KRQE Poll: Albuquerque voters weigh options for mayor, cite crime as top concern

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s mayoral election is less than four weeks away — so what issues do Albuquerque voters care about the most, and which candidates are winning over the most voters?

It’s a crowded field with eight candidates battling to be Albuquerque’s next mayor.

With so many candidates, it’s unlikely that any one of them will get more than 50 percent of the vote. That would force a runoff between the top two vote getters in November, but KQRE News 13’s poll opens up a surprising possibility.

KRQE News 13 asked registered voters if the election were held today, who would you vote for? Twenty-two percent said they would choose State Auditor Tim Keller. That’s twice as many as each of the next two candidates.

“You have the plausibility that Keller — if he performs as well as he has not only among Democrats but among Independents — there’s a plausibility that he gets to the 50 percent threshold, and we’re not even talking about a runoff,” political expert Gabe Sanchez, a UNM political science professor, said.

However, three candidates with broad name recognition are polling at or near 10 percent. City Councilor Dan Lewis polled at 11 percent, lawyer Brian Colon polled at 10 percent, and County Commissioner Wayne Johnson polled at 8 percent.

The most important number, though, may be the last: 36 percent of registered voters say they are still undecided. So there are still plenty of voters who are watching the candidates and waiting to make up their minds.

KRQE News 13 also asked voters about the most important issue facing Albuquerque. The poll shows a whopping 65 percent say crime is at the top of their list.

“Not surprising to anybody who watches the news. If you ask voters in this poll, ‘What’s the most important issue to you?’ Guess what — crime, the overwhelming front runner,” Sanchez said.

That compares to just 13 percent who said jobs matter most, and 11 percent who said the economy is the most important issue.

“So it’s not surprising that all the candidates — if you pay close attention to their ads, their Facebook posts, their speeches, you know, all their discussion — what are they focusing on? Crime,” Sanchez said.

With just weeks left until Election Day, you are likely to see more and more ads from candidates trying to convince voters that they alone can make the city safer.

“At the front of the mind of all voters is: who’s going to do the best to be able to address the crime epidemic that we have in the city of Albuquerque? I think that’s really what this election is going to be about,” Sanchez said.

The poll also shows that 48 percent of voters are at least somewhat confident that the next mayor can fix the city’s economy and crime problem.

Polling Methodology & Results

For this poll, a sample of likely households was chosen from the population registered to vote in the city of Albuquerque for a “hybrid” automated (for landlines)/live (for cell phones) poll, where 74 percent of the phone numbers were landlines and 26 percent of the phone numbers were cell phones. There were 500 completed responses to 11 poll questions.

The survey was conducted August 26-27. The margin of error, with a 95 percent confidence interval, was 4.4 percent. The party registration of respondents was 52-34 percent Democratic/Republican (14 percent Independents). The geographic breakdown of the respondents was as follows: 52 percent from northeast Albuquerque, 19 percent from northwest Albuquerque, 22 percent from southeast Albuquerque, and 7 percent from southwest Albuquerque (The dividing lines for these four quadrants of Albuquerque are the (east/west) Rio Grande and (north/south) Interstate 40).

Poll Results

Poll Charts

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