Sunday, February 21, 2010

Domenici Jr. Leads in NMSU Poll

Actually Pete Domenici Jr. is in second place behind perennial candidate I. Dunno.

The poll is the first scientific one I've seen for the governor's primary. It was conducted Feb. 9-13 by political science students at NMSU. 444 registered Republicans who voted in at least one of the last two GOP primaries. They were asked which candidate they supported for governor.

Results (including those who said they are leaning toward a candidate):

Not sure or refused to answer: 42.6 percent
Pete Domenici Jr.: 29.3 percent
Susana Martinez: 11.5 percent
Allen Weh: 7.4 percent
Doug Turner: 6.8 percent
Janice Arnold-Jones: 2.5 percent.

Name recognition apparently is a big factor here. More than 36 percent named Domenici as a candidate without prompting. (His dad, Pete Sr. was a U.S. senator from New Mexico for 36 years.) More than 21 percent named former state GOP Chairman Weh. Martinez was named by 18-plus percent, while more than 16 percent named Turner. A little less than 8 percent named Arnold-Jones without prompting.

In today's Las Cruces Sun, spokesmen for two of the candidates disputed the poll. Weh's spokesman said the poll was biased, claiming Jose Garcia, the NMSU professor in charge of the class that conducted the poll, is a Martinez supporter. Garcia denied it, pointing out that he's a Democrat.

Arnold-Jones' spokesman apparently consulted the Golden Treasury of Campaign Clich├ęs, when he responded, "The only poll that matters is the one taken by the voters on Election Day, and I am confident the voters will respond to Representative Arnold-Jones' message."

It should be noted that the poll was taken before the recent controversy over Domenici Jr.'s admission in a radio interview that he tried cocaine and marijuana as a young man and his stumbling statement that about which Republicans could beat Democrat Diane Denish in November. (He initially said none of the GOP candidates could win, then went on to correct himself -- sort of -- saying he thinks he can win, but not all the Republicans could.)

How that big number of undecideds reacts to that interview could be a major consideration in this race.

The full poll with all the questions is below.

20100220 GOPPoll.results