A poll shook up the political outlook in New Mexico... again.
This time it was a poll by Public Policy Polling
, a pollster with ties to liberal groups and the Democratic Party. But the poll also was in line with many other polls in the Senate race -- every poll since July has shown Martin Heinrich with a lead between 7 and 9 percent over Heather Wilson.
The Presidential race is murkier. It showed a double-digit lead for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, but did not include Gary Johnson, at the behest of the conservation coalition that paid for the poll. After double-digit leads by Obama for many polls, two straight polls showed his lead at just five percent -- including a July poll by PPP.
As The Word has said many times, the fact that neither the campaign is expending resources in the state is perhaps the best indicator that the state is closer to double-digits in favor of Obama than five points for Obama.
On to the Word:
- The big news on Wednesday was the ruling by the state Supreme Court that says Albuquerque voters will decide on the minimum wage in November. It is a blow for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, but a face-saving victory for labor groups that gathered petitions to place the question on the ballot. It will be an interesting question to watch come November -- especially for those who make minimum wage.
- Dan McKay has the Albuquerque Journal's take.
Terri Cole, president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, said in a phone interview later that her group would work hard to defeat the measure. She noted that a similar ballot proposal failed in 2005.
The election in 2012, a presidential year, will be a very, very different demographic.
- The U.S. Census showed that poverty rose in New Mexico -- but the rate of those without health insurance dropped. New Mexico Voices for Children issued a press release on the numbers:
“The increase in poverty and the decrease in household income can be attributed to New Mexico’s slow recovery from the national recession,” said Gerry Bradley, Research Director for New Mexico Voices for Children. “Most of the employment problem is due to the loss of 3,900 jobs in the public sector over the year—most of them in K-12 and higher education. The private sector is adding jobs, but very slowly,” he added.
Some of the gains in health insurance coverage can be attributed to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has required private insurers to allow parents to cover their children up to age 26. “Even though the majority of the provisions in the federal health care reform don’t go into effect until 2014, it is clearly having a positive impact, particularly for young New Mexicans,” Bradley said.
- Gov. Susana Martinez announced that Air USA will relocate its headquarters to Albuquerque from Quincy, Illinois. The move is projected to employ up to 200.
- The latest numbers from the Albuquerque Journal poll conducted by Research & Polling: Voters oppose social promotion. Voters think teacher pay should be tied to student improvement.
- A note on Heinrich turning down the PBS debate: There are debates scheduled for KOB, KOAT, KRQE and Texas-based KFOX-TV (which reaches the Las Cruces area). So there will be plenty of opportunities for voters to see Heinrich and Wilson onstage.
A reader wrote about the irony of Wilson, a Republican, hoping for debates on publicly-funded PBS, a service that Republicans have voted to defund time and time again.
- State Sen. Tim Keller is putting up campaign signs in Vietnamese. His district, which includes the International District in Albuquerque, has a bloc of Vietnamese voters. Keller's opponent accuses Keller of trying to reinvent himself.
- It's no secret that Congress is full of wealthy Americans. Roll Call lists the richest of the rich in their top-50 list. U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., clocks in at number 50. Retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman dropped off the list, but don't cry for him -- it just means his net worth (in the very broad terms that members of Congress are required to report) is less than $6.14 million.
On Pearce's $7.48 million net worth:
The wealthy former oil field services company owner left the Hill following an unsuccessful Senate bid in 2008 but won a return ticket to Congress two years later - and with his victory, a place on Roll Call's 50 Richest list.
Pearce's biggest holding was at least $5 million of stock in Trinity Industries Inc., an equipment rental company of which Pearce is president. His wife had a stake in Lea County Bancshares worth at least $1 million. In 2011, the lawmaker also reported selling an airplane that netted at least $500,000.
- Mayor Richard Berry and the Albuquerque City Council don't agree on whether or not ticket prices at the Albuquerque Zoo should increase.
Mayor Berry's plan included a three-dollar increase for adult admission. Instead of $7, adults must now pay $10 to get in. Children and seniors are now paying $4.50 - it was previously a $3 admission fee.
- SFR looks at the battle of campaign offices between Obama and Romney in New Mexico.
- Conservative Super PAC Americans for Prosperity will hold campaign stops to try to rally voters against Obama in New Mexico.
- The Weekly Alibi looks at a widow who received a settlement from the Albuquerque Police Department after she said APD should have already arrested the man who murdered her husband in a home invasion. A very powerful piece.
- New Mexico is sixth in the nation in donor registration rates, the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department announced on Wednesday.
New Mexico exceeded four out of five donor designation criteria in 2010 – over 50 percent donor designation rate, the rate at which individuals join the state registry, and over 40 percent organ, tissue and eye donors authorized by the state registry.
- City leaders in Santa Fe want to meet with the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe after the much-criticized burning of Zozobra.
- Fall enrollment at NMSU dropped.
- Yup, it's that time of the year. San Juan County Democratic Party volunteers say that Democratic signs are being stolen. No link, because the link is dead on the Farmington Daily-Times website.
Just for kicks, ask a campaign worker what they think about campaign signs off the record over a beer. It will be fun.
- The UNM Cancer Center had their computers hacked and personal information was released about cancer patients -- possibly including social security numbers.
- I'm sure this won't cause a controversy.
Coach-led prayers will not be permitted in Portales City League Sports to avoid possible legal issues, according to Director Mike Doerr.I remember that in high school soccer, we recited The Lord's Prayer before every game (this is where I learned the Presbyterian version of the prayer is slightly different from the Catholic version) -- but the coach was not involved.