Common Cause: Nearly four-in-five of New Mexico voters believe there is corruption in New Mexico politics

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Common Cause New Mexico released a poll today showing that four-in-five New Mexicans believe corruption exists in New Mexico politics – mostly because of the overwhelming influence of money in politics.

Interestingly, their poll also shows Governor Susana Martinez’s job approval rating down to  55%. That’s down 11 points in 7 months.  (a May 2013 SurveyUSA poll found Martinez approval at 66%).

Read the Full Common Cause/Research & Polling Poll on our page here.

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Nearly four-in-five of New Mexico voters believe there is corruption in New Mexico politics

Albuquerque—Common Cause New Mexico (CCNM) today releases December 2013 polling by Research and Polling, Inc. on money in politics in New Mexico. The numbers are overwhelming, and show that New Mexico voters believe corruption in politics is alive and well in our state.


“There is an old saying around the Roundhouse that ‘perception is reality,’ and this poll shows that perception is also competing with reality across New Mexico,” says CCNM’s executive director Viki Harrison. “The vast majority of elected officials in New Mexico are hard-working, ethical people who want the best for our state, and Common Cause New Mexico wants voters and legislators to know there are simple ways to return voter trust to government,” Harrison added.


Some of the poll’s key findings from registered New Mexico voters include:


  • 65% of voters think elected officials are more responsive to lobbyists than voters
  • 79% of voters believe corruption in New Mexico politics is a problem
  • 80% of voters believe the amount of influence that large campaign donors have on politicians is a problem
  • 77% of voters feel the impact that large campaign donors have on the outcome of elections is a problem
  • 87% of voters support requiring that all large political contributions from individuals, corporations, PACs, non-profits or unions be made public
  • 78% of the voters surveyed also support requiring former legislators to wait at least two years after their term ends before they are able to become paid lobbyists to the legislature
  • 77% of voters support the State Legislature banning elected officials from taking contributions from the industries they regulate
  • 64% of voters would be more likely to support a candidate who strongly pushes for campaign finance and ethics reforms relating to money in politics when making decisions about supporting candidates for New Mexico office


There is also strong bi-partisan support for legislation supported by CCNM around public financing and disclosure to be heard in the 2014 legislative session which begins next week.


Public financing: Voters were informed that in 2013 a bill passed both the New Mexico House and Senate (but failed to become law) that would change the current public campaign financing system for judges and public regulation commissioners by establishing matching funds for candidates who run a publicly financed campaign and agree not to take contributions over $100. Overall seven-in-ten-voters say they support the legislature bringing up the bill again this year. There is bi-partisan support for the legislation as 73% of Republicans, 71% of independents, and 70% of Democrats support bringing up this bill again in 2014.


Public disclosure of money in election campaigns: Voters were also informed that a bill was proposed earlier this year that would have required more public disclosure and reporting from groups who spend money on political campaigns. The bill would have redefined certain types of campaign expenditures so that independent political groups who are spending money on campaigns would have to report who their donors are and how the money is being spent. The vast majority of voters (86%) are supportive of the measure, with 63% saying they strongly support the proposal compared to just 9% who say they are opposed.  Support for a bill to require more disclosure of campaign donations and expenditures cuts across demographic and party lines with over four-fifths of Democrats (89%), independents (87%) and Republicans (82%) offering their support for bringing up the bill again in 2014.


“The strong bi-partisan support for disclosure and public financing with New Mexico voters is not a surprise at all,” says Harrison. “The public financing bill passed the Senate 33-7 and the House 68-0 in 2013, and the Senate has passed the disclosure bill three times, the last two unanimously,” she added.


Many of the issues CCNM works on can help return trust to state elections and the legislative process in New Mexico, including:


  • passing a meaningful disclosure bill;
  • fixing our state’s public financing system for judges and PRC commissioners;
  • creating a truly independent ethics commission;
  • requiring legislators to wait a year or two before becoming lobbyists in New Mexico;
  • and implementing an independent redistricting commission.


You can see the full report, including summary, questionnaire, demographics and toplines, here.


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