Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Insider Poll Shows Berry Retains High Approval With Most Likely ABQ Voters, More Debate On NM Prez Role And Rail Runner Draws Attention In The Hinterlands 

Among the narrow slice of the electorate that participates in ABQ elections it is smooth sailing for ABQ Mayor Richard Berry--very smooth sailing. That's the finding of a recent robo call poll to likely city voters. It shows the two term mayor retaining a favorable rating in the mid to high 50's.

That might surprise some as it comes against a backdrop of unprecedented city economic problems and the now infamous APD crisis. But you have to remember that participation in ABQ politics is at a nadir, with voter turnout plumbing historic lows when Berry was re-elected in 2013.  Still, the continued solid rating of Berry among the likeliest of voters---high income earners, older voters (over 50) and Anglos (64% of the poll)--is a warning to Democrats who have given the mayor a free ride. He may not come down unless they work to bring him down.

Few have stepped up to the plate. Combined with a dormant Democratic Party, a mostly quiescent city council, an ultra-friendly mainstream press and a mostly hands-off electronic media, Berry has been able to hold favorable ratings that are higher than would be expected in a city with many more Dems than R's.

(Independents, who tilt conservative in city elections, give Berry some of his strongest numbers in the robo poll).

The poll of over 700 likely city voters was conducted this month from the Dem side of the aisle and did not include cell phones. That means the poll tilts conservative. However, that reflects the turnout for city elections. Berry has said he will not seek a third mayoral term and is known to be eyeing the 2018 gubernatorial election.

His mayoral term expires in December '17 and the GOP Guv primary is in June of '18. This survey shows he remains viable within the nominating wing of the GOP--at least in ABQ.  His popularity among the broader electorate--like the one that turns out for a presidential election--would likely be lower.


With the national presidential race heating up the debate continues over getting New Mexico in on the action. Monday Dem Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said here that  the 2008 early presidential caucus in NM was an "unmitigated disaster" and it's best to leave our state out of the early action. Reader Mona Blaber comes with another view:

A counterpoint to Lynn Ellins’ comment. Although Bill Richardson might have had the long eye on his 2008 presidential run back in 2004, 2008 wasn’t New Mexico’s first February presidential caucus. The Democrats held a February caucus in 2004 as well, and it ran pretty smoothly, with results the same night.

It also infused lots of national money and attention into the state, with many candidate visits. And as you point out, it energized a lot of Democrats. The enthusiasm that Howard Dean’s run generated, along with the prospect of making a difference, activated a lot of people who are still involved in the state Democratic Party.

Republican Jeb Bush announced his prez candidacy Monday, raising the question of when he--like Hillary Clinton recently did--will drop in on NM to raise campaign cash. He last appeared here in March of '14 for a couple of fundraisers for Gov. Martinez. The NM prez primary is in June of '16, long after most pundits predict the nominations will have been decided.


Political humorist and satirist Ned Cantwell says opposition to the NM Spaceport and the Rail Runner is all relative:

. . .There is no doubt that unless your town is located near the I-25 corridor, you are not benefiting one iota from boondoggle spending. You give me a choo choo from Lincoln County to Albuquerque and I won't care what it costs. Like most Americans, I am offended only when others are the recipients of government largesse. Give me a train and I'll tell State Rep. Zach Cook he's the best thing to happen to Ruidoso since they invented horse racing. Tell Clovis that Spaceport America is moving to Curry County and see if those folks don't get interested in high-flying ideas.

Okay, Ned, but the best thing that has happened to Ruidoso isn't horse racing--it's how they've learned to pick the pockets of all those Texas tourists. And over in Curry County they have a big, fat federal budget for Cannon Air Force Base. We city slickers have nothing over you rural fellas.

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