Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Slightly more Albuquerque voters are willing to cast ballots for Tim Keller this fall than think he is doing a good job as mayor, according to a new Journal poll.
Although 53% of likely voters in the city say they have voted for Keller or will vote for him, his approval rating in the same poll is 50%.
Thirty-six percent of likely voters disapprove of the job he is doing, and 12% say they have mixed feelings.
Keller, who is now wrapping up his first term in office, has historically enjoyed higher ratings; his job approval rating was 60% a year ago and 61% in 2018.
Brian Sanderoff of Research & Polling Inc. said there are likely several reasons for the decline, including crime. With months still to go in 2021, Albuquerque already has broken its annual homicide record. Meanwhile, Keller’s mayoral opponents have spent months highlighting the city’s ongoing crime challenges.
The pandemic may be a factor too. Surveys have shown most residents thought the city government did well responding to COVID-19, which could have contributed to Keller’s 60% rating a year ago but might not be a large consideration in voters’ minds today.
Even beyond that, Sanderoff said, is the normal waning of support.
“It’s hard to maintain high approval ratings during a mayor’s term,” said Sanderoff, whose Albuquerque-based firm conducted the poll.
Not surprisingly, voters from the Democratic mayor’s own party perceive his job performance better than Republicans.
Among Democrats, Keller has a 72% approval rating and 14% disapproval rating. It is nearly the opposite with Republicans – 18% approve, and 70% disapprove.
Just a year ago, 33% of Republicans had given him a favorable review. Sanderoff attributes the falloff at least in part to Keller’s more conservative mayoral challengers, Manuel Gonzales and Eddy Aragon, hammering the message that he’s not done well combating crime.
Independents are split on Keller, with 40% approving and 41% disapproving.
In other demographic breakdowns, women are more likely to give him positive reviews, with 56% approving, compared with 44% of men.
Although 80% of survey respondents who said they were voting for Keller in the Nov. 2 election say they approve of how he’s doing as mayor, 12% say they have mixed feelings and 7% say they disapprove.
That is likely a statement on the overall mayoral field, Sanderoff said.
“They don’t like the alternatives,” he said.
The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, citywide sample of 536 likely regular local election voters, including those who voted in the 2017 and/or 2019 local elections and a small sample of newly registered voters likely to vote in 2021.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 15 through Oct. 21. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 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 (82%) and landlines (18%) were used.