Monday, September 15, 2014

King Chaos As Latest Campaign Manager Jumps Ship And He Plunges In Poll, And: Pollster Pushes Back Against Dem Critics, Plus: Is It Susana's Underwear Or Her Underhandedness?  

The chaos that is the Gary King campaign is plumbing new lows and the worst may not be over. News comes to us that his second campaign manager since the June primary and third in total has just headed for the exits and the latest ABQ Journal poll shows a comfortable win developing for Gov. Martinez in what has been a virtually uncontested gubernatorial contest.

Keith Breitbach was brought in from California in July to run the King effort after the first campaign manager resigned after only weeks on the job because of comments he had made on social media before he worked for King. Breitbach's departure was confirmed by other campaign staff.

Breitbach--like many Democrats--is frustrated by the state of the race and their inability to get through to King, a two term attorney general who is running the most underfunded Dem campaign in memory and doing it his way.

King reported having only $157,000 in cash at the end of August but says he will return $30,000 he received from two companies affiliated with a wealthy Florida businessman who is a convicted sex offender. Factor that in and you have Martinez, who is reporting $3.8 million in cash, holding a ridiculous cash advantage of 30 to 1.

King plunged to a rock bottom low of 36% in the Sunday ABQ Journal poll as Martinez grew to 54%. In the late August Journal survey Martinez was checked at 50% and King had 41%. Since then she has hammered him with negative TV ads that he has not answered.

King is like a cornered boxer getting pummeled, but he doesn't even seem to have the strength to put his hands up to cover his face.

The analysts, Alligators and pundits had Martinez trending toward a 53% win based on the August Journal poll. But now--unless King gets some smelling salts--she is approaching the 55% mark that GOP Guv Johnson scored in '98. And if you have a virtually uncontested media campaign in October we will be in uncharted waters with an historic win in the high 50's not out of question.

A King debacle could pose problems for the Dems as they work to avert a takeover of the state House by the Republicans--either through outright control or through a conservative coalition they could form if they pick up a couple of key seats. If Martinez puts King away early--and we're headed there--her campaign could then shift more resources to the House battle. Dems are praying now for more than an October surprise, they need a bombshell.

And the news may get worse for King before it gets better. His answers to a soon-to-be released ABQ Journal questionnaire on early childhood education and gun control are going to upset scores of liberal Dems, say our Alligators. It will be another foot to drop on a campaign that's getting kicked harder  than the bad guy in a Bruce Lee movie.


Dems immediately began bitching and moaning over the Journal poll conducted by longtime pollster Brian Sanderoff, asserting their own pollsters have the race much closer and besides, they claimed,  King's demise won't damage other Dem candidates.

They charged that Sanderoff's turnout model was too low and that he polled too many Anglos.  Of course, these are the same pollsters and consultants who have helped lead the state into the current era of GOP gubernatorial, legislative and ABQ mayoral dominance.

It's true that the ABQ Journal is in the tank for Martinez. That's no news flash, but Sanderoff has shot it down the middle for over thirty years and he comes with this convincing explanation of his latest survey:

For decades, non-presidential general elections in New Mexico have had much lower turnouts than presidential elections. In non-presidential elections the majority of voters are always over 50 years old. The 2010 General Election in New Mexico had a record turnout of votes cast for a non-presidential election. There were 3 heavy contested races that year.

Using 2010 as a turnout model is not conservative. In fact it is realistic if not slightly liberal since New Mexico will not achieve the same turnout rates in 2014 compared to 2010 since we do not have a lot of competitive races in which candidates on both sides of the aisle are evenly matched.

Also, now that Susana Martinez has pulled ahead among all age groups, even if we weighted the results more heavily toward young people the results would not change that dramatically.

The biggest reason to explain the difference in results between the Journal Poll and the NY Times/CBS News poll is that the NY Times poll (that showed Martinez beating King only 48% to 43%) is generated from a convenience sample of adults who opted into an Internet Panel while the Journal Poll is a random sample of proven voters in 2010 and 2012. Also the NY Times Poll had a starting field date of August 18, which was nearly a month ago, when Gary King had higher support levels.

The salient point is this: Gary King just got hit with hundreds of thousands of negative and unanswered TV ads and we're supposed to believe the spin from the handsomely paid DC pie-in-the-sky pollsters? That's fine for their paying clients who they don't want to upset, but not for the Alligators of La Politica.


Who knows if Martinez's negative TV ads are very good. She's shooting fish in a barrel as King stays dark. The whole thing is upside down.

For example, Martinez takes Attorney General King to task in this ad for revealing private emails that included personal bank statements and her underwear order. That's titillating, but the big story was not the underwear, it was the underhandedness that was disclosed. Those same batch of emails made known that the administration and her political operatives were conducting state government business via private email to keep their dealings secret--especially on the controversial lease for the ABQ Downs racino. A Senior Alligator picks it up from there:

I love how the discovery that Gov. Martinez and her political adviser Jay McCleskey were running a shadow government through private emails that was put in place to dodge public records laws has now been turned into the sanctity of the Governor's underwear orders. Only with the media dupes that we have in this state could you pull that off.

Yep, we was duped.


We blogged Friday that King and Martinez would have their first public encounter this Friday. Not so. That will happen Sept. 22 at the ABQ development group NAIOP. The pair will answer questions that they were given in advance. How's that for a tension filled face-off?

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