Martinez pulls ahead of Weh, poll finds
The poll found Martinez with 40.8 percent to Weh’s 30 percent. Doug Turner had the support of 8.8 percent of those surveyed, while Pete Domenici Jr. had 8.2 percent and Janice Arnold-Jones had 4.1 percent, according to the polling memo.
The number of undecideds – 8 percent – was less than the margin of Martinez’s lead.
The poll, conducted by Dialing Services LLC of Roswell for New Mexico Politics With Joe Monahan, surveyed 771 likely Republican primary voters on Tuesday evening. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.53 percentage points.
Martinez led among men 47 percent to 28 percent, among Anglos 40 percent to 32 percent, and among Hispanics 62 percent to 20 percent. She led in all age ranges, all three congressional districts and in all regions of the state except the southeast corner. Martinez even led in Weh’s hometown of Albuquerque.
Weh led among women, 35 percent to 30 percent.
The new poll shows that Martinez has surged in the last two weeks. On May 16, the Albuquerque Journal released its poll that showed Weh leading Martinez 31 percent to 30 percent, with the other three candidates all at 10 percent or less.
The race has also become a negative, bitter contest between Martinez and Weh since then, and the fact that the state GOP chairman has called Weh out for dishonest ads has received a lot of attention.
A fight over amnesty
Martinez’s hard-line stance on immigration is apparently resonating with GOP voters – and men in particular – while Weh’s attempt to defend himself from her accusation that he supported amnesty hasn’t worked.
By striking first – even after telling a radio show host she wouldn’t go negative – Martinez has managed to define Weh on what is turning out to be a key issue in the race, thanks to the controversy over Arizona’s new immigration law.
Weh has continued to insist that he wasn’t supporting amnesty when he backed President Bush’s immigration reform proposal in 2007. He supported a plan that would have required anyone here illegally who wanted to start down the path of becoming a citizen to first pay a fine and back taxes and meet other requirements.
“Hello, this is Karl Rove calling to set the record straight on border security,” Rove says in the call. “Allen Weh is tough as nails on illegal immigration. The negative ads against him simply aren’t true. Allen has never supported amnesty and never will.”
“Don’t be misled by negative ads. Allen Weh is the right choice,” Rove says at the end of the robocall, which doesn’t state who paid for it (even though state law requires such a disclaimer).
Weh knows Rove well. When Weh pushed the White House to fire former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, Rove was one of two people there he called.
“You probably just got called by Allen Weh’s Washington friend defending him for supporting amnesty,” Garrison says on the robocall. “Allen Weh admitting supporting the plan to legalize 13 million illegal immigrants, and now those in Washington who pushed it are defending Weh.”
“Weh and his friends in Washington can say what they want,” Garrison says, “but as a New Mexico border sheriff, take it from me: It’s amnesty and that’s exactly what Allen Weh supported.”
That robocall states that it was paid for by the Martinez campaign.
If the new poll is any indication, Weh appears to have already lost the argument over whether he supported amnesty. He also lost the fight over whether his ads were honest. With a week to go, he’s going to have to find another issue to shift the debate away from amnesty and his dishonest ads.
The new poll also surveyed the GOP lieutenant governor and land commissioner races. Monahan said John Sanchez led the lieutenant governor’s race with 33 percent to Kent Cravens’ 27 percent and Brian Moore’s 20 percent, with 21 percent undecided. Monahan said Matt Rush led the land commissioner’s race with 37 percent to Bob Cornelius’ 20 percent, with 43 percent undecided.
Monahan did not provide the polling memos for those races.