Wednesday, May 26, 2010

OUR EXCLUSIVE POLL: Martinez Opens Up Double-Digit Lead Over Weh; It's 41 to 30, Plus: All Hispanic GOP Ticket? Sanchez Ahead In Lt. Gov Contest 

Susana Martinez has opened up a double-digit lead in the hard fought 2010 race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. That's the big news from a scientific poll commissioned for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan and conducted Tuesday night among likely state GOP primary voters.

Martinez out polls Allen Weh 41 percent to 30. Doug Turner places third with 9 followed by Pete Domenici Jr. at 8 percent and Janice Arnold-Jones with 4. Undecided is at 8 percent.

Perhaps the most telling number is Bernalillo County where about a third of the GOP primary vote will be cast. Martinez, the Dona Ana County district attorney, garners 40 percent to Weh's 28. That's nearly identical to the statewide results, showing that Martinez's candidacy has grown from a regional campaign when it started nine months ago to one with statewide appeal that has an excellent chance of prevailing on primary election day June 1.

We surveyed 771 likely primary voters by automatic phone calls with Dialing Services LLC of Roswell, making for a low margin of error of 3.53%. The results were scaled to reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the state. Republican Bruce Donisthorpe oversaw the survey. Complete crosstabs for the gubernatorial poll are posted here.

In her home county of Dona Ana Martinez runs up the score against Weh 61% to 16. She stops the retired Marine colonel 41 to 29 in Valencia. In Sandoval, she strikes again, scoring 45 to Weh's 31. Weh fights back on the East Side taking the win in Lea County 51 to 29 and also prevails in Curry with a 37 to 30 win. But Little Texas doesn't abandon the prosecutor. She runs the table in Chaves County with 61 percent to Weh's 29. And in Eddy it's Susana again with 28 to Allen's 24. Doug Turner makes a cameo appearance in Eddy, polling at 20 percent.

In the Four Corners where heavy GOP San Juan County is always a battleground for a GOP primary, Martinez takes it 48 to 35. Over to the highly educated precincts of Los Alamos County the dueling duo fight to a tie both scoring 42 percent. Doug Turner again makes an appearance coming with a respectable 17. Pete Domenici, whose retired US Senator father brought billions in federal funding to Los Alamos Labs, does not even show up on Los Alamos radar.


Clearly, this race has broken open since the ABQ Journal poll released May 16 showed Weh leading Martinez 31 to 30. Looking back, the same day that poll so favorable to Martinez was released, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin flew to ABQ to endorse the DA. The next day the Martinez camp came with an ad accusing Weh of being soft on amnesty for illegal immigrants. This was a one-two punch, plus one, that sent the wealthy businessman reeling, and this poll shows he is still staggering around the ring.

Weh came with the centerpiece of his anti-Martinez campaign the day after she unveiled that immigration ad. But the integrity of Weh's ad became the focus when state GOP Chair Harvey Yates condemned it for its "dishonesty." Weh hit back, saying Yates was trying to "anoint" a nominee, but at the same time he has had to do damage control on the illegal immigration issue.

How much damage is the amnesty charge doing to Weh, the 67 year old former state GOP chairman? Plenty. Among voters who cite illegal immigration as their top concern Martinez is crushing him 47 to 28 percent.

The issue ranks third in importance among the GOP voters we surveyed. Corruption ranks first. Martinez beats Weh among those Republicans, but not nearly as much--39 to 37 percent. That's proof positive that the immigration issue is the primary reason this race is breaking her way.

Allen Weh is not unaware of the damage being done. Tuesday he had former top White House Bush advisor Karl Rove do a robo call into the state that declared Weh is as "tough as nails" on illegal immigration and does not favor amnesty.

Martinez, 50, leads Weh in all age groups. Ominously, that includes those voters over 65 where Weh's is thought to have his most solid backing. With those seniors Martinez is winning 42 to 33.

Predictably, among Hispanics Martinez sails past Weh 62 to 20 and she beats him with Anglo voters 40 to 32. Martinez leads among men and Weh has a narrow lead among women.

Weh has provided the lifeblood of his campaign---at least $1 million in personal funds--but despite having the money advantage he appears to have hit the wall at that 30 percent mark.

Weh's latest ad attacks Martinez's record prosecuting DWI cases. For her part, Martinez continues to pound Weh on illegal immigration, but she is starting to mix in a positive close on one of her ads, a sign that she is comfortable with her standing. And in another sign of confidence (overconfidence?), she sent out a news release Tuesday criticizing the record of certain Dem Guv nominee Diane Denish on corruption. Weh also focused on Denish earlier in the campaign when he seemed to hold a healthy lead.


We could be headed for an all Hispanic Republican gubernatorial ticket for the first time in modern history. According to our Tuesday night survey, John Sanchez, an ABQ roofing contractor who was the 2002 GOP Guv nominee, holds a lead over ABQ state Senator Kent Cravens and former Clayton state Rep. Brian Moore. Sanchez polls 33 percent; Cravens 27 and Moore 20 and undecided 21.

Cravens leads Bernalillo County 42 to 34 over Sanchez. But the other big GOP counties, including Chaves, San Juan and Dona Ana are all tilting toward Sanchez. The metro area has the smallest number of undecided of the state's regions. That means Cravens would have to make gains from outside his comfort zone to threaten Sanchez.

Cravens is a popular senator who has relied mainly on radio and mail to get his message out. Sanchez has made a heavy TV buy and Moore has also stepped up his TV advertising in recent days. If Cravens were to come with a more high-profile campaign in the closing days, there could be an upset. For now, this survey says start putting together the Martinez-Sanchez posters.

Our poll was made possible by advertising support of Dan Serrano & Sons Constructors.

More campaign coverage as we meet up on the trail with KOB-TV's Stuart Dyson and talk about all those negative ads.


We also polled the two way GOP race for state land commissioner. Matt Rush of the Portales area appears poised for a victory over Tatum's Bob Cornelius next Tuesday. Rush was supported by 37 percent of those polled, with Cornelius getting 20. Undecided is 43 percent.


Here's a good Election Day deal from one of our sponsors. Amici restaurant at 4243 Montgomery NE is offering a 20 percent discount on their menu selections all day Tuesday, June 1--Primary Day. All You have to do is mention that you heard about the discount on this blog or drop the name of Dan Silva, the former state representative who co-owns the popular Italian eatery. Dan adds that in addition to the discount, Amici will also provide free delivery on June 1 to candidates campaign headquarters or your own Election Night party. So make your plans today (884-9900).

Amici is open from 11 a.m until 9 p.m. Buon Appetito!


One of the Legal Beagles checks in with the list of attorneys sent to Governor Richardson to fill the vacancy of ABQ Metro Court Judge Anna Martinez. They are:

Christina P. Argyres, Robert J. Baca, M. Martha Chicoski, Yvette K. Gonzales, & Gina R. Manfredi

An earlier version of this story said the vacancy being filled was that of Judge Victoria Grant. Replacement names for that position have not yet been selected.


We're glad to bring you our traditional election coverage for Primary 2010. We'll have our pre-game show Monday, May 31 at 5 p.m. on KANW 89.1 FM where we have called every statewide NM election since 1988.

The pre-game show guests are: Republicans Larry Larranaga and Greg Payne. They'll be joined by former NM Democratic Party Chairman John Wertheim.

That trio will be back with us Election Night beginning at 6:30 p.m for our traditional wall-to-wall coverage featuring early results from key precincts.

So be sure to join us for all the action by either tuning in to KANW or listening to the stream here.

Our election coverage is made possible in part by Serrano and Sons Constructors.

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