Sunday, September 27, 2009

Journal Mayor Poll: It's Berry, Berry Good; RJ Surprises Marty 31% to 26%; Romero In With 24%; Undecided is 19% 

An old-fashioned surprise has lifted the ABQ mayor's race to must-viewing status for the final week. The ABQ Journal poll hit the streets Sunday, catching just about all the pundits and prognosticators with their pants down, but injecting a level of excitement not previously seen in the race that ends October 6. At least the first round ends then. The odds that no candidate will reach the required 40%, forcing a November 24 run-off election between the top two contenders is high, if the September 22-24 survey of 406 likely voters has it right.

RJ Berry tops the poll with 31 percent, the result of strength among Republicans and independents. Mayor Marty Chavez came with a number that simply stunned the political community--26 percent. That is well below the 35 percent considered the three term mayor's base vote. The other Dem in the race, Richard Romero, is just two points behind the mayor, garnering 24 percent and undecided is at 19 percent. The margin of error for the survey is + or - 5 percent.

Veteran pollster Brian Sanderoff says the battering Chavez, 57, has been getting on the right from Berry and on the left from Romero has taken its toll. But this was one of the most surprising surveys in Sanderoff's decades-long career. From the paper:

Berry's advantage over an incumbent mayor who seemed to have satisfied most voters over the past four years was surprising, Sanderoff said. "I don't think anyone doubted Martin Chávez had a large lead a month ago," Sanderoff said. "What it comes down to is Richard Berry and Richard Romero have focused their criticism on Chávez and this has taken its toll."

No one is out of this one. Get ready for a wild and wacky week of ABQ politics and for an exciting night of election returns Oct. 6 when we take to the airwaves of KANW 89.1 FM. Meanwhile, take a look at that poll and join us for more on Monday.

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