August 29, 2010 —
Gov. Bill Richardson's job approval
rating has plummeted as he nears the end of his second term and nearly two out
of three New Mexico voters think the state is on the wrong track.
The Democratic governor's approval
rating has eroded significantly in the last two years, a new Journal Poll found.
The state has been hit hard by recession and budget cutting has followed. The
administration has been clouded by investigations of pay-to-play politics.
Just 33 percent of proven, likely
voters surveyed statewide Aug. 23-27 said they approved of the job Richardson is
Sixty-three percent said they disapproved of the governor's performance and 4
percent were undecided or wouldn't say.
were almost evenly split in their evaluation of Richardson's performance, while
90 percent of Republicans expressed disapproval.
ago, in an October 2008 Journal Poll, 61 percent of likely New Mexico voters
said they approved of Richardson's job performance. A Journal Poll in September
2009 found his job performance rating at 51 percent approval.
governor was popular in his first term, but things have turned south for him,"
said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc. of Albuquerque, which
conducted the Journal Poll.
economy, high unemployment and the state budget crunch are partly to blame,
One of the pay-to-play inquiries — a federal investigation into the state's
dealings with a California financial firm that landed $1.4 million in state
business — led to Richardson's withdrawal from a Commerce secretary Cabinet
nomination by President Barack Obama.
end, no charges were filed in the case. However, Sanderoff said the perception
of scandal in Santa Fe has damaged Richardson's reputation.
don't have to be indicted to have those controversies affect your popularity,"
Meanwhile, Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the governor's "many
accomplishments" will be favorably remembered.
major difference between 2006, when Governor Richardson won 69 percent of the
vote, and today, is the worldwide financial crisis that has devastated so many
families," Gallegos said Saturday. "People are justifiably nervous about the
long run, Governor Richardson's many accomplishments — from lower taxes and his
investment in education to modern highways and fewer drunk drivers on our roads
— will be remembered by New Mexicans," Gallegos said.
Richardson was first elected governor in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 with the
support of nearly 69 percent of voters. He campaigned for the Democratic
nomination for president in 2007 but dropped out in January 2008, the election
year, after trailing in a big candidate field.
Journal Poll was conducted by Research and Polling Inc. in Albuquerque and is
based on telephone interviews Aug. 23-27 with 403 proven voters statewide who
said they are likely to vote in November. The survey results have a margin of
error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
voters also had a dim view of the state's general direction.
percent of voters surveyed in the Journal Poll said the state is headed down the
wrong track, while 28 percent said it is generally moving in the right
more likely than women to say the state is on the wrong track — 66 percent to 58
percent — and at least a plurality of voters in all regions of the state said
the state was headed in the wrong direction.
Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to say the state was on the
wrong track, with just 7 percent of Republicans surveyed saying they think
things in New Mexico are headed in the right direction.
affiliation is a very big predictor of how people feel," Sanderoff said.
"Overall, however, people are not optimistic right now about the way we're
were more likely than Anglos to say the state is on the right track. They also
were more likely to approve of Richardson's job performance.
Sanderoff pointed out a majority of Hispanics surveyed — 57 percent —
disapproved of Richardson's performance while 39 percent said they approve of
the job he's doing.
Richardson is currently the nation's lone Hispanic governor and the governor has
traditionally enjoyed staunch backing from Hispanics.
were always a group he could count on for support," Sanderoff said.
other things, Richardson has spoken out against Arizona's new immigration law
and signed into law New Mexico's law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain