A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
November 22, 2007
A new SurveyUSA poll on the New Mexico U.S. Senate race, performed on behalf of KOB-TV, confirms results of some other polls that have floated around in recent days.
Basically, U.S. Rep. Tom Udall is ahead of everyone in both the Democratic primary (where he has a near 2-to-1 edge over Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez) and the general election (where he’s leading Republican Reps. Heather Wilson by 15 points and Steve Pearce by 14 points.)
In the GOP primary, according to this poll, Wilson beats Pearce by 19 points. In a general election matchup, Wilson is ahead of Chávez by only 1 point. Pearce would defeat Chávez by 10 percentage points.
Where it gets fun is when you look at the demographic groups supporting the various candidates. In the Republican primary, Wilson is beating Pearce among Republicans who call themselves conservatives and those who call themselves moderate.
But here’s the surprise: Pearce — the man from Hobbs who has perfect or near-perfect ratings from a wide spectrum of conservative interest groups — is mopping up the earth with the more moderate Wilson among Republicans who identify themselves as liberals. He’s winning the liberal wing of the state GOP 70-18 percent.
One has to wonder: How many times did they call Dave Cargo?
But seriously, only 4 percent of the 500-plus New Mexico Republicans interviewed by SurveyUSA called themselves liberal.
On the Democratic side, Udall is ahead of Chávez in every demographic group except voters between the ages of 18 and 34. There, Chávez has a 4-point advantage. Maybe it’s all that fancy Internet stuff Chávez has been doing, such as his recent online town hall.
Udall has a 1-point lead among Hispanics.
The automated poll was conducted last weekend. A total of 1,737 registered voters were called. The margin of error was 2.5 percent in the general election questions, 4 percent in the Democratic primary questions and 4.4 percent in the Republican primary questions.
Meanwhile, back in Iowa: The ABC News/Washington Post poll of Iowa voters caused a stir this week — mainly because it had Sen. Barack Obama edging out front-runner, Sen. Hillary Clinton, for the first time.
Gov. Bill Richardson is in a distant fourth place, behind Sen. John Edwards. As in other recent Iowa polls, Richardson is returning to low double digits (11 percent here) after slipping for several weeks.
But again, the real fun is in the breakdown of the numbers.
There’s one issue in which the 500 likely Democratic caucus-goers polled say Richardson is the best qualified: immigration. A full quarter of those polled say Richardson is the best candidate on this issue. Obama comes in second with 22 percent.
Unfortunately for Richardson, only 2 percent of the Democrats surveyed said immigration is the most important issue. The most important issue for Democrats, according to the poll, is Iraq, which got 33 percent. Only 15 percent said Richardson is the best candidate on this issue.
Richardson tied for second with Edwards on the question of which candidate had the best experience. They each got 16 percent. However, Clinton led this question with 38 percent of those polled.
While newspaper and magazine profiles about Richardson almost inevitably mention the fact he holds the world’s hand-shaking record, this poll shows Richardson should be shaking more hands in Iowa.
Thirty-three percent of Democrats polled said they’d met one of their party’s 2008 candidates. But of those, only 22 percent said they’d met Richardson. Again, he’s in fourth place in this category. The leader here is Obama. More than half of those who said they’d met a candidate said they’d met the Illinois senator.
Birthday boy: Richardson undoubtedly shook lots of hands last Friday at a birthday party thrown for him by Andrew and Sydney Davis in Santa Fe. (His actual birthday was the day before, but he was busy that night at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nev.)
According to those who were there, the place was crowded with politicians, government officials and a couple of Hollywood types, including producer Taylor Hackford and Scottish actor Gerard Butler.
Also spotted were Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, state Democratic Chairman Brian Colon, congressional candidate Don Wiviott and state House contender Brian Egolf.
Tom Udall was there — and was acknowledged by the birthday boy. But apparently not Marty Chávez. Could that have any political significance?
The Davises are best known for building a 26,000-square-foot residential complex on a hill overlooking Hyde Park Road. The mansion is still under construction, so the party was held at their current Santa Fe home. Andrew Davis is known to be a generous contributor to state and local Democrats. However, a check of federal election records shows he’s contributed not only to Richardson’s presidential campaign this year, but also to Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Guiliani.
I smell a rat!: While enjoying the aroma of your turkey and pumpkin pie on this Thanksgiving day, say a little prayer for the workers at the state Child Support Enforcement field office in Santa Fe.
On Wednesday, several workers had to work in different offices because the smell was so bad. One employee said there were dead mice in the old building’s ventilation system.
A spokeswoman for the state Human Services Department confirmed the agency had to call an exterminator to get rid of the dead rodents.
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