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Martinez leads by 10 points in internal poll

Susana Martinez (Photo by Heath Haussamen)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez’s lead over Democrat Diane Denish has grown to 10 points, and Martinez has also reached the all-important 50 percent threshold, according to a new poll conducted for her campaign.

The poll, conducted Sept. 11-13, had Martinez leading 50 percent to 40 percent. The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll was conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. You can read the polling memo here.

The last publicly released poll of the race, conducted by Researching & Polling for the Albuquerque Journal, had Martinez leading by 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent. Since then, Public Opinion Strategies’ Nicole McCleskey wrote in the memo on the new poll, her company has done two polls for Martinez.

The first, conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 1, had Martinez leading by eight points – 50 percent to 42 percent. That poll surveyed 500 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

Denish’s support is 2 percentage points lower in the new poll. And if “leaners” are included in the most recent survey, McCleskey wrote, Martinez’s lead increases to 11 points, 52 percent to 41 percent.

“In no public survey conducted since the June primary has Diane Denish been able to break 43% support,” McCleskey wrote. “Most recent data suggests that Denish is losing ground, as Martinez makes critical gains among key sub-groups including Independent women and Hispanic voters.”

It’s been clear for some time that Martinez is leading Denish, but as Election Day approaches and undecideds become decideds, the new poll may suggest that more of them are choosing Martinez than Denish.

Martinez has been leading since May


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Martinez has led in every publicly released poll of the race since May. Just before the Journal poll was released, an August Rasmussen Reports poll had Martinez leading by 5 points, 48 percent to 43 percent. In June, a poll conducted by another GOP firm had Martinez leading by 1 percentage point, 44 percent to 43 percent.

Days after the June primary, a Rasmussen Reports poll had Martinez leading by 2 points, 44 percent to 42 percent. And just before the primary, a SurveyUSA poll of potential matchups between Denish and various GOP candidates had Martinez leading Denish by 6 points.

When the SurveyUSA poll was released, the Denish campaign dismissed it and said things would change.

“Susana Martinez has been airing TV ads for weeks, so we take this with a grain of salt,” Denish’s campaign said at the time. “When New Mexicans hear from both candidates, the choice will be clear. Diane Denish will be a different kind of governor – someone who stands up for regular families, while Susana Martinez is a failed prosecutor best-known for plea-bargaining drunk drivers and cutting deals with violent felons.”

This article’s headline has been updated to reflect that the new poll is an internal one.

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9 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.

  1. You have deleted most of my rebuttals to Hemingway. I would like to know why. There is no attack, just a difference of opinion. I find your reporting and culling of responses leaning far to the left. If that is your aim, you are doing a good job.

  2. This explains why Denish has been getting increasingly desperate….from wild “Tejana” attacks to ridiculous commercials trying to link a Las Cruces DA to former President Bush….

  3. Seems apparent that anyone getting paid by a campaign would have a real strong interest in accuracy since just telling someone what they want to hear would last about one cycle.

    I tend to think media focused polling is, at least in part, motivated by the audience. So FNC or MSNBC may not use as much independence in getting angles the on air folks can bloviate about and keep ratings up as long as possible

  4. I guess you could poll voters until you get a desired result. In any event, even if the internal poll is off +/- 4 points, it still demonstrates Martinez is ahead. As an independent, I’m being convinced more and more each day that she would be better for New Mexico than Denish. I’ve just had enough of Richardson and his cronies than for Denish to supplant them with another batch, some of whom would be leftovers.

  5. I’ve updated the headline based on your concerns. Thanks for sharing them.

    Interestingly and as an aside, Rothenberg recently argued that internal polls are better than many others:
    http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.com/news/article/as-polls-go-i-really-prefer-the-partisan-stuff

    Not sure he’s right, but I’m inclined to think internal polls are rarely skewed – the problem with them isn’t their results, it’s that campaigns only release them when it’s beneficial for them to do so, meaning we don’t get the polls in context of the overall trends the campaigns are seeing.

  6. Heath — it’s a start, but the remainder of your story fails to make some of the obvious (and important) connections I mentioned below.

    Also, a main concern is that your title is misleading. Because of the nature of the poll, perhaps your title should read “Newest poll from Martinez campaign shows her ahead” or “Martinez leads by 10 points in new poll, campaign says.” Your title makes it sound like the poll is fair and neutral, which it isn’t (although again, it may very well be accurate).

    Something for you to keep in mind in the future. Otherwise, great site!

  7. Henry,

    The lead sentence of the article states, “according to a new poll conducted for her campaign.” Doesn’t that identify it as an internal poll the Martinez campaign had done?

  8. Hey Heath, long time reader, first time poster here. Just thought i’d point out a glaring omission in this story, which is that this is basically an internal Martinez poll. She’s married to Martinez’s campaign strategist! So, disseminating a poll like this to eager bloggers is basically just another CAMPAIGN TACTIC to create a perception of inevitability around a win.

    Don’t get me wrong: the poll may be entirely accurate, but as a journalist, it’d be great if you could at least place the story in context for your readers.

    I know a lot of people who believe your stories on this race often read like veiled propaganda for Martinez and her strategists. A one sided angle on this poll doesn’t help your credibility!

    Otherwise, keep up the great work.

  9. I just wonder how Denish and her team will spin the November 2nd poll that actually defeats her and uries her political career?

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