Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day 2014: Our Wall-To-Wall Radio Coverage Starts At 6:30 PM, Final Polling Shows No Surprises, Top Pollster Talks Turnout And Key Races For Control Of State House 

We'll close out Campaign '14 with you tonight on KANW 89.1 FM in ABQ and on kanw.com. We start at 6:30 with our wall-to-wall coverage and top experts. We'll be on the battle for control of the state House like white on rice as well as everything else at stake. With over 80 items on the Bernalillo County ballot, there will be plenty to keep us busy as we work to inform and entertain you. . .

The final round of polling in New Mexico's banner races this year delivers no change in the lopsided races for Governor and US Senate and that's contributing to what appears to be shaping up as a pretty low turnout for Election '14.

In a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KOB-TV Gov. Martinez leads Dem Gary King 56%-38% with 6% undecided. An October 21 poll conducted for NM Politics with Joe Monahan by BWD Global had the race in similar territory--Martinez had 56.2% and King 37.4%. Unless there is divine intervention, the question tonight will be whether Martinez can breach the 55% mark and post the largest win by a GOP Governor candidate in state history. The poll was conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 2 and sampled 633 registered voters. . .

Gov. Martinez spent her final day of the campaign mining for votes in Dona Ana County where she was a longtime district attorney before assuming the office of Governor. King, trying to make something happen, headed to the heavy Democratic North for the final day of the campaign. . .

In the past we've seen weather interfere with Election Day turnout in the North. That won't be a problem this year, says KOB-TV meteorologist Jorge Torres. He says in his Election Day forecast that high temps will be in the 50 degree area for most of the region and no rain or snow will fall. That is not as important for the King-Martinez race which appears closed out, but matters mightily to down ballot Dem candidates like Maggie Toulouse Oliver who is running a tight race against GOP secretary of state Dianna Duran. . .

In the US Senate race SurveyUSA has it 52% for Dem Senator Tom Udall and 39% for Republican Allen Weh. . .

In his final ranking Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball labels the Guv derby here "safe Republican" and the Senate clash "safe Democratic."

On our KANW 89.1 FM Election Eve special our panelists were unanimous that Martinez and Udall would win. . .

Here's something new. The state Democratic party will stream its Election Night party. You can watch the celebration--or the mourning--by pasting this web address in your browser-- http://new.livestream.com/accounts/8277268/events/3544389/. The party will be held at the downtown ABQ Doubletree hotel.

Republicans--including Gov. Martinez--will be partying at ABQ's Marriott in Uptown ABQ.


On the turnout front the King campaign reported that the secretary of state's office told it that there were about 262,000 total early and absentee votes cast. There are another 17,000 absentee ballots still out there that could be voted today, but probably only about half will end up being sent in. . .

We asked vetearn NM pollster Brian Sanderoff how much of the vote can be expected to be cast early and how much today? He replied:

It's hard to say for sure. One of the biggest factors that influences the percentage of early/absentee votes cast, as a proportion of total votes cast, is the level of enthusiasm that the top races garner. The more enthusiasm, the higher the proportion of early/absentee votes compared to election day vote. 

For example the 2008 presidential election was a landmark year for enthusiasm and 62% voted before election day. In 2012, during Obama's reelection, enthusiasm had waned and only 59% of the total votes cast were cast prior to election day. In the most recent gubernatorial election, in 2010, 49% of the total votes cast were prior to election day. I think the current election is most similar to 2010. Plus, I don't see a great turnout on election day, so my guess is 50%.

So if that 262,000 early vote total is accurate and we take it to 272,000 by including 10,000 outstanding  absentees, we would be headed for a total turnout of about 544,000 based on Sanderoff's projection.

Dems are hoping that the percentage of voters casting ballots today ends up being more than the 50% Sanderoff predicted as more Dems than R's vote on the actual election day. Former ABQ City Councilor Miguel Gomez is among them. He told our KANW-FM radio audience that he is bearish on turnout, but is hoping for it to hit 580,000.

We had about 608,000 votes cast in 2010. A turnout of 544,000 would be a drop of about 10%. That could be significant as even fewer votes are cast in the down ballot races where R's are showing some unusual strength. . .


As for the battle for control of the NM House where Dems hold a 37 to 33 advantage, our expert panel said much of it will come down to the two hot contests in Bernalillo County.

In District 15 in the ABQ North Valley/NE Heights, freshman Dem State Rep. Emily Kane is trying to stave off a stiff challenge from Republican Sarah Maestas Barnes. Late insider polling showed Kane with a slim lead. This could be a photo finish.

In House District 24 in the NE Heights Dems are worried that freshman Dem Rep. Elizabeth Thomson could fall to Republican Conrad James. She ejected him from the seat two years ago by a narrow margin in the high turnout presidential voting year of 2012. The lower voter turnout is giving Thomson's headaches this year. Late insider polling shows James in the lead. It's another key race to watch with us tonight on the radio. See you then.

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