Monahan Take On Alb. Journal Polls On Presidential And Congressional Races; Poll Mythology Explained

On Sunday, September 6, the Albuquerque Journal began to publish the results of its long anticipated 2020 general election poll in the state. As has been the case for decades, the Journal poll was conducted by Research and Polling.

On September 7 and 8, New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan published his take on the Albuquerque Journal poll on his blog New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan. As usual, Mr. Monahan provided and excellent and insightful summary of the polls. Below are his articles:

Monday, September 07, 2020

Trump Hits The Blue Wall; Biden Trounces Him In Key State Poll: Impact On Legislative Races Eyed

Barring an event of unimaginable consequence, New Mexico is poised to go blue for the fourth consecutive time in a presidential contest.

The Albuquerque Journal poll released Sunday essentially puts the race out of reach of Republican President Donald Trump who won the backing of only 39 percent of likely voters compared to Dem challenger Joe Biden’s 54 percent.

Making a Trump comeback even less likely, just 7 percent of those polled said they were undecided or that they would not be voting for either candidate.

Given the exceptionally low undecided less than two months from Election Day only an event of seismic proportion that shakes the entire nation would appear to be able to alter the inevitability of a Biden win here.

In the know R’s are circling the wagons, acknowledging that with a Biden blue wave the state’s five member congressional delegation will likely stay blue and that the party’s best hope is to vigorously campaign to protect and add to their legislative numbers.

A Trump win is not in the cards but they see a shot at reducing his losing margin in which Trump breaks free from the Republican base vote of 42 percent. That could benefit their legislative candidates as well as southern congressional hopeful Yvette Herrell.

At NMGOP headquarters they tried to put a brave face on the dismal numbers. They questioned the survey’s demographics, wondering about the number of Dems polled vs. R’s, noting that the information was not released. They added:

Polls conducted in the summer often fail to be reflective of November elections. Campaigns don’t start until after Labor Day. There will be nationally televised presidential debates, and candidates will spend millions in media advertising. To conduct a poll during late summer may be useful, but in New Mexico there are more than 283,000 unaffiliated voters who were not involved in the Primary Election.

Still, this makes for some very wishful thinking. Trump lost to Hillary Clinton here in 2016 by 48 to 40 with Libertarian Gary Johnson garnering 9 percent. Pollster Brian Sanderoff sounded a four alarm fire for the White House, pointing out that Hispanic voters were supporting Biden 64 percent to Trump’s 28 percent and that just about all the Hispanics who supported Johnson were now supporting Biden. That undercut a key argument of the Trump campaign on why the state could be brought into play. The President would need 40 percent Hispanic support to be anywhere near competitive.

There were tidbits of good news for Trump in the survey conducted August 26 to September 2 among 1,123 likely voters and that sports a margin error of 2.9 percent. In the Northwest region he manages a 55 to 43 margin over Biden and on the conservative eastside Trump won landslide numbers, 65 percent to 30 percent over Biden. And while Trump is behind here it is not a surprise and not a commentary on what the ultimate result of the national election will be.

But it was the ABQ Metro that delivered what could be the death knell, giving him just 33 percent support to Biden’s landslide number of 61 percent. The Metro is the most populous region of the state and turnout could be off the charts this year.

In 2018–an off year election with lower turnout than a presidential year—a Dem Blue Wave washed over the usually moderate/conservative ABQ NE Heights. When it was done only one GOP state House member was left standing in Bernalillo County. R’s challenging the Dem freshman winners from that year have to face the dilemma of watching many of their voters going for Biden and then trying to persuade them to vote Republican for the House seats.

Then there’s the four metro area GOP state senate seats that could be crucial in determining how liberal state policy could be in the election’s aftermath. The R’s seeking those slots are in need of chicken soup and valium to help them recover from the body blow this poll represents.

One poll does not an election make but it often defines what is and what isn’t possible. Could we see some Republicans separate themselves from Trump in hope of surviving? Well, a hungry man will do most anything to see the sun rise another day.”

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Poll Reveals Warning Signs For R’s In Southern CD, Plus: In Senate Race Lujan One Point Shy Of Magic Number And R’s Strategize State Senate

There are warning signs for the R’s in the latest polling as they fight to oust Dem US Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in the state’s southern congressional district.

The ABQ Journal survey conducted Aug 26-Sept. 2 has XTS carrying a two point lead–47-45–over Republican Yvette Herrell into the final critical weeks of Campaign 2020. That places the race well within the survey’s 4.8 percent margin of error. But there could be an enthusaism gap developing between the two contenders that left unchecked could give the Dems the edge.

First is the anemic performance of President Trump in the mostly conservative district. He aced Hillary Clinton by a ten point margin in 2016 but this survey shows he is beating Biden by only 4 points. That confirms insider polling we reported on weeks ago that showed Trump carrying the district by only one point.

A sagging Trump could have a profound impact on Herrell. Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff points out his studies show that what happens at the top of the ticket has significant impact on what happens below. Herrell needs a Trump rebound.

The other part of the enthusiasm gap is Herrell’s support from 81 percent of Republican respondents. That sounds high, but political pros will tell you that number should be pushing 90 percent. The R’s are much smaller than the Dems and must show unity to score the upset. The fear is that the ongoing infighting among GOP factions in the district will again dampen turnout for Herrell as it did when she lost to XTS by 3,700 votes in 2016.


In the Journal polling of the US Senate race, veteran political analyst Greg Payne pronounced himself “a little surprised” that US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan came up one point short of the magic 50 percent mark that signals victory is near. Lujan scored 49 percent to Republican Mark Ronchetti’s 40 percent. (Libertarian Bob Walsh had 4 percent).

Payne does not believe that Lujan is in serious jeopardy at this juncture. He says the northern congressman’s name ID statewide is only now being developed via TV ads.

There is also the matter of the intense dislike of Washington DC these days. The Journal poll gives Congress a ludicrously low approval rating of 12 percent. That could also be holding back BRL from getting an early “all clear” signal from voters. Ronchetti and the R’s have been hanging liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi around his neck. She’s unpopular with conservatives but also many in the Dems progressive wing.

Lujan has only just begun to put Ronchetti’s neck in the Trump noose. Trump is running about where Ronchetti is–39 percent against Biden’s 54. How can Ronchetti break through the wall of negativity surrounding Trump in the ABQ metro area where the poll says he is already behind 20 points? Without that breakthrough, he can’t win. His 40 percent polling represents a consolidation of the Republican base vote, not a breakthrough with needed Dems and indys.

Lujan’s first wave of general election ads left him about where he was in the June PPP poll which had him leading Ronchetti 48 to 34. There are still no signs that national R’s are interested in targeting the race but Lujan will want to close that door as quickly as he can. That means going negative.

Only the southern congressional race is competitive. The other two are snoozers. ABQ Dem freshman Rep. Deb Haaland has an enormous 58-31 lead over R Michelle Garcia Holmes.

Haaland’s politics may be a bit far left for the district but voters take pride in her overcoming her personal struggles to become one of the first Native American women to serve in the Congress and serving with dedication.

The lesser known Teresa Leger Fernandez, the Dem nominee for the northern seat, is also way ahead of her GOP foe, Alexis Johnson, 50 to 35. Leger will need time to win the hearts of voters but she possesses a calm competence that has been well received in the north.


R’s focused on the state Senate seats say that they have two possible pick-ups to offset a potential Dem rampage in the ABQ metro. They point to Crystal Dimond who is running against Neomi Martinez for the seat of Sen. John Arthur Smith in the SW. He was defeated by Martinez in the Dem primary but the district does have conservative inclinations. They also think that the seat being left vacant by conservative Dem John Sapien of Corrales could tip Republican with able GOP contender John Clark. Onetime Deb Haaland aide Brenda McKenna is the Dem hopeful and women are getting elected in droves on the D side.

The four R seats on the line include those of Senators Rue and Gould and the open seat of GOP Senator Bill Payne, all in big Bernalillo County. Another R problem is the challenge Republican freshman Sen. Greg Baca is getting in Valencia County.

The R’s would like the seat of Sen. Clemente Sanchez of Grants who was ousted in the Dem primary by Pam Cordova but that is a tall order with Trump leading the ticket and her deep roots in the district.

If the GOP could pick up the Smith or Sapien seats or both it would balance out potential losses or even lead to a pick up, if all their incumbents could hold on. One thing is certain–the R’s are again playing defense just as in ’18.


Research & Polling Inc. is New Mexico’s largest full-service market research and public opinion research company. Founded in 1986, the company today serves a wide variety of prominent national and New Mexico clients. When it comes to polling in New Mexico political races, Research and Polling has an extensive history of accurate predictions and is considered the “gold standard” of polling.

“The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, statewide sample of 1,123 likely general election voters who also voted in either the 2016 and 2018 general elections – or both. Respondents were given the choice of Biden or Trump, as well as the option of volunteering support for a different candidate. Fewer than 1% chose “other candidate,” and 2% said they would not vote for either Biden or Trump.

The poll was conducted from August 26 through September 2. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples. All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone. Both cellphone numbers (73%) and landlines (27%) of likely general election voters were used.”

The link to the full Albuquerque Journal Presidential Poll report is here:

The link to the full Albuquerque Journal United State Senate report is here:


According to the Albuquerque Journal article, “The Journal Poll is based on a scientific sample of likely general election voters who also voted in either the 2016 and 2018 general elections – or both. The poll was conducted from Aug. 26 through Sept. 2.

In the 1st Congressional District, the poll sampled 404 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. [ Congresswoman Debra] Haaland … was favored by 58% of likely voters in the 1st Congressional District. … Republican Michelle Garcia Holmes, a retired police detective, had support from 31% of those surveyed.”

In the 2nd Congressional District, the poll sampled 418 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points. … Democrat Xochitl Torres Small and Republican Yvette Herrell are … separated by just 2%. … . Torres Small had support from 47% of likely voters surveyed. … Herrell, a former state representative from Alamogordo, was favored by 45% of those surveyed.”

In the 3rd Congressional District, the poll sampled 301 voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points. Journal Poll showed 50% of likely voters in the district say they would vote for Teresa Leger Fernandez. … . Alexis Johnson … had support from 35% of those surveyed. Of those surveyed, 14% said they were undecided or didn’t know whom they would vote for.
The margin of error grows for subsamples.

All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone. Both cellphone numbers and landlines of likely general election voters were used.

The link to the full Albuquerque Journal Congressional poll report is here:


The link to New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan is here:

You can email comments to Mr. Monahan here:

This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.