On November 6, 2018, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham was elected to her first 4-year term, winning the election with 57.2% of the vote (398,368) to 42.8% of the vote (298,091) cast for former Congressman Steve Pearce. By any measure, a more than 100,000 margin in votes is a blowout win.
On June 3, 2021, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham made it official that she is running for a second 4-year term. Since making her announcement, there have been 2 major polls on her performance and approval and disapproval ratings as well as revolving issues that will likely help her in the long run as she seeks a second term, including weak Republican opposition with Der Führer Trump looming large over them.
GOV. MLG’s DECLINING POLL NUMBERS
Since making her announcement for a second term, there have been two polls done on the approval rating for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Those polls are a SurveyUSA poll and a PPP poll.
On June 30, KOB 4 published the results of a SurveyUSA poll it commissioned on the Governor’s approval rating. The report was prepared by KOB 4 reporter Chris Ramirez. Below is the link to the Channel 4 news report and poll data:
SurveyUSA is a polling firm in the United States that conducts market research for corporations and interest groups but is best known for conducting opinion polls for various political offices and questions. SurveyUSA conducts these opinion polls under contract by over 50 television stations The difference between SurveyUSA and other telephone polling firms is twofold. First, SurveyUSA does not use live call center employees, but an automated system and taped questions. Secondly, SurveyUSA uses more concise language, especially for ballot propositions, than competitors and this can lead to diverging results.
The SurveyUSA poll asked 6 major questions. Following are the questions with the poll results:
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing as governor of New Mexico?
APPROVE: 50% DISAPPROVE: 32% NOT SURE: 18%
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Lujan Grisham is handling the Coronavirus?
Strongly Approve: 31% Somewhat Approve: 28% Somewhat Disapprove: 12% Strongly Disapprove: 22% NOT SURE: 8%
3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Lujan Grisham is handling the economy?
Strongly Approve: 19% Somewhat Approve: 30% Somewhat Disapprove: 18% Strongly Disapprove: 24% NOT SURE: 9%
4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Lujan Grisham is handling crime?
Strongly Approve: 13% Somewhat Approve: 27% Somewhat Disapprove: 19% Strongly Disapprove: 25 % NOT SURE: 17%
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Lujan Grisham is handling Policing issues?
Strongly Approve: 15 % Somewhat Approve: 25% Somewhat Disapprove: 18% Strongly Disapprove: 25 % NOT SURE: 17%
6. Is New Mexico headed in the right direction? Or is it off on the wrong track?
RIGHT DIRECTION: 48% WRONG TRACK: 35% NOT SURE: 17%
Which of the following issues is most important to you right now?
Corona Virus: 15%
Not Sure: 4%
The link to the full poll is here:
PUBLIC POLICY POLLING
Public Policy Polling (PPP) is a Democratic public opinion research organization headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. It describes itself as “…the highest quality polling at the most affordable price of any company out there.” In 2008, The Wall Street Journal described PPP’s polls as “as accurate as live-interview surveys,” and ranked them fourth among interactive voice response survey operations.
The PPP poll was conducted on August 16 and 17 by PPP and surveyed 682 registered voters throughout New Mexico. The poll has a 3.8% margin of error. The PPP was conducted for NM Political Report. The poll found that 46% of New Mexico voters approve of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance as governor compared to 45% who disapprove. The previous June 3 SurveyUSA poll gave the Governor 50% approval, 32% disapproval with 18% responding not sure.
Lujan Grisham has her highest approval rating among Democrats with a 79% approval and 13% disapproval. Only 9% of Republicans approve of her job performance and 84% disapprove. The Governor did worst with independents, with 33% who approve and 54% who disapprove.
Lujan Grisham has higher than average approval ratings among those who identify as Hispanic or Latino. She polled at 53% approval to 35% who disapprove amongst Hispanic or Latino. She polled lower among those who said they were white with 40% approving and 55% disapproving. Those identifying as other ethnicities approved 56% t to 29% disapproval.
Polls taken over a year from an election are more for the benefit of the media and news outlets and those running for office and such polls are generally ignored by the public. At this point there are any number of evolving issues that will likely have an effect on improving the Governor’s chances for a second term. Those issue include crime and changes to the criminal justice system to deal with it, the economy and the pandemic.
STATE POLICE TO THE CITY
In the wake of the killing of 13-year-old, eighth grader Bennie Hargrove being shot and killed at Washington Middle school by another student as well as the city breaking the all-time homicide rate, Lujan Grisham announce she was sending 35 New Mexico State Police Officers to the city to help address its spiking murder and violent crime rates. She also announced that she is open to adding firearms legislation to the 2022 thirty-day legislative session that begins in January as well as considering other changes in the criminal laws.
On Monday, August 16, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that she had order 35 New Mexico State Police ( NMSP) officers to begin “proactive operations” and crime suppression operations in the Albuquerque area starting on Tuesday, August 17. The 35 NMSP officers will be assigned to a 3-week-long operation in Albuquerque. State Police Officers will conduct operations along I-25 and I-40 in Bernalillo County. They will also be on highways during peak traffic hours. Currently, 42 state police officers are stationed in the metro area, but they patrol the area from Bernalillo to Los Lunas and Grants to Edgewood. The additional 35 State Police will concentrate on Albuquerque.
According to a news release, NMSP will be working with the New Mexico Department of Corrections and Adult Probation and Parole Department. The state department will work together to target criminals who have outstanding warrants for violent crimes and are believed to be involved in ongoing criminal activity in the city.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham had this to say:
“We know from our last effort there were a lot of arrests made. We think this is going to make an impact and we’re going to continue to go after fugitives right and we’ve got felony warrants, people out. It takes all of us working together to get these people picked up and held.”
Tim Johnson, Chief of the New Mexico State Police, had this to say in a news release:
“Proactive crime suppression efforts can help solve crimes and often help prevent crime in the Albuquerque Metro area. … “Citizens have described the driving on the interstates in Albuquerque as chaotic, often leaving them feeling unsafe or frightened. Shootings, murder and overall violent crime feels like a daily occurrence in the metro, we hope our plan can help slow this trend.”
The assignment of State Police will be the second time in as many years that the Governor has ordered state police to the city, but this second time is dramatically different. It was in May, 2019 following the shooting of the University of New Mexico baseball player Jackson Weller outside of a Nob Hill bar that 50 state police officers were pulled from communities all over the state and patrolled the metro for two months. The state police arrested 738 people and doing more than 14,000 traffic stops. The 35 state police being sent this time will be tasked with concentrating on outstanding warrants for violent crimes.
BACKING CHANGES IS PRE-TRIAL DETENTION SYSTEM
It was in 2016 that New Mexico voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that did away with the money bail bond system. The change in the law resulted in doing away with defendants charge with low level nonviolent crimes being held simply because they lacked the ability to post a bond. It further authorized judges to order defendants charged with violent crimes held in custody without bond only if prosecutors can show the accused represents a danger to the community and that there are no conditions of release that will protect the community.
On August 28, Governor Lujan Grisham made it known now that she wants to see changes in the state’s pretrial detention system now viewed as too lenient in releasing violent criminals pending trial. According to the Governor, she wants to shift the burden of proof so that people charged with violent offenses are required to show they can safely be released into the community pending trial. In a statement, Lujan Grisham had this to say:
“I believe a rebuttable presumption for individuals accused of violent crimes can be a wedge in the revolving door of repeat violent offenses that have characterized the worst aspects of the crime our state continues to experience.”
Since being elected to his first term as Bernalillo County District Attorney in 2016, DA Raúl Torrez has pushed for the changes. Not at all surprising is that Chief Public Defender Bennett Baur opposes the shift in the burden of proof making it the burden of the accused to establish they are not a danger to the community and should be released pending trial. According to Bauer, only 3% of people released prior to trial commit a violent crime after their release pending trial and said:
“I’m extremely concerned about allowing the government to hold people in jail for months just because someone said you did something.”
NEW MEXICO REVENUE OUTLOOK REBOUNDS DRAMATICALLY
On Friday, August 28, during a Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) held in Taos, it was revealed that the State is experiencing an all-time high windfall of more than nearly $1 billion higher than what was projected in February. The estimates released to the committee by executive and legislative economists project New Mexico lawmakers will have nearly $1.4 billion in additional money in the coming year, an amount that represents the difference between expected revenue and the state’s current $7.4 billion budget. The cause of the windfall is surging oil and natural gas production and a rise in consumer spending.
The projected revenue total does not include more than $1.5 billion that will automatically flow into a state “rainy day” fund and an early childhood endowment fund over the next two years nor does it include the $1.75 billion in federal relief funds that have only been partially earmarked by the Lujan Grisham administration.
The $1.4 Billion in additional revenue will allow for spending that could make a major difference in public schools, roads, health care programs and help fund new initiatives by the Legislature and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The 2022 legislative session is a 30 day session, called a sort session, to deal almost exclusively with the budget, financial matters and taxation and it is the Governor who set the agenda is such sessions.
Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, the LFC’s vice chairman, suggested the revenue windfall should be spent on one-time expenditures not part of the state budget and had this to say:
“There’s going to be a lot more money than we know what to do with in the next few years, but it’s not going to last forever. … Now is the time to tackle the structural issues of New Mexico. ”
The link to quoted news sources material is here:
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
New Mexico has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates in the country. In July, it was tied for second-highest nationally at 7.6%. New Mexico posted 4.3% job growth from July 2020 through June 2021 and the state is down roughly 64,000 jobs, which is 7.4%, from its pre-pandemic peak. Taxation and Revenue Secretary Stephanie Schardin Clarke said she did not expect the State to get back to the pre-pandemic employment level until 2026.
Notwithstanding the state’s current unemployment numbers, the Lujan Grisaham Administration over the last 2 and a half years has made significant progress to diversify New Mexico’s economy.
The progress has included the film & television industry as reflected by NETFLEX buying Albuquerque Studios and expanding their operations to make Albuquerque its North American production headquarters employing thousands and the NBC opening a studio in Albuquerque as part of a 10-year venture projected to generate an economic impact of $1.1 billion over a 10-year period.
Lujan Grisham is making a major effort to bring high paying technology-based jobs to communities all across the state and is making real progress in the area. On May 3, 2021, Intel Corporation announced it will be investing $3.5 billion to equip its New Mexico operations for the manufacturing of advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, including Foveros, Intel’s breakthrough 3D packaging technology. The multiyear investment is expected to create at least 700 high-tech jobs and 1,000 construction jobs and support an additional 3,500 jobs in the state. Planning activities began immediately, with construction expected to start in late 2021.
The Areo Space industry is also rapidly expanding with the Spaceport and Virgin Galactic successfully completing its first commercial flight. The “Orion Center ”, an aerospace and technology facility which will be building a 122-acre campus facility in Albuquerque creating more jobs. “Group Orion”, the developer, is a subsidiary of Theia Group Inc., a Washington D.C. based, privately held aerospace company. The Theia Group is attempting to develop a network of satellites to digitally image and collect data on the physical world, providing solutions in areas from logistics to biology.
In the biosciences sector, more than a hundred new high-paying jobs are expected in Rio Rancho. The company Nature’s Toolbox specializes in bio-manufacturing to speed up the development of vaccines and pharmaceuticals. The average salary is $74,000.
The recreational cannibus industry will also be kicking into high gear come January, 2022. Advocates of recreational legalization argue it will generate at least 13,000 jobs and millions of dollars for the economy. According to some reports, legalizing recreational marijuana will generate up to $800 million a year, a $200 million increase from the last years estimate of $600 million.
On August 30, it was announced that MTX Group Inc, a Texas-based technology consulting firm, has selected Albuquerque as its base of operations in the Southwest. The firm is planning to hire 250 employees in the city with an average salary of more than $100,000. The firm provides technology designed to help partner organizations modernize their operations. Das Nobel, CEO and co-founder of MTX, said the company plans to use its Albuquerque office as a hub for operations taking place in Nevada, Utah and other parts of the Southwest.
Link to news source is here:
THE REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION
There are 6 candidates who have announced that they are seeking the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022. Those candidates in the order of their announcements are:
1. SANDOVAL COUNTY COMMISSIONER JAY BLOCK
On April 18, 2021 Sandoval County Commissioner Jay Block announced he is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Block, a retired lieutenant colonel who spent 21 years the Air Force and moved to Rio Rancho in 2015.
Block has fully aligned himself with former President Der Führer Donald Trump. In his announcement he said he is in favor of defunding abortion services and restoring qualified immunity for police officers.
In his announcement video Block said:
“This is a movement of shared values. … It’s time Michelle Lujan Grisham is out of office so we can start a new era of prosperity for New Mexicans.”
Block has already gotten nasty with his remarks about the Governor when he said:
“Michelle is proud of where New Mexico stands today. Michelle is proud New Mexico ranks last in education. Michelle is proud New Mexico ranks first in child poverty.”
2. KAREN BEDONIE
On April 25, 2021, Republican and retired teacher Karen Bedonie of Farmington announced she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. Her announcement video featured photographs of Bedonie holding a rife, posing with law enforcers, her husband, and her family, and portrayed her campaign’s focuses on a family, faith, and freedoms-based message.
In her announcement Bedonie said:
“I am a woman of courage and I have worked tirelessly to formulate a liberating plan for the beautiful state of New Mexico. … I believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution is absolute, written so beautifully that the builders of this nation installed these rights to withstand tyranny and the trampling of our liberties and freedoms. As a mother of five daughters, we will bear arms to protect ourselves. Missing, murdered, and indigenous women is real and is also unresolved.”
3. GREG ZANETTI
On June 14, Republican Greg Zanetti announced his campaign. Zanetti is a former Bernalillo County Republican Chairman and a former New Mexico National Guard Brigadier General who now works in the business of wealth management. He has said in the past that he does not intend to get vaccinated for covid. With respect to the Governor, Zanetti had this to say:
“We had this autocratic governor come down and impose all these rules where we shut down businesses, locked down the kids, we shut the state down, and as the facts changed and we learned more about COVID, she didn’t adjust.”
Surprisingly, Republican conservative Zanetti is distancing himself from Der Führer former president Donald Trump and said:
“This isn’t about Donald Trump. It’s not about one person, it’s about a bigger message.”
Ostensibly, Zanetti did not get the memo from New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pierce that the Republican Party in the state and nationally are very much in lock step with Der Führer Trump.
4. TIM WALSH
On June 30, Albuquerque retired teacher Tim Walsh, age 74, announced he is running for the Republican nominations for Governor. Walsh previously worked as an education adviser to former Republican Governor Gary Johnson and describes himself as the same type politically as Johnson. That likely means being nothing but a libertarian who has decided to become a Republican but who smokes cannabis without telling anyone until he gets termed out.
In his announcement Walsh said if elected Governor he would push to overhaul the state’s public pension funds to a 401(k) model to address unfunded liabilities and do away with the state’s high-profile film incentive program.
5. REBECCA DOW
On July 7, three term Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow of Truth or Consequences announced that she is running for the Republican nomination for Governor. In her announcement, she vowed to address “hard truths” related to the state’s high unemployment rate, low education rankings and chronic child welfare issues. She is a former early child care professional.
Dow, like the other Republican Governor candidates also immediately attacked Governor Lujan Grisham and described the governor as a “power hungry” career politician whose policies have hurt New Mexico and said:
“As a state, we have never experienced more dire conditions than we are currently struggling through right now.”
HEINRICH ENDORSES MLG
On September 8, New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich endorsed the Governor’s candidacy for a second term. In a statement, he had said in part:
. . . Lujan Grisham has set bold statewide renewable energy standards — putting New Mexico at the forefront of the clean energy industry that will produce good jobs. . .She has aggressively pursued polluters and established nation-leading rules that will reduce harmful emissions and create even more jobs through detecting and capping gas leaks that harm our air. Governor Lujan Grisham has made New Mexico a national leader in the fight against climate change. I am pleased to endorse Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham so she can continue delivering for. . .New Mexico.”
Heinrich’s strong appeal with progressive environmentalists will help to discourage any Democratic primary challengers.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The PPP poll finding that 46% of New Mexico voters approve of Michelle Lujan Grisham’s job performance as governor compared to 45% who disapprove no doubt is concerning, but is not surprising for a Governor that has shown real leadership making difficult decisions and who has been very effective in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Placing too much reliance on polls 14 months out before a general election would be a major mistake in that there is more than enough time for her to turn things around. Further, the 2 polls do not reflect at all how the Governor would fair in a one-on-one race with a generic Republican, let alone any one of the announced Der Führer Republican candidates for Governor.
The 59% approval rating dealing with the pandemic and the 49% approval rating dealing with the economy in all likely will increase as the state begins to reopen and things get back to normal. Low approval ratings in both crime and policing issues is what Governors’ and Mayors’ across the country are dealing with as violent crime is a national trend. However, Governor Lujan Grisham has not totally ignored either issue and in fact is now taking action to deal with crime and getting behind legislation to deal with it, something that will be fleshed out during the upcoming legislative session and as her bid for a second term gains full speed in the months ahead.
The one constituency that the Governor appears to need to work on is her 47% approval rating among Hispanics. 30% of Hispanics disapprove and 23% saying they were not sure of her job performance. Governor Lujan Grisham still has 79% approval rating amongst Democrats. She has a 59% approval rating dealing with the pandemic and the 49% approval rating dealing with the economy. With such a high approval rating from people who identify as Democrats, it is more likely than not Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will have no opposition in the Democratic primary, and if so, it will be weak at best.
As for the announced Republican candidates, most, if not all 6, are viewed within political circles as weak unknowns at best and at worst way too conservative and too pro Der Führer Trump to become viable in a solid blue state such as is New Mexico. At this point in time, the biggest hope that all 6 Republican candidates have, if they are the Republican nominee, is that Governor Lujan Grisham will be viewed with nothing but extreme hostility destroying her support within the Democratic party. That is not all likely to happen and its not at all likely Democrats will want to support a Der Führer Republican Party candidate for Governor.
The link to a related blog article is here: