A Very Flawed Poll Giving Very Flawed Candidate Ronchetti A 1% Edge In Governor’s Race; False and Vicious Ads Of Ronchetti Campaign Hallmark Of His Campaign Manager

On October 25, news media outlets and social media and political bloggers made a big deal out of a poll on the race for the governor in New Mexico that gave Republican Mark Ronchetti a slight edge in the race. The poll was conducted by the Trafalgar group which is a political and corporate survey company. The poll was conducted October  17-19 with a margin of error of 2.9%.

Based on their survey, the poll gave Republican Mark  Ronchetti a 1%  lead in the race with 46.6%  of the vote compared to 45.5% for Governor  Michelle Lujan Grisham. The poll has a nearly 3% margin of error, effectively making the race too close to call. The poll is the first poll ever to show Ronchetti in the lead.

The poll reports 1,077 people who responded. Around 48% were Democrat, 36% were Republican, and 16% either had no affiliation or aligned with another party. What skews the poll is that 58% of people who responded to the poll were Anglo, and only 31% were Hispanic.

The link to the quoted news source is here:




As of October 11, there had been a total of 5 polls conducted by the news media in the 2022 race for New Mexico Governor. All 5 polls have Democrat Governor Lujan Grisham leading Republican Mark Ronchetti by as low of only 3% and as high as 16%. Averaging out all 5 of the previous polls reflected that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham polling average is 48.8% compared to Ronchetti’s 39.2%. Ronchetti never once surpass 40% to 43% in any of the polling which is essentially the Republican base in New Mexico. Lujan Grisham  busted the magic 50% plus one in only 1 polls.


Mark Ronchetti can only be considered a very flawed candidate very much like Donald Trump  given the fact that he is an ultra  right wing TV personality with no government and management experience and given who is running his campaign.

If Republican Mark Ronchetti has in fact closed the gab in the polling, and is now leading, the likely reason is his never ending negative campaign ads often seen run 3 times consecutively on TV stations. One ad accuses the Governor of releasing a prisoner from prison early and then committing murder  and another featuring the grandparents of his murder victim urging her defeat. Ronchetti  ads have been  found to be misleading or false by at least 2 local  news outlets. Instead of aggressively refuting the ads at first with her own campaign ads, an unsuccessful attempt was made to have the ads removed.  The Lujan Grisham campaign is now running ads pointing out the falsehoods in the Ronchetti ads.

The Ronchetti vicious attack ads should not come as any surprise and were expected. Least anyone forgets, Jay McCleskey is Republican Mark Ronchetti’s campaign manager and political consultant. Simply put, Jay McCleskey is the go-to guy for anyone who is Republican running for office willing to spend and do whatever it takes to win an election at any and all costs.

“political hit piece” is the lowest form of negative campaigning used by all successful bottom feeder political consultants to smear the reputation of an opponent. It’s difficult to respond to a political hit piece, especially at the end of a contentious campaign such as the current Governor’s race  or if an opponent does not have the financial resources to respond to the lies and the liars who tell them.

In New Mexico, McCleskey has elevated the “political hit piece” to an art form. His tactics are often condemned by the public and those who are the target. The problem is that negative campaigning and smear tactics work and has worked for Jay McClesky over too many years and too many campaigns.

Jay McCleskey is New Mexico’s version of Lee Atwater or Karl Rove, two of the most despicable right wing Republican bottom feeders and political consultants and strategists for the Republican Party.  McClesky has even received praises for his work from Karl Rove.  McClesky is known for his negative slash-and-burn tactics to disparage and viciously malign Democrats at all levels and he has been very successful at it in New Mexico for the last 20 years making a very lucrative living.

McClesky managed the successful campaigns of Mayor Richard Berry and Governor Suzanna Martinez as well as numerous campaigns for local and state offices. McClesky is currently managing the campaign of Republican Paul Pacheco for Bernalillo County Sherriff.  Former Republican Governor Susana Martinez was vicious in going after members of her own party who disagreed with her and she did that with Jay Mc Clesky carrying out her orders.

It was reported that Southern New Mexico rancher Scott Chandler, a Republican, settled a defamation lawsuit he filed claiming political consultant Jay McCleskey and the former Republican Governor’s political action committee circulated untruthful mailers about him during the 2016 campaign. On December 15, 2021, the case was settled with McClesky’s insurance company agreeing to pay $375,000 to settle the defamation claims against McClesky.


Simply put, the Trafalgar poll accuracy is in serious doubt  because of those who were polled.  The poll was a straight horse race poll and did not go into great detail on the issues that are motivating voters. The poll was weighted with 57% of those polled as being Anglo, which is Ronchetti’s core supporters,  which is 10 points too high. The poll has Hispanic voters at 31% of the projected electorate which is way too low.  Hispanics along with woman voters are the core supporters of Governor Lujan Grisham.  Trafalgar is also Republican funded polling operation.

The only real takeaway from the Trafalgar poll is the race is tightening as Election Day gets closer, but this is expected and normal for New Mexico politics. Political news website Real Clear Politics averaged all the current polling data together. With the inclusion of the Trafalgar survey, the Real Clear Politics average of all the latest polls has Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham leading Ronchetti by 3.7%.  However, it also ranked the race as a toss-up which only confirms that the race  is not over yet.

Early voting has already begun and voter turn out is already high, which likely favors Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Reports are that as much of 12% of the projected vote has been cast.

The second and final poll for the Albuquerque Journal on the Governor’s  race will be published this Sunday. It is  the one singular poll that has the potential of ending the race all because of its decades old accuracy.


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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.