October 4, 2016

Poll shows high support for death penalty, Martinez approval rating underwater

The Albuquerque Journal continues to releases pieces of its recent poll of likely New Mexico voters.

The poll was conducted by Albuquerque-based Research and Polling, Inc.

In one question, the Journal showed about two-thirds of New Mexicans want to bring back the death penalty for those “convicted of killing children police officers or correctional officers.” That is the proposal that’s currently in front of the Legislature during the special session, and which the House will hear later this week.

That showed 65 percent supported the death penalty in those situations, while 28 percent opposed.

This comes even as a Pew Research Center poll found the support for the death penalty nationwide is the lowest in decades. That question, however, did not delve into the specific crimes, only asking about murder in general.

When asking how voters believe the Legislature should fix the budget deficit, 59 percent of likely New Mexican voters supported bridging the state’s nearly $600 million budget deficit with “a combination of government cutbacks and a tax increase on items such as alcohol, tobacco, or gasoline” while 31 percent supported “deeper cuts to state government programs and services with no tax increase.”

There were no tax increase proposals brought forward during this legislative session, though a bid to delay a corporate tax cut by two years failed in the House.

From the Journal:

“I think people recognize the problem and are willing to spread the pain with cuts to services balanced with possible tax increases on items such as alcohol, gas and tobacco,” said Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc.

And in a result released Tuesday, the Journal poll found that Martinez’s approval rating is well below 50 percent.

The poll found 42 percent of likely voters approved of Martinez’s job performance, compared to 44 percent who disapproved.

This appears to be the first poll to show Martinez with more who disapprove of her job performance than those who approve. A poll by Public Policy Polling for NM Political Report in August showed an identical 43 percent who approved and disapproved of her job performance. A Morning Consult poll from May through early September showed Martinez’s approval rating at 50 percent.

Sanderoff told the Journal Martinez’s lackluster approval ratings are likely because of the economy.

Still, Martinez’s approval rating was higher than that of the Legislature. Only 29 percent approved of the way the Legislature is handling its job, compared to 46 percent who disapproved.

The poll was conducted before the current special session, which began last Friday.