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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Exclusive: Bad Night Coming For Bernie? Poll Shows Clinton Leads Sanders In NM; She's Getting 53%; Big Showing Among Hispanics Propels Her, Plus: Latest APD Mishap Reignites Criticism Of Mayor  

It appears there will be no break for Bernie in the Land of Enchantment come primary election night.

A statewide poll conducted May 25 and 26 by BWD Global and released exclusively to New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan shows Hillary Clinton beating Sen. Sanders 53 percent to 28 percent with 19 percent undecided.

The full poll with cross tabs and polling memo is here.

This is the only recent scientific survey of the June 7 NM Democratic presidential contest that has been released to the public, but given the Clintons long association with the state the results are not out of the ordinary. Back in February a newspaper poll had Clinton beating Sanders 47% to 33%.

There is a caveat. BWD Global's Bruce Donisthorpe, a veteran Republican pollster and strategist who in the past has conducted many highly accurate polls for this website, says the Sanders number is probably abnormally low. He writes:

Since many of Sanders’ voters are “off-the-grid” we fully expect Bernie to close the gap on election day as many of his voters are hard to contact via our polling methods and challenges involved in automatic dialing. We plan to use cell phone calling in the general election cycle. Hillary Clinton started this campaign with better name recognition than her opponent and that has helped her campaign numbers in our survey.

Still, Donisthorpe says Clinton appears to be trending toward a mid-50's finish election night.

Clinton's dominance in this poll is across the board, although her smallest geographic lead is in the ABQ metro where Sanders flexes his muscle most. Clinton leads Sanders in the metro area 51-38; in the heavy Hispanic North she wins 64 to 29; in Dona Ana County and environs she claims 57% with Sanders polling at 29 percent. Only on the conservative East Side side does she falter, garnering only 40 percent support but Sanders gets just 16, indicating that Dems there are not excited about either competitor. 

Statewide she crushes Sanders with Hispanic voters who make up as much as 50% of the vote cast in a Democratic primary. She trounces Sanders 61% to 21% among Hispanics, again exposing the Achilles Heel of the Sanders candidacy here and nationally. 

Not surprisingly the woman who wants to be the first female president leads among them 57 to 27. Interestingly, she garners the same level of support among men--57%--with Sanders getting 29 percent.

Hispanic support is offsetting some Clinton weakness among Anglos. Among them the race is closer with Clinton taking the group 45 to 37.

There is little for the Vermont senator to celebrate in the survey. Even progressives--his base vote--favors Clinton here 63 %to 32%. Clinton has led nationally among seniors and New Mexico is no exception as she waxes Sanders 59% to 25% among voters aged 50 and over. Sanders has been strong with young voters. In this survey, Donisthorpe says:

Younger categories are better for Sanders, but based on respondents with a track record of voting in presidential primaries, Clinton still has the lead on our survey of 48%-38% among 18-34’s and 49%-35% among 35-49’s.

Again, the survey used all landlines and that may mean Sanders could be performing better with this group as he has around the nation.

The poll was paid for by BWD Global and conducted after a three stop Sanders swing through the state, including a May 20 rally in ABQ that drew 7,000. Hillary Clinton made no appearances here but she did send former President Bill Clinton to the state last week for a two day visit.

(The poll was not commissioned by GOAL WestPAC as previously reported but was done by BWD Global which does do polling for that PAC).

DELEGATE CHASE

Critics of Sanders now say he is running a symbolic campaign with a nearly impossible path to upset the former first lady, US senator and secretary of state:

Clinton currently claims 1,769 pledged delegates and 541 “super delegates” or party officials, leaving her within easy hailing distance of the 2,383 delegates needed to secure the nomination. Sanders, by contrast, has garnered 1,499 pledged delegates but only 43 super delegates from states where he performed well in primaries and caucuses.

The good news for Sanders is that the 34 pledged NM delegates to the July national convention where the presidential nomination will be decided are awarded proportionally. It takes only 15% of the vote statewide to win delegates. And if a candidate gets 15% in  any of the state's three congressional districts they also win delegates. The poll indicates Sanders will easily cross those thresholds.

The state also sends nine "superdelegates" to the convention who are not bound by the primary results. Only two of the nine remain neutral with the other 7 backing Clinton. The chair and vice-chair of the Dem Party stay neutral as the primary process continues. 

The poll was conducted for Goal WestPAC by BWD Global, the polling and communications strategy firm run by Donisthorpe. This cycle he has polled for both Republicans and Democrats as well as various interest groups.

The survey has a very low margin of error of only plus or minus 2.5 percent. That's because it polled 1,455 likely voters statewide. The poll was conducted by automatic phone calls to landlines on the evenings of May 25 and 26.

ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE

We're now just a week away from the primary election so we're busy preparing our Election Night broadcast for you that will again air on ABQ public radio station KANW 89.1 FM and kanw.com. It's our 28th consecutive year of anchoring election coverage there.

Among those we will be welcoming to the microphones this year will be pollster Donisthorpe and former state represenative and BernCo County Commissioner Lenton Malry. Our coverage kicks of at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday so plan on joining us. We'll have more on the program in the days ahead. 

BERRY'S APD

Critics are again blasting Mayor Berry for failing to take more command of his police deapartment and clean it up. His deflection of the latest outrage--APD undercover cops selling drugs to the homeless and drug addicts and then arresting them--is yet another signal that little headway is being made in denting the culture there despite federal oversight. The story was broken first by the ABQ Free Press.

In a statement seemingly aimed at absolving himself of any responsibility for running the department, Berry says "someone"at the police department thought it was a good idea. It's an idea that in light of widespread criticism APD is now walking back.  The "reverse sting" operations on the homeless were so over the top that even the somnolent city council condemned the program.

The failed leadership of the Mayor and City Council, the mostly go along media, the see no evil business community and a public exhausted by the years-long incompetence have made for a perfect storm. Thus we get a police department absurdly targeting the most forlorn and defenseless segment of society and again demonstrating a broken culture that has cops leaving and the city begging for replacements to staff the now dangerously low staffed agency.

DINELLI'S AXE

Sure, you can say that former Councilor Pete Dinelli has an axe to grind since Berry beat him when Berry sought re-election in 2013, but in his new role as a self-styled watchdog of city government, the attorney and Democrat, is saying what you would expect to hear from the current council:

This drug sting operation is a pathetic use of scare police resources that has absolutely no impact on crime. APD has 850 sworn police officers. Only 404 to 420 of them are in field services, spread out over 3 shifts, handling and responding to 69,000 Priority One calls per year. Those calls include rape, murder and  armed robberies. This reverse sting operation probably cost the city thousands of dollars in order to arrest 7 low level street drug users that were probably more dangerous to themselves than the public. Until APD command staff develops better plans to target and go after major drug dealers, the entire narcotics unit needs to be ordered back into uniform and assigned to patrolling our streets. Allowing sworn officers to sell or manufacture drugs out of the APD’s evidence room to entrap low level drug users gets us nowhere in reducing crime.

Can someone on the city council say exactly that? Don't worry, Councilors, no one will accuse you of plagiarism.

THE BOTTOM LINES

ABQ Dem State Rep. Christine Trujillo responds to the charge leveled against her by Chris Berkheimer, her Dem primary opponent, that she has missed many votes in the state House:

I double-checked with the House floor officials and they told me that in the last 30-day session, 45 floor sessions were held in which roll call was taken. I had two excused absences. There were some votes that I may have missed but those were due to my being in committee hearings where presentations were long and we had to be in committee for committee votes. I don’t take my role in the legislature lightly. I made a commitment to do the work and I do it.

And ABQ Dem State Rep. Andres Romero says he was another elected official--in addition to ABQ state Sentors McSorley and Ortiz y Pino--who attended the Bernie Sanders ABQ rally on May 20:

Also, Joe, in a previous blog about the opening of the Albuquerque Sanders office you had neglected to mention that I also spoke in support of Bernie Sanders for President.

We blogged that we had not seen any elected officials at the Sanders rally.

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