Monday, September 10, 2007

The Poll Hole: Numbers For Di & Marty, But None On Pete & Heather; What's A Junkie To Do? Plus: Trail Action With The Guv, And: My Monday Bottom Lines 

Political junkies in dire need of an approval ratings fix on GOP US Senator Pete Domenici and ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson, as well as how they are stacking up against potential '08 opponents, are going to suffer withdrawal symptoms a while longer. The first NM based public poll of the 2008 cycle is out, but it time travels to the year 2010 and the Democratic race for governor. It's like serving the dessert when we need red meat. One can only hope that the main course is in the oven, and will be served up before the junkies storm the kitchen. Meantime, we dine on the thin gruel of the Survey USA which at least tells us Pete is approved by 52%. There are no public Heather numbers, despite her near loss last year and the national headlines made by the US attorney scandal.

The early ABQ Journal poll, taken September 4 thru 6, is just fine with Light Guv Diane Denish who, the survey says, has opened up a 20 point lead over potential 2010 Dem primary challenger and ABQ Mayor Marty Chavez. It's Denish 50%, Chavez 30% and 20% undecided. You may question how useful a poll is nearly three years before the actual voting, but one thing is for sure--Di is not going to fire her pollsters. They told her in January her she had an 18 point lead over Marty. That calls into question speculation that Marty's problems with Di are due to recent city controversies.

The state's number two has raised well north of a million bucks for her far-in-the-future effort and any poll that puts her comfortably ahead is not going to hurt when it comes to raising more, but the political intelligentsia is not about to cement the deal on a race that faces so many variables. At least that's the hope of the Chavez camp where the spin is that the numbers are no surprise since he has only formed an "exploratory committee" and not officially announced his candidacy. They add that Denish is the recipient of uncritical press coverage, unlike His Honor who wracks up the negatives when the garbage isn't picked up on time.


Both candidates are well-known so the poll, taken among 407 registered Dems with a margin of error of + or -5%, shows only 20% of them undecided in a head-to-head contest. The poll indicates Chavez's main problems remain attracting more Hispanics and overcoming a glass ceiling seemingly imposed on him by ABQ area Dems who have supported him for mayor but recoil at the prospect of him becoming governor. Denish has to continue to form a deeper bond with Dems. How firm is that 20 point lead when it is challenged with negative attacks?

But will it be a Denish-Chavez match-up? What would a strong third or fourth entrant do to the polling numbers? That's just one of many questions unresolved at this early date. Another biggie is whether Denish will become Governor before '10 as Big Bill looks to advance himself nationally.

It's a no brainier that the political landscape is going to change over the next several years. Depending on the nature of that change, Denish could become even stronger or Chavez could get positioned. For Diane, the best advice is probably to not become giddily overconfident; for Marty it's not to become dangerously depressed.


In that effort to firm up Dem support, Denish plans on putting money where her mouth is. She is circulating a fund-raising letter asking for contributions to her political action committee that she says will "allow me to provide Democratic candidates with the support they need to win."

The PAC is called Progress, Vision and Commitment and would presumably target its support at Dem legislative candidates as well as the federal races.

The Light Guv is also firming up a friendship with a Governor. No, not Big Bill, but the Governor of Washington state, Christine Gregoire. She writes in an invite letter:

"...Governor Gregoire’s 2004 election was a very close race. Winning by only 129 votes after two vote recounts, Governor Gregoire was the victor in America’s closest gubernatorial election. In 2008,...we anticipate another tight race...I hope you will consider joining me for lunch on September 19th in Albuquerque in support of the Governor’s re-election. The lunch will be held at The Artichoke Café..."

Mayor Marty has also scheduled a fund-raiser--with boxer Holy Holm. With a 20 point deficit to overcome, he could use some fight tips from a pro.


That Journal poll shows most state Dems remain highly supportive of the Guv and that despite his various campaign gaffes, he wins solid performance ratings from the hometown D's. One of his biggest goofs dealt with gays, and he's trying to make up for it.

The liberal blog Daily Kos recently called the NM leader a "buffoon" because of his campaign miscues, but what other major Democratic candidate other than Big Bill agrees with the Kos crowd on the Iraq war? None. His recent op-ed piece in the Washington Post did not smack of buffoonery to those who want the no-end-in-sight-war to end.

The Guv took part last night in the Miami Dem Prez forum sponsored by Univision, the Spanish language TV network. Did he pander or make a good point when he said:

"I have always supported Univision throughout my career. But I am disappointed today that 43 million Latinos cannot hear one of their own speak Spanish."

As the first major Hispanic candidate to seek the Dem Prez nod, the Guv was given a warm welcome. Seen working the spin room for him was NM Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia. Also in spin alley was former NM Dem Attorney General Patricia Madrid. She wasn't there for Bill, but for her old friend John Edwards. Before the event Patsy said she should brush up on her Spanish by hanging out with her mom and dad who speak it "much better" than she does. The Madrids hail from Dona Ana county.


Roswell State Senator "Lightning" Rod Adair is still dealing with a confrontation with a constituent at the Roundhouse this past session. He's headed to court for a "settlement conference" with the offended party...And how about DinerCam? That's what this segment featuring Big Bill on the New Hampshire campaign trail is titled...Remember that controversy last year when US Rep Heather Wilson complained about her position in the NM State Fair parade? Well, this year she was apparently happy with her slot. She was spotted waving to the Saturday morning parade crowd from a lowrider. Does that make her a Valley girl?...

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