Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poll Numbers on Chavez / Gonzalez / San Roman

The El Paso Times released polling data about the two state rep primaries and I'll dedicate this post to some analysis of the State Rep 76 race.

The race consists of the incumbent State Rep Norma Chavez, Naomi Gonzalez, and Tony San Roman.

The poll indicates that Chavez has 41.6% of the vote, Gonzalez has 30%, and San Roman 8.1%. Undecided voters made up 20.3% of the vote.

For some reason, people are wanting to write Chavez's political obituary already. It may be premature.

Lets take a look at political reality. Chavez had a bad session in terms of public relations. In fact, to say it was bad is an understatement. It was Hall of Fame bad publicity, most of which was her fault.

But lets continue with reality for a moment shall we? The poll shows Chavez with a comfortable lead of more than 11% in a multi-horse race. Thats a pretty sigficant lead in any race, but very significant in a multi-horse race.

Clearly she is not as strong as she was the last time she faced an opponent. But does this poll say more about Chavez's weakness or that of her opponent Naomi Gonzalez? Gonzalez has had the perfect storm to be elected. There is an over all anti-incumbent sentiment going on at the national and state level. Her main opponent had a really bad year in terms of publicity. Gonzalez has received a lot of funding to help her along the way, primarily from the mostly-Republican Texans for Lawsuit Reform lobby. Essentially, everything has gone her way.

Yet she has only been able to capture the support of 30% of the people polled? The fact that there are still 20% of the electorate still in play should be alarming to Gonzalez. It means they aren't thrilled about Chavez, but Gonzalez hasn't convinced them to go to the altar with her yet.

Gonzalez has spent her TLR money on an air war. Her commercials have already been running on Univision, despite the fact that Gonzalez doesn't speak Spanish herself, which is clearly where they need to be running when you have a race in the valley. Gonzalez's commercials have a very sharp tone and deliver a clear message about the incumbent.

Chavez's commercials haven't run yet. Chavez's mailers have been focused on her record so far, but Chavez knows how to turn up the heat. Gonzalez has very shrewdly stayed on ground of her own choosing for the most part, avoiding tough questions or large crowds. It will be interesting to see where those undecided voters go once Chavez starts getting her message out to voters and a shaper critique of Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has shown the ability to throw a punch, but it remains to be seen how she takes a punch. She's put most of her resources in the field already and Chavez has not even begun to put all her troops in the field.

This race will ultimately come down to a ground game. Chavez knows how to win the ground game better than just about anyone in town. The question is whether Gonzalez learned anything from her loss during the city council race against Emma Acosta.

Has Gonzalez learned how to get voters to the polls?

Has she learned how to communicate with voters or is she relying solely on bad press of her opponent?

Has she punched herself out early? Can she take a punch?

But more importantly, how does she go about getting the vast majority of undecided voters to come out and support her?


Don Kirkpatrick said...

You should factor into the equation the fact that Marisa Marquez is mentoring Gonzalez. That's the same Marisa Marquez who defeated Paul Moreno, the longest-serving member of the Texas House -- not an easy feat by any means.

Consider also that Marquez has lots of contacts in Austin. Perhaps not as many as Chavez, but she's a fresh new face with a lot of charisma, something that Norma lacks.

It's a rule of thumb that any incumbent who goes into an election with less than 50% of the vote is in trouble. With less than 42%, Norma could well be on her way to a losing runoff. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Large crowds?? Gonzalez has been at every important forum. In fact, Norma No Show cancelled this morning at the Pearson forum. Bottom line, no matter what your amateur analysis is, we are tired of Norma Chavez. Dont count out the "anyone but Chavez" why hasnt the lobby or local contributors come to her rescue? everyone is tired of her bs

Sammy C said...

"Large crowds?? Gonzalez has been at every important forum"

Excuse me, but I beg to differ. Gonzalez was not in attendance at the First Ever KHRO 1150 Candidate Forum. The venue had seating for 300 people, it was simulcasted on live air with many listeners who tuned in and was videotaped forpodcast. Can't get any bigger or more important than that! She was invited time and time again. I guess it was too big for her.

strelz said...

hey don are you on NG's payroll? norma will win and crow will be served on my show...and I am not on norma's payroll but I know a winner when I see one...oh by the way don who helped mentored marisa when she was running--let's see if you are still honest.

Anonymous said...

Who would that serve you or Norma? Jaime you and Norma are yesterdays joke in El Paso and outside of El Paso.

Anonymous said...

Most voters get their information on candidates and office holders from the El Paso Times. The Times has tremendous influence on El Paso voters because there is no other source of information available to El Paso voters.

In national and state elections, the El Paso Times is not the only source of information for El Paso voters.

Norma Chavez has been getting a lot of bad press from the El Paso Times the last two years, both in the "news" stories (which are slanted and not objective) and in the editorial pages.

Norma Chavez should definitely be reelected. Her knowledge of the legislative process is invaluable. She knows how to get things and and has a record of accomplishments for her district's residents and for El Paso County.

But the current power elite wants Naomi Gonzalez because she will do as she is told by Jose Rodriguez. The notion that all El Paso legislators have to follow the direction set by El Paso's State Senator is pure crap. Shapleigh's panties would get all wadded up because Norma Chavez wouldn't follow his orders. Norma Chavez pissed off Shapleigh and Jose Rodriguez and their new lackey, Marissa Marquez, by raising questions about the county's ethics bill during the legislative committee hearings. So they are running Naomi Gonzalez against Norma Chavez as payback.

Chucoed said...

Good analysis. I agree Gonzalez is running at the more oppurtune time given all the negative PR Chavez has been getting the last couple of years. However, Chavez excels at campagining by getting her volunteers out into the community and getting the vote out on election day. I think Gonzalez has run a good campaign but I'm not sure she will be able to actually generate the turnout she needs to oust Chavez. Her best hope is to pray for a runoff but I'm not sure San Roman will get her there.