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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Death Penalty Already In The Campaign Mailboxes, And: Another Poll Shows Guv's Approval Rating Plummeting; Clinton Winning NM And Oliver Beating Espinoza 

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With the special session about to end and the campaigns going into the final stretch, get ready for plenty of mailers like this one. It scorches Jeff Steinborn, the Dem state rep seeking to unseat GOP State Senator Lee Cotter in  Las Cruces.

Steinborn is slammed for being against reinstating the state's death penalty for cop and child killers. Cotter, an underdog in the race to win a second term, is already pulling out the emotional stops to stop him.

Dems complain the Governor politicized the special session by adding crime bills like the death penalty to the session which was called to deal with the state budget crisis. Martinez said the crime issues are too urgent to wait three months until the regular January legislative session.

Despite the rancor over the crime bills and the heavy hits they will generate against the Dems from the Guv's political machine, we rank the odds of the Dems maintaining control of the chamber at 80 percent. There do not appear to be enough seats in play for the R's to make a major move. And they will likely lose the Cotter seat to Steinborn, putting their goal even farther out of reach.

And despite a sure death in the Senate, the House early Thursday morning approved a reinstatement of the death penalty:

The state House spent all night debating the death penalty, voting after five hours to reinstate capital punishment, which New Mexico abolished in 2009. The vote was 36-30, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. It came on the seventh day of a special legislative session called to address the state’s budget crisis, and over the objections of Democrats who said it was being pushed for political reasons.

As for the portion of the special session dealing with the budget crisis, here's the latest:

The House this morning finished voting on the last of its budget-balancing plans and recessed until later today, when the Senate is scheduled to return to the Capitol and the Legislature is expected to wrap up the special session that started last week. The House approved on a 43-22 vote Senate Bill 2, a $316 million package to help the state become solvent.

It includes the authorization to use $131 million from a tobacco settlement fund to plug the budget deficit for the just-ended fiscal year, provides another $88.4 million from the same fund to bolster reserves for the current year, and sweeps about $96.6 million from various state government funds into the general fund.

A SECOND POLL

The legislative budget debate came against the backdrop of another poll showing Gov. Martinez with plummeting public approval ratings. A SurveyUSA poll conducted for KOB-TV gives Martinez a job approval among voters of only 36 percent, a new low for her and only three points away from the final approval rating of 33% that Gov. Richardson finished with.

The full SurveyUSA poll, including Martinez's approval rating, is not posted on the TV station's site. It can be found here.

The SurveyUSA poll uses automatic phone calls, not in-person calls as the ABQ Journal poll does and whose poll conducted last week gave Martinez a job approval rating of 42 percent.

In the presidential race, SurveyUSA also differs with the Journal Research and Polling Survey, giving Clinton 46 percent in NM with Donald Trump at 33%, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson at 14% and Green Party nominee Jill Stein getting 2%.

The Journal had Johnson garnering a big 24 percent among likely voters. Clinton scored 35% and Trump 31%. Both polls were conducted last week, following the Monday presidential debate. But the Journal poll may not have fully picked up one one of the major mishaps that befell the Johnson campaign last week. The SurveyUSA number seems more realistic.

We rate the NM presidential race "likely Clinton."

In the Secretary of State's race between Dem Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Republican Nora Espinoza, Oliver overwhelms Espinoza 54% to 34%. The approval rating of Dem US Senator Martin Heinrich was 46% with 28% disapproving. Dem US Sen. Tom Udall had an approval rating of 53% with 29% disapproving.

WHY GIVE?

Why should anyone give money to the re-election campaigns of the state's three incumbent US House reps? After all, Dems Michelle Lujan Graham and Ben Ray Lujan and Republican Steve Pearce face only token opposition this November. None of their opponents are getting the national funding that is necessary to oust an incumbent. And that brings us to this reader, a frequent campaign contributor:

Candidates (including Ben Ray and Michelle) whose opponents barely have a pulse and even those who are unopposed are raising money as if they had a competitor. Many donors are finally deciding that we have to be more discerning and give where we can make a difference in more competitive races. 

And then there are those "haven't got the message yet" ABQ mayoral candidates who are planning to start wearing us out on November 9 if they haven't already. I'm going to be for the candidate who waits until after January 1 to start pounding on me.

And pound they will.

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2016
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