2021 ABQ Mayoral Race

Campaigns Spin Mayoral Poll: Keller 47%, Manny 21%, Aragon 11%

A new poll is sending mixed signals about the Albuquerque mayoral race, but the campaigns are spinning the data in their favor.

The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling and published by The Paper. shows Incumbent Mayor Tim Keller with a wide lead over his challengers. Keller polled at 47%, followed by Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales at 21% and talk radio host Eddy Aragon with 11%. Twenty-one percent of respondents were unsure.

For Keller, the poll proves he’s all but assured re-election. He needs only 3% of the undecideds to eke out a victory on November 2, 2021, and avoid a runoff in December. City ordinance requires a 50% majority on Election Day. If any candidate falls short of that threshold, the top two vote-getters face off in a December runoff.

“We have built substantial momentum as we head into the last month of the campaign,” Keller campaign manager Neri Holguin said in an email Tuesday, “and we will continue to make our case to the public that Tim Keller has built a strong foundation to reduce crime and homelessness, added better-paying jobs, and kept our families and kids safe and engaged.”

For Gonzales and Aragon, the poll proves that Keller lacks the support to win a plurality of voters, and that the 53% who don’t support him will grow as the two campaigns start their media blitz this week.

“This poll shows Mayor Keller is in big trouble,” Gonzales campaign manager Shannan Calland said in an email Tuesday. “Mayor Keller is the incumbent and 53% of voters are already rejecting his candidacy, before we have even started our advertising campaign. Once we begin taking Manny’s message to the voters, we are confident the anti-Keller majority will gravitate to our campaign.”

Aragon’s campaign outright declared “There will be a runoff in the 2021 Mayoral Election!” in an afternoon release, making the case that 11% is a high mark considering Aragon has only been an official candidate for a month.

“Billboards are going up, commercials are coming out, flyers will soon blanket the city and dozens of supporters are already going door to door to talk about Eddy’s plans to clean up our city–not only in the streets but in the halls of local government.”

Conventional wisdom says Keller will take the Progressive vote that CD1 candidate Melanie Stansbury rode to a 60% majority in a June special election, while Gonzales and Aragon will split the Conservative vote, putting Keller over the top in an easy re-election. 

But with COVID, crime, and homelessness at the top of everyone’s mind, these aren’t exactly “conventional” times. Despite Keller’s early lead and the power of the incumbency, the disparity between his 47% support now and the 62% he won with in 2017 shows a chink in Keller’s armor that his opponents will seek to exploit in the final weeks of the campaign.

The poll, according to The Paper., surveyed 798 likely Albuquerque voters on September 23 and 24, 2021. 

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