2022 Governor's Race

How Accurate Was KOB4 Poll? Data Shows Rural New Mexico Oversampled

The politicos of New Mexico were quick to dismiss the KOB4 poll released last week showing Mark Ronchetti with a 32-point lead over his next closest opponent, arguing that the poll either oversampled Bernalillo County or didn’t poll outside of the 505 at all.

“Most analysts we spoke with question that Dow, who has spent hundreds of thousands on TV ads, is in fourth place. They speculate that the poll may have oversampled ABQ where Ronchetti is strongest and under sampled rural areas where Dow has muscle.” 

— Joe Monahan blog, The House of New Mexico Politics

It turns out the opposite is true. 

According to data from SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll, 186 of the 505 Republicans who said they are likely to vote in the primary reported living in rural areas.  

That’s an oversampling of rural New Mexicans, not an undersampling.

According to the USDA and the latest Census data, 705,000 of the state’s 2.1 million population resides in rural New Mexico — or about 33%.

What It Means

The assumption of an urban bias implied that the support of gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Dow was underrepresented in the poll. Dow, a state representative from rural Truth or Consequences, was considered the early front-runner in the race before former weatherman Mark Ronchetti announced his candidacy in October.

Dow finished a distant, and no doubt surprising, fourth place in the KOB4 poll. Nine percent of likely Republican voters said they would support Dow, compared to 44% for Ronchetti, 12% for Block, and 10% for Zanetti.

Ronchetti performed expectedly better among urban New Mexico, with 52%, he also outperformed Dow among rural voters polled, 44% to 14%. 

The outcome was all the more surprising considering that Dow has raised and spent the second-most amount of money in the 2022 Republican primary so far. Counting the latest financial disclosures, Dow spent $840,000 — 20% less than Ronchetti’s $1.05 million — and 27% more than second- and third-place finishers Jay Block and Greg Zanetti combined.

Fundraising is not the be-all-end-all of campaigning, but, like polls, it’s a gauge of voter support. And as of now, Ronchetti’s 32-point lead overall — and 35-point lead over Dow — indicates that Dow’s impressive fundraising so far has not translated into voter support.

The GOP primary is June 7, 2022.

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