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Poll: Keller Up By 19 Points

This probably isn't a surprise to anyone who has been following the mayoral race: Tim Keller has a 19-point lead over Dan Lewis, according to a new, Albuquerque Journal poll.

Keller hast the support of 53 percent of likely voters in the Nov. 14 runoff election. Lewis came in at 34 percent. Eleven percent of likely voters were undecided.

The poll was conducted by Brian Sanderoff's firm, Research and Polling, Inc., which has a reputation of being the most accurate polling firm in the state.

Why are the results no surprise?

First, in the Oct. 3 general election, Keller had 39 percent of the vote while Lewis had 23 percent.

And second, Lewis simply hasn't done very well in the debates leading up to the Nov. 14 election. At times he has seemed stiff and robotic, constantly repeating rote phrases like how he is going to make Albuquerque a bad place to be a criminal. That, of course, sounds like the current mayor, Richard Berry, whose job approval rating has plunged in the past year.

Why would you want to sound like a mayor that people can't stand anymore?

Third, rather than touting and explaining his crime-fighting plan, and his other ideas about how he would govern, Lewis has attacked Keller. He's claimed that Keller is basically a friend of murderers and pedophiles, and he even dumped on Keller for moving to a nicer neighborhood two years ago.

It all smacks of desperation, and people, in general, are turned off by desperate candidates.

And if you take Lewis' "he moved to a nicer neighborhood" attack to an absurd extreme, it would mean that no one can be a mayoral candidate unless they live in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Of course, Lewis never mentioned that he lives in a comfortable neighborhood on the northwest side of town.

Then there's Keller. He has seemed relaxed, and, most importantly, thoughtful. Ask Keller a question and you get the feeling that he actually thinks about the answer.

And correctly and pragmatically, Keller has said the city would have to find a way to make the hated and despised Albuquerque Rapid Transit project work. He's talked about getting rid of the bus-only lanes on Central, opening up more left-hand turn lanes, and possibly running the ART buses to the airport.

Lewis has criticized Keller for that, and has mischaracterized Keller as being a lover of ART. And yet, Lewis has offered no post-Berry ART plan of his own.

So, what happens now with two days left before the election?

Polls can have two effects; they can become self-fulfilling prophesies, or they can energize the base of a candidate who is down to get out and vote.

The latter usually happens when a candidate is down just a few to maybe 10 points. But not when a candidate is down 19 points.

So I predict that a lot of those who said they'd vote for Lewis will abandon him, and that the vast majority of the undecided voters will go to Keller.

I predict that Keller with win with 60 to 65 percent of the vote.

The only thing that matters now in Tuesday's election is the District 5 City Council race. The issue for voters in that district is whether they want Keller, a democrat and a progressive, to have a veto-proof council.

That race is between Republican Robert Aragon and Democrat Cynthia Borrego. If Borrego wins, Democrats would have six council seats, while Republicans would have three. It takes a supermajority of six votes to override a mayoral veto.

It's not likely that Keller would be vetoing bills approved by fellow democrats and progressives, anyway. But, with six allies on the council it would mean that he and they could do whatever they want.

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