Anyone can win the CD1 Democratic primary
What to make of all the polls released today? As far as I’m concerned, this race could be roughly tied at a third apiece on June 5.
Then the floodgates opened.
Grisham released a poll this morning that had her and Griego tied at 35 percent apiece and Chávez trailing at 23 percent. Grisham’s polling memo said that was an 11-point gain for her since February, while Griego gained eight points and Chavez lost 14.
A news release from the Grisham campaign proclaimed this a two-way race between her and Griego.
The other campaigns were quick to respond. Griego put out his own polling memo that had him leading with 35 percent to Grisham’s 30 percent and Chavez’s 28 percent. The memo said Griego gained five points since late February, while Grisham gained six and Chávez lost nine.
And though it didn’t release a polling memo, the Chávez campaign said it had tracking numbers that had the race virtually tied – 26 percent for Chávez, 25 percent for Grisham, 24 percent for Griego and 25 percent undecided.
Unpacking the polls
What to make of all of this? Let’s unpack things a little more.
Grisham’s poll surveyed 402 likely Democratic primary voters between Thursday and Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points. Only 7 percent of those surveyed were undecided.
Griego’s poll surveyed 400 likely Democratic primary voters on Tuesday and Wednesday and has the same margin of error as Lujan-Grisham’s – and the same percentage of voters who were undecided.
Chávez’s tracking numbers didn’t come with a margin of error, but his campaign said it was an automated survey of 1,929 Democrats conducted this weekend.
As always, the difference may come down to methodology. There’s actually not a lot of difference between the Grisham and Griego polls. Chávez might be using different methodology.
On one hand, his tracking numbers might be suspect because they didn’t come with a formal memo that listed a margin of error. On the other hand, I was surprised by the low number of undecideds in the other two polls.
Grisham spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said it’s not surprising: The Grisham and Griego polls have lower undecided numbers because they used live interviewers who push people to answer questions, while Chávez used an automated system that makes it easier to not make a choice.
“There have been weeks of coverage, ads and mail. The election is in two weeks. It doesn’t surprise me that there are few undecideds,” he said.
Difficult to predict
Gallegos may be right. So maybe the race is closer to what’s indicated by the Grisham and Griego polls.
But there’s a more intuitive way to look at this race that I think is important in a situation in which three different polls paint three different pictures of where the race stands.
Chávez is by far the most well-known of the three. He started out this race with much higher name ID. It makes sense that he would have led early in the polls.
But the former Albuquerque mayor was also booted from office in 2009. The longer you’re in office, the more people there are out there who don’t like you. Chávez has a ceiling. I’m not sure where it is, but it’s there.
In addition, Grisham and Griego have outraised Chávez. They’ve been on TV with big ad buys, and he has not.
I’m assuming that’s because he’s been saving his limited money for one big ad buy at the end. So, while the others have spent the last few weeks gaining ground and maybe even pulling ahead of Chávez, he might spend the rest of the race experiencing a little surge of his own.
Perhaps the other two have the funds to keep pace with Chávez on TV and stop him from gaining much ground. Perhaps not.
And perhaps he’s already reached his ceiling. At this point, I’d rather be Grisham or Griego than Chávez.
But Chávez’s base is probably among the most reliable voters – those who are sure to turn out on Election Day. I wouldn’t count him out.
As far as I’m concerned, this race could be roughly tied at a third apiece on June 5. It probably won’t turn out that way, but that’s how difficult I believe it is to predict.
In other words, it’s going to be a wild couple of weeks.
4 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.
Leave a response
You must be logged in to post a comment.