KOB/SurveyUSA Poll: MLG holds 7-point lead over Ronchetti

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It’s not what it used to be, but it’s a lead.

In KOB’s final poll before Election Day, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham holds a 7-point gap over Republican Mark Ronchetti, 46% – 39%, with just a week left of early voting. 

Ronchetti and his supporters have been pounding the television airwaves with ads critical of the governor’s settlement with a former staffer who accused her of sexual misconduct, as well as her prison policies. He has halved what was a 16-point lead in the same poll at the beginning of October. 

“Momentum is great, but can you overcome that advantage?” said Ken Alper, president of SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll among 650 likely voters from Oct. 21-26. The poll’s credibility interval is 4.9 percentage points.

Lujan Grisham, seeking a second term in Santa Fe, built her lead among women and Hispanic voters, where she has 16- and 20-point leads, respectively. While those leads are sizeable, they are less than the governor had earlier in October.

Late messaging might have changed some minds, Alper said, noting Ronchetti has vaulted past Lujan Grisham among voters concerned with crime. The poll showed it’s an issue that’s on the minds of nearly all voters as they cast their ballots; just 5% said it wouldn’t play a factor in their vote.

For their part, Lujan Grisham and her surrogates have aggressively challenged Ronchetti’s lack of executive experience and his stance on abortion. Voters concerned about reproductive rights are far more likely to favor the governor.

Libertarian Karen Bedonie ticked up a touch from the last poll, notching 5% support. An unusually large number of those polled said they still hadn’t made up their mind – 9% – but Alper acknowledged being undecided this late in a competitive race is an indicator that respondents are less likely to cast a ballot at all.

“You hate to say it as a pollster, but the reality is a good chunk of your ‘lean undecideds’ just don’t vote,” he said.

In the race for New Mexico’s top election post, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver leads Republican challenger – and election denier – Audrey Trujillo by the same 7-point margin, 43% – 36%. It’s the closest the race has polled since Labor Day.

Raúl Torrez, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, leads Republican Jeremy Gay by 10 percentage points, 47% – 37%.

In each of those races, a whopping 17% of likely voters said they were still undecided.

Early voting ends Saturday, Nov. 5 and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. KOB will have results throughout the evening.