Mayor Tim Keller Approval Rating Tanks To 33%; Failed Polices Likely Reason For Decline

On November 3, the Albuquerque Journal released its poll on the job performance of Mayor Tim Keller. The poll was conducted by its long-time polling firm Research & Polling which is considered the gold standard when it comes to political polls because of its accuracy.  The poll was part of the highly comprehensive polling the Journal does and reports on every election year.  The 2022 general election year poll covered all the major State and Federal elections and included polling on the top issues including abortion, crime, the economy, and education.


The Journal poll asked the singular question “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Tim Keller is handling his job as Mayor?”

The results of the poll were:





The data breakdown of the poll was reported as follows:



32% of males approved of Keller’s job performance

44% of males disapproved of Keller’s job performance

19% of males had “mixed feeling” of Keller’s job performanc


34% of females approved of Keller’s job performance

37% of females disapproved of Keller’s job performance

22% of females had “mixed feeling” of Keller’s job performanc



39% of Hispanics polled APPROVE of Keller’s job performance

39% of Hispanics polled DISAPPROVE of Keller’s job performance

21% of Hispanics polled expressed MIXED FEELINGS


32% of Anglos polled APPROVE of Keller’s job performance

40% of Anglos polled DISAPPROVE of Keller’s job performance

21% of Anglos polled expressed MIXED FEELINGS



49% of Democrats polled APPROVE of Keller’s job performance

20% of Democrats polled DISAPPROVE of Keller’s job performance

25% of Democrats polled expressed MIXED FEELINGS


 9% of Republicans polled APPROVE of Keller’s job performance

70% of Republicans polled DISAPPROVE of Keller’s job performance

14% of Republicans polled expressed MIXED FEELINGS


29% of Independents polled APPROVE of Keller’s job performance

48% of Independents polled DISAPPROVE of Keller’s job performance

20% of Independents polled expressed MIXED FEELINGS

Opinions of Keller did vary by educational levels in the poll.  45% of those with a graduate degree were most likely to approve of Keller, while 57% of those with a high school education or less disapproved of his performance.


Brian Sanderoff, the President of Research & Polling, was interviewed by the Journal and was  asked to give his opinion as to the reasons why Keller has had such a sharp decline in his popularity. Sanderoff said voter concern about crime and homelessness are likely the biggest factors in the latest poll results and he said this:

“There are many government agencies and branches of government that play a role in addressing crime; however, the mayor and the city police department are front and center with the public.”


In 2021, the city had a record 114 homicides and the city  had  the worst per capita homicide rate in city history, surpassing even the 1990’s crime.  Albuquerque is on pace to shatter its record, with 110 homicides so far this year.

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are:

The Shield Unit
Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue,
The Metro 15 Operation and
The “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program).

Keller’s programs to bring down violent crime have been a failure. During each year of Mayor Tim Keller’s years in office, the city’s murder rates rose, dropped only one year, and then rose to a historical high. Following is the breakdown of homicide by year:

2017: 72 homicides
2018: 69 homicides.
2019: 82 homicides
2020: 76 homicides
2021: 117 homicides (Per capita murder rate of 20.8 per 100,000.)
2022: 110  homicides as of November  3, 2022. 

The link to quoted source material is here:

Overall crime in Albuquerque also rose in 2021 for the first time since 2018.  It marked the first increase in property crime since the city notched back-to-back 10% drops, pushing decreases in overall crime even as violence steadily rose over the past several years.


Homelessness  has remained a persistent and pervasive challenge for Keller while city residents  have expressed frustration  and even anger with the city’s response to the issue.  In June, the city released its government-funded satisfaction poll.  70% of those surveyed felt  the City is doing a poor job of addressing homelessness, 9% of residents gave City Government positive marks for addressing the homelessness issue and 20% gave the city mixed or neutral rating. The percentage of residents who give the City positive scores for addressing homelessness had risen from 13% in 2019 to 29% in 2020 but it has now fallen by 20% and is  9% currently. The link to the full survey is here:

Since the citizen satisfaction survey Keller doubled down on his efforts to address the homeless crisis.  He increased city funding to the Family and Community Services Department  by over $24,353,064 going from $35,145,851 in the 2021 fiscal year to $59,498,915 in the 2022 fiscal year  to provide services and housing to the homeless and  he made controversial decisions intended to address the city’s homeless crisis. Those decisions included closing Coronado Park, the  de facto city sanction homeless encampment Keller had encouraged and he had to close because of crime, illicit drugs and contamination, advocating for city sanctioned tent encampments known as Safe Outdoor Spaces and  advocating for “Motel Conversions” where the city will purchase existing motels and convert them into low-income housing.

Safe Outdoor Spaces are organized camp sites where upwards of 50 people who are homeless can legally sleep in tents or cars while accessing showers and other amenities with as many as 18 such campsites will be allowed. The City has already approved one Safe Outdoor Space for  “sex-trafficking victims” and other vulnerable populations to be located on vacant land at 1250 Menaul Blvd, NE . The approval is being appealed by at least 7 appellants.

The city is already on track to purchase the Sure Stay Hotel on Hotel Circle in the North East  Heights for a motel conversion for low income housing by using Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding of $3,059,662.12 in Community Development Block Grants,  $2,443,724.00 from Public Facilities monies  and $615,938.12 from Foreclosure Prevention for a total property purchase of  $6,119,324.24.


During his first term, most of Keller’s  initiatives  sailed through the  City Council which had a 6 – 4  Democrat majority. After being elected to his second term, Keller has been at increasing odds with the city council which after the 2021 municipal election is  now decidedly  leans more conservative with a 5-4 Democrat majority. Less than a year into his second term, Keller has issued 8 vetoes compared to just 5  in his first four-year term.


It was just one year ago during his campaign for a second term  that Keller registered a 50% approval rating in the Journal Poll. Other Journal Polls found a majority in Albuquerque approved of Keller during his first term, including 60% in 2020 and 61% in 2018.

In 2017 then New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller was elected Mayor coming in first by beating all 7 of his opponents to get into a runoff. He went on to win in 2017 by a decisive landslide against Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis who secured 37.8% with Keller winning with 62.2% of the vote.

Mayor Keller won his 2021 election to a second 4 year term with 56% of the final vote and beating Sheriff Manny Gonzales who secured 26% of the vote and Der Führer Trump Radio Shock Jock Eddy Aragon  secured 18% of the vote.


Mayor Keller said  the results were no  surprise to him  given the outcome of the city’s citizen survey from earlier this year. That poll  found that 52% of Albuquerque residents are concerned about the city’s direction. Keller told the Journal he, too, is frustrated with some of the city’s challenges and what he called the current “hard times.” Keller also proclaimed the city survey validated some of his major initiatives, including the forthcoming Gateway Center homeless shelter and services center.

Mayor Keller had this to say:

“At the end of the day, mayors take the heat for all of America’s problems, so that’s just part of the job. …  It shows our city needs continued help from every level of government.”

Keller noted that those who approve and those who reported mixed feelings together make up  54%  of those polled.  He noted  that the 54% is  nearly equal to  his performance in last year’s election and that he sees opportunity to turn those on-the-fence respondents into believers. Keller told the Journal this:

“I think there is certainly plenty of runway left.”


When then New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller was running for Mayor in 2017, he was asked in a private conversation why he wanted to be Mayor? His answer was swift and sure and he said  “Because I think it would be really neat to be Mayor of my hometown and I have done good at all the jobs I have ever  held!”

Keller the eternal optimist with a smile on his face and a grin in his voice at all times no doubt believes he has done a good job as Mayor for the last 5 years.  Keller can blame all the circumstances he wants for his 33% approval rating, but the blunt truth he has been a dramatic failure in dealing with the very problems he promised to solve.


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.