KRQE Poll: Nearly a quarter of voters undecided on race for governor

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – While most of Albuquerque is wondering who will be the next mayor, next year all eyes will be on the race for governor.

KRQE News 13’s poll of 500 Albuquerque voters shows there are two clear front runners, and both are U.S. Representatives.

The poll shows Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham with 41 percent and Republican Steve Pearce with 31 percent.

Both have the name recognition and are giving up their seats in Congress to make a run for governor. UNM Professor and KRQE Political Analyst Gabe Sanchez has said a big downfall of two members of Congress leaving their post is that New Mexico is losing its seniority in Washington.

Sanchez said the poll results are no surprise to voters. However, because Albuquerque leans Democrat, Sanchez said the fact Lujan Grisham is not further in front should be a wake-up call.

“With about a quarter of the sample — about 22 percent undecided — I think I would expect her to possibly even at this stage in the game, break the 50 percent threshold,” Sanchez explained. “Let’s not take for granted the Democratic voter base and maybe we have to campaign a little bit harder before we think about the wider map.”

Meanwhile, Democratic candidates Jeff Apodaca and Joseph Cervantes are far behind with 4 percent and 2 percent of the vote, respectively.

“I think the lesson learned here is, look, this is my backyard. He obviously lives in Albuquerque,” Sanchez said about Apodaca. “He’s got name recognition and the fact he’s only at 4 percent — which, given the margin of error, could actually be as low as zero — I think that’s an eye opener for him. I think it really does increase the sense of urgency that if he has money, he better start spending it because he’s got a big gap to make up.”

Another year of campaigning could change voters’ minds, considering nearly a quarter of the poll says voters don’t know who they would vote for.

The state’s primary election is next March with the general election set for Nov. 6, 2018.

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).

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