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Common Cause New Mexico’s 2019 Poll Reveals Appetite for Reform

Jan 18, 2019

Common Cause New Mexico rolled out the results from its annual poll today, which revealed an increasing appetite for institutional and procedural changes in the NM legislature. The telephone poll of 450 registered voters, randomly selected by Research and Polling Inc. for the December 2018 survey, asked voters about a wide variety of campaign finance and transparency issues. In addition, there were some broader questions included the pool, which had a margin of error of 4.6%.

According to the results of the poll, 36% of those surveyed believed New Mexico was headed in the right direction, an increase of 12% over last year’s results. Thirty-eight percent believed it was on the wrong track, a decrease from last year’s 52%.  This relatively positive attitude was the highest that it’s been since 2015, when 41% of voters said that they believed the state was headed in the right direction.   

Two structural reforms got the thumbs up from respondents again this year with 68% in favor of lengthening the session, which meets for 30 days in even-numbered years and 60 days in odd-numbered years. Results also indicate that two-thirds (66%) want to pay legislators. New Mexico is currently the only state that does not pay its legislators a salary. Instead, they are paid a per diem and some expenses.

“The level of support for these two reforms just keeps increasing,” says Heather Ferguson, executive director of Common Cause New Mexico. Last year, 54% wanted to pay legislators and 65% wanted to extend the length of the legislative session. 

Both reforms would likely require a constitutional amendment, she added.

“For years, we’ve been told that the voters would never support these common-sense reforms to institutions constructed back in 1912,” Ferguson said.

Several measures also garnered very high levels of support including:

•94% support (84% strongly, 10% somewhat) requiring large political contributions from PACs, individuals, corporations, unions and non-profits be made public

•93% want lobbyists to disclose the bills and issues for which they are lobbying (up from 80% last year) 

•88% believe that it is important that elected officials be elected with the majority of votes

•83% say legislators should wait two years before becoming paid lobbyists

•82% favor opening primary elections to independents and unaffiliated voters

Among the poll’s other top results:

•52% believe that ads from Political Action Committees (PACs) had a large impact on the last election

•59% believe that limiting the amount of campaign contributions helps prevent corruption

•61% say they are more likely to support candidates who strongly support campaign finance reforms

• 54% believe that public campaign financing in elections for the Public Regulation Commission, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals should be expanded to include other judicial races

You can read the full report here: https://www.commoncause.org/new-mexico/resource/common-cause-new-mexico-2019-polling/

Common Cause New Mexico is dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process.