Despite crime issue, most ABQ voters feel safe - Albuquerque Journal

Despite crime issue, most ABQ voters feel safe

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque residents have been bombarded with television ads, flyers and social media posts highlighting crime in the city, but a majority of likely voters still feel some semblance of safety.

While an overwhelming majority (87%) is concerned about crime, 61% say they feel either very safe or somewhat safe in Albuquerque, according to a new Journal Poll.

Among supporters of mayoral candidates Manuel Gonzales and Eddy Aragon, the numbers of those who feel safe shrinks to around 37%, while more than three-fourths of Mayor Tim Keller’s supporters reported feeling safe.

“There are just dramatic, significant differences in the perceptions on safety, based on candidate preference. Keller supporters feel safe, Gonzales and Aragon supporters do not,” said Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff, who conducted the poll. “… Now, does that mean that people who are really concerned about crime have found an alternative candidate? Perhaps. The correlation is there; we can’t talk about causation.”

Meanwhile, a solid majority of those polled (61%) approve of the job Albuquerque police officers are doing. “We’re finding that, among Albuquerque’s likely voters, there’s significant support or approval for APD officers,” said Sanderoff, president of Albuquerque-based Research & Polling Inc. However, approval changed with age.

Only 44% of voters ages 18 to 34 said they approve of the job officers are doing compared with 69% of those 65 and older.

“As age increases, so do approval ratings for APD (officers). That’s interesting that older people are more supportive than younger,” Sanderoff said.

Approval for officers dipped most among Keller supporters, at 56%; Aragon supporters showed the highest support for officers, at 73%.

While overall crime has dropped in the city due to reduced property crime, Albuquerque has in 2021 already broken its annual homicide record, with over two months still to go. The issue has dominated the mayor’s race.

On the safety question, voters were asked: Overall, how safe do you feel in Albuquerque?

While 18% of voters said they feel very safe and 43% said they feel somewhat safe, 23% said they felt somewhat unsafe and 12% said they felt very unsafe.

The poll found 15% of women said they feel very safe compared with 22% of men.

The disparity in feelings of safety widened with political party and mayoral support. The poll found 76% of Democrats said they felt safe in Albuquerque compared with 38% of Republicans. Among Keller supporters, 75% of voters said they felt safe, compared with 36% and 38% of Gonzales and Aragon supporters, respectively.

“I’ve noticed over the years that, when you ask a person, ‘how safe are you?’ – if the chief executive, whether it be a mayor, or a governor, is a Democrat, the Democrats were like – ‘Oh, I’m safe.’ There’s something about people relating it to how they feel about the chief executive. And I see that trend here to an extent,” Sanderoff said, adding that the same holds true for Republicans.

Sanderoff said the poll revealed “earth-shaking percentages” of people who are concerned about the crime rate.

The poll found 79% of voters between the ages of 18 to 34 were concerned about the crime rate, compared with 90% of those 65 and older. Among Democrats, 80% of voters are concerned about the crime rate compared with 96% of Republicans.

 

Among Keller supporters, 81% are concerned about the crime rate, compared with 99% and 98%, respectively, of Gonzales and Aragon voters.

“Wow, it doesn’t get any stronger than that,” Sanderoff said of the results.

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.

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