Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Support among liberal voters has helped propel Deb Haaland to a strong lead in the race that could make her the first Native American woman elected to the U.S. House, according to a new Journal Poll.
Haaland, a former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, had support from 49 percent of likely, proven voters in the telephone survey, conducted by Research & Polling Inc. last week.
Republican Janice Arnold-Jones won support from 41 percent of those surveyed in the 1st Congressional District race, and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton had 3 percent. The remainder of those surveyed, about 8 percent, were undecided or wouldn’t say.
Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling, said Haaland also has a chance to grow her lead by Election Day.
“Democratic voters, in general, are more enthusiastic this election cycle,” Sanderoff said, “and Haaland has a proven record of bringing out some progressive voters who typically don’t vote in low-turnout elections. If she were to repeat this feat, then her lead will, in all likelihood, widen.”
Haaland, a member of Laguna Pueblo, is one of just two candidates across the country this year who could become the first Native American woman to join the U.S. House. Democrat Sharice Davids, a member of Ho-Chunk Nation, is running against an incumbent Republican in Kansas.
Haaland has highlighted her native ancestry as part of the campaign, in addition to emphasizing efforts to combat climate change, promote clean energy and ensure equality for LGBT residents.
“Congress has never heard a voice like mine,” she likes to say.
Sanderoff said Haaland’s “unique profile and biography” appear to resonate with voters. She won a hard-fought primary election that also featured a former U.S. attorney for New Mexico and a retired law professor.
In the Journal Poll, Haaland had support from 93 percent of voters who identified themselves as liberal. She also led among moderates.
Arnold-Jones, a former state representative and Albuquerque city councilor, had support from 79 percent of conservatives.
But she faces a variety of challenges, including a national environment that’s more favorable for Democrats, Sanderoff said. The party in control of the White House – Republicans, in this case – tends to have a tough time at mid-term elections.
Albuquerque’s political behavior is also starting to lean more Democratic, Sanderoff said, similar to large urban areas in other parts of the country.
“All of these things make the race an uphill political battle for the Republican,” Sanderoff said.
Inside the numbers
Haaland led among both Hispanic and Anglo voters in the Journal Poll. The sample sizes for other racial groups were too small to report their results with accuracy.
Princeton, the Libertarian, had little support among Democrats or Republicans. He climbed to 14 percent among other voters, though that still left him last among the three candidates.
Arnold-Jones had support of 82 percent of Republicans and also led among voters 65 and older, according to the Journal Poll. She has built broad name recognition through a long career in public service, Sanderoff said.
“Despite a tough political environment for Republicans,” he said, “Janice Arnold-Jones, being a former state representative and city councilor, is a formidable candidate who should not be taken lightly.”
Haaland, nonetheless, has a significant financial advantage. She had about $241,000 in cash on hand through June 30, according reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Arnold-Jones had about $43,000, and Princeton had $407.
The 1st Congressional District covers much of the Albuquerque area and a chunk of central New Mexico. Democrats have held the seat for about 10 years.
The race is wide open this year because incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for governor rather than seek re-election.
About the poll
The Journal Poll is based on a scientific sample of 410 registered voters who cast ballots in the 2014 and 2016 general elections and said they were very likely to vote in this year’s election.
The poll was conducted Sept. 7-13. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples.
All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone.
Both cellphone numbers (67 percent) and landlines (33 percent) of proven general election voters were used.