Thursday, November 07, 2013

Our Exclusive Poll: Pro Choice Voters Poised To Carry Day; Ban On Late Term Abortions Is Sinking, Plus: Gibson Ahead Of Arnold Jones In Heated City Council Contest, Also: Clear Leader In Santa Fe Mayor's Race Emerges 

Pro-choice Albuquerqueans are on the cusp of a major victory and city Democrats have a good shot at taking over the city council in the November 19 election.

Those are the findings of an exclusive, scientific poll conducted Wednesday night for New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan.

The survey shows the proposal to ban late term abortions stands a very good chance of being defeated. 56.3% percent of likely city voters opposed the proposed ordinance, 37.4% support and 6.4% are undecided.

In the lone City Council race on the ballot--the one that will decide whether Democrats or Republicans control the council--Republican Janice Arnold-Jones is in a tough contest to keep the seat she was appointed to by Mayor Berry to fill a council vacancy. Democrat Diane Gibson commands 47.7 percent to 42.3 percent for Arnold-Jones. 10.4 percent were undecided.

Gibson is being helped considerably by pro-choice voters who are coming out to defeat the abortion proposal which Gibson opposes and Arnold Jones supports.

Abortion opponents forced the controversial measure on the ballot by gathering some 27,000 petition signatures. But they are being heavily outspent by the pro-choice forces who have TV ads up and running. There have been no TV ads in support of the ordinance which would ban just about all abortions in ABQ after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Bruce Donisthorpe of BWD Global who conducted this survey of 423 likely voters and who has conducted many highly accurate surveys for us offered this analysis:

The TV spots have energized the pro-choice vote in this campaign, particularly since the pro-life side has let that advertising go unanswered. The Republicans are much more split on this issue because Republican men are favoring the pro-choice side at higher levels than we've polled before--47% to 43% oppose. Republican women support the ban 57% to 37%. As expected, Democratic women staunchly oppose the amendment as do independent women. That Republican men are so split  accounts for the opponents winning over 50% in this poll. This is the exception to the rule that Republicans march in lockstep on all of the social issues.

Donisthorpe continued:

Democrats oppose the measure by a 70% to 25% margin. Republicans support it 51% to 42%. Given that Democrats have more voters than Republicans in the city, that accounts for the 19 point spread. 50% of the independents in our poll are against the abortion ban, while 41% support it.

This issue has brought out a pro-choice voting block that did not take part in the October 8 mayoral election. This is a much more Democratic group. Now we know why the Mayor and the Republican controlled city council moved heaven and earth to keep this referendum off the October 8 ballot.

The polling memo on the abortion question--with demographics--is here. (We polled citywide. Dems made up 48%, R's 41% and independents 11%.


Gibson & Arnold-Jones
Now to that hot city council run-off election between Dem Diane Gibson and Republican Janice Arnold-Jones. Said Donisthorpe:

Each candidate has locked down the vote in their respective parties, but the problem for Arnold-Jones is the 15 point registration edge the Democrats have in the district. Our pre-October 8 elections survey found Arnold-Jones capturing 30% of the Democratic vote. This survey shows her Democratic support has eroded to 15%.

Arnold-Jones was forced into a run-off with Democratic Diane Gibson when she scored 49% of the vote in the October 8 election, one point shy of the 50 percent needed to avoid this run off election.

Democratic voters surveyed preferred Gibson by a 75 to 15% margin, while Republicans favored Arnold-Jones by a 77 to 14 margin. Independent voters favored Arnold Jones 52% to 34%.

Donisthorpe had this analysis:

The abortion referendum is driving Gibson's support in this district as referendum foes have almost a 20 point lead in the district. In the September poll, supporters of the referendum had a narrow lead in this district, That shows how the electorate has changed from October 8 when Democratic turnout was depressed to today when it is more energized.

Gibson has the advantage going into the final two weeks, given her support from pro-choice voters and the unity of the Democrats behind her candidacy. Gibson has practically doubled her Democratic support from her last survey.

Gibson is also benefiting from the absence of Matt Biggs, a Democrat who finished third in the October 8 balloting, Also, Democratic members of the congressional delegation have all endorsed Gibson.

If Gibson were to win, the city council would flip, with Democrats having a 5 to 4 majority. Republican Mayor Berry has had a GOP controlled council during his first four years in office.

The District 7 council seat is composed of the middle Northeast Heights and the Uptown area.

The margin of error for the survey is 4.7% on the abortion question and 4.2% in the city council poll. We surveyed 528 likely voters for the council contest and 423 on the citywide poll.

In Dist. 7, the poll was 51% Dems, 35% Republicans and 14% independents. Here is Donisthorpe's polling memo for the Nov. 6 poll.


Patty Bushee
Expect the long knives to come out very soon for Santa Fe mayoral candidate Patty Bushee. The question is whether those knives will be sharp enough to take down the longtime city councilor who is now established as the clear frontrunner for the March election

A poll commissioned by the liberal advocacy group ProgressNowNM shows Bushee taking control of the five way battle with 24% of the vote. Former NM Democratic Party Chairman Javier Gonzales, a onetime Santa Fe County Commissioner, is struggling. He comes in second, but with only 11%. Candidate Bill Dimas also polled at 11%. City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger received 8% and 7% went for Roman "Tiger" Abeyta.  Undecided was at 39%.

Bushee has tried for the mayor's post before and come up short, but this poll is sure to buoy her supporters and give her sought after momentum as the candidates break from the starting gate and start to spend their campaign cash.

The poll was conducted by Third Eye Strategies in Virginia which has conducted surveys here in the past. Longtime NM pollster Brian Sanderoff says it was skewed toward Anglo, educated voters and that may be boosting Bushee's numbers some. However, Anglo voters, according to our pollster Bruce Donisthorpe, will compromise a majority of the electorate for this mayor's race.

The five hopefuls are vying to replace Mayor David Coss who served eight years.

There is little question in the Santa Fe political community that Gonzales is struggling. Two other polls conducted in this race not publicly released but which we have seen--show Bushee with similar commanding leads.

Bushee and Gonzales are both openly gay in a city that has one of the highest gay populations per capita in the USA. It is a sizable voting bloc. However, unlike Bushee, Gonzales has only recently announced his sexual preference. If either were elected they would become the first openly gay mayor of Santa Fe.

This poll shows the undecided vote at 39%, higher than the other surveys we've seen. That's plenty of room (and time) for movement. In other words, Bushee will be well-advised to follow that age old wisdom: Watch Your Back.


Some free advice for ABQ Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks today--leave the Tweeting to the bloggers and humorists. The news:

{Pubic Education Secretary-designate Hanna} Skandera was answering questions at a town hall meeting in Moriarty Tuesday. Brooks reached out to a news reporter on Twitter to inquire about what was going on. For example, he asked how many people were at the meeting.

Eventually he penned, “Maybe Skandy should head for the livestock truck!!!”

The following tweet read, “Moo, moo, oink, oink!!”

Brooks has been subjected to a harsh public bashing in the city's mailboxes by the dark money group NM Competes. No doubt it has raised his temperature. But tweeting and twittering--by its very name--encourages rogue behavior. It can be fun when you're not a government employee.

We once challenged former BernCo Sheriff Darren White to a duel on Twitter and he proposed some kind of cage fight. We're still in training for that and if we win I think we get fifty free pulls on a Downs at ABQ slot machine. But for Brooks--who rightly apologized for his over-the-top remarks about Hanna--and other community leaders, tacky tweeting won't be tolerated. Back in your cages, everyone.


Governor Martinez was quick to jump on the Brooks remarks, calling them disrespectful and not the way to set an example for school children. Agreed. But we don't recall the Governor disciplining her chief of staff when he was caught on tape calling the then Senate President Pro Tem "a cocksucking son of a bitch." That's not a very good example, either.

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