. A source from one of the campaigns told us Biggs had started to attack fellow Dem Gibson but the Biggs campaign says he has not.

Those attacks are coming from a third party group financed mainly with  union money that is attacking Arnold-Jones on her stands on abortion and the minimum wage.

Our experts say this race could determine which party controls the city council.  R's currently dominate 6 to 3, but if Arnold-Jones were to lose her seat the Dems would likely take over the panel 5 to 4 given the expected outcomes of the other council races up for grabs this year.

In council district District 7 we polled 432 likely voters. The margin of error is 4.7%.

EARLY VOTE

The City Clerk's office reports over 12,000 votes have been cast in the city election thus far. Our projected turnout is about 80,000. That would mean about 15% of the vote has already been cast.

If Mayor Berry performed in those ballots at the 60% level our polling has showed him at, it makes it that much harder for Dinelli to hold him below 50% with the remaining 85% of the ballots yet to be cast....

We mentioned yesterday that we thought the voter rolls are a bit bloated because of the two intense presidential campaigns we've had here and with Obama organizing heavily. But reader Michelle Meaders offers other reasons why we have so many registered ABQ voters--364,000 of them:

A purge of the voter rolls is overdue, thanks to the last Secretary of State. Lots of people have left town, and their names are still on the rolls. Also, the Feds started enforcing Motor Voter, which the state had been neglecting. That tends to raise registration numbers.

FAKE IMAX

Here's some air being let out of the balloon. It's reported by Chris Ortiz at the website NewsCastic Albuquerque:

...I had a hunch that the planned IMAX at the Winrock would be one of those "IMAX Experiences" aka fake IMAX and my hunch was confirmed. Albuquerque Business First reports that the IMAX theater will open Nov. 8....The IMAX is described as a "50-foot" IMAX screen. 

IMAX once known as the premier theater experience has sold out and has been selling its name to "IMAX Experience," which is just essentially a bigger screen. A true IMAX screen is 76 by 97 feet, almost twice as big as the IMAX that is coming to Albuquerque. But beyond the screen size, a true IMAX theater is a complete different animal when compared to normal theaters or an "IMAX Experience" theater. The entire room is specifically designed, from the seating arrangements to the acoustics. True IMAX theaters also use 70mm film, as opposed to 35mm, which most movies are shot on....That larger format gives more detail and clarity when shown on an IMAX screen.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2013. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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