Very few New Mexicans are feeling optimistic about the state’s progress, according to a Common Cause New Mexico poll released Wednesday.
The survey, regularly put out in advance of the primary elections, shows a drop in the number of people who feel the state is on the right track since the last pre-primary survey in 2014. This year’s primary is June 5.
In 2014, the survey showed 38 percent believed New Mexico was headed in the right direction but, this year, that number dropped to 24 percent.
“New Mexico has had a hard time rebounding economically and population-wise compared to our neighboring states. I think people do get frustrated by this, plus crime has been a hot topic in many communities,” said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the survey.
At the same time, the poll captured continued strong support for government ethics and transparency reform.
Ninety percent of those surveyed strongly or somewhat support requiring “all large political contributions from individuals, corporations, political action committees (PACs), nonprofits and unions to be made public.” The same amount of support was recorded in 2014.
And 91 percent of those surveyed said they’d like to see lobbyists forced to make public the bills and subjects they are advocating for.
“Clearly there is strong support levels among New Mexicans for your standard good government reform,” Sanderoff said.
The poll also shows 54 percent support for making legislator positions paid and 65 percent support for lengthening the short Legislative sessions.
In 2014, there was 85 percent support for the creation of an independent state ethics commission, with 66 percent of registered voters expressing strong support. Such a commission has been debated for decades in the state.
And this year, voters will have a chance to vote on creating one after legislators in 2017 approved a ballot measure for a constitutional amendment.
“That’s an example of the Legislature making headway on something good government groups have been advocating on for decades,” Sanderoff said.
Common Cause, the sponsor of the poll, has championed the ethics commission.
Common Cause describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit group committed to honest, open and accountable government, and to encouraging citizen participation in democracy. It commissioned the poll and released results Wednesday.
The poll surveyed 452 registered voters in New Mexico by phone between Jan. 16-24 and results have a margin of error of about 4.6 percentage points.