Berry leads in Albuquerque mayor's race poll

Posted at: 05/19/2013 10:46 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Shaun Griswold,

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry received 59 percent of support in a poll conducted by KOB about the city’s upcoming mayoral race.

Retired public safety officer and attorney Pete Dinelli received 17 percent of support in the poll, and 9 percent of voters said they support retired Albuquerque police Sgt. Paul Heh. 15 percent said they are undecided.

The poll is part of a new KOB series called New Mexico Speaks.

It was conducted with the research company Survey USA.

"I think the voters of Albuquerque appreciate the steady and responsible leadership that has guided us through some tough economic times in the last several years,” Berry said in response to the poll.

Dinelli said he is ready to shift his campaign.

"We're putting together a very strong grassroots approach and we are now going to be able to talk about the issues,” he said.

Heh was surprised at his support.

“I'm already at 9 percent and I haven't even started campaigning,” Heh said. “I've absolutely done nothing about campaigning yet."

KOB reporter Chris Ramirez breaks down the poll and what it means for the race for mayor.

"These early numbers are telling,” Ramirez said. “If second place candidate Pete Dinelli wants to win this race, he needs to keep his voters, take Paul Heh's, take the undecideds and find a way to chip away at some of Richard Berry's supporters. He has five months to do that."

Dinelli pulled much of his support from the southeast area and pushed his record as a way to gain more votes.

"I'm very optimistic that once we start talking about the issues and comparing our records there will be a dramatic shift and change in the votes, and I believe come October, I'll be winning the election,” he said.

Berry showed strong support in the northeast part of Albuquerque.

"When you look at the map of Albuquerque and look at the things that we do, we are working all over the city so we're just going to be doing the same thing,” he said.

Heh picked up the most of his support from voters in the southwest part of the city.

"Albuquerque has to be known as the comeback city and under my administration it will be,” Heh said. “There's not going to be anymore of this top of the bad list. We're going to come back and come back strong.”

Voters polled said their most important issues in this election is the city’s economy, followed by crime and the integrity of the police department.

Throughout the week, New Mexico Speaks will discuss issues voters find important and what they have to say about upcoming elections. Governor Susana Martinez approval ratings will be released on Monday.