Amid the nation uniting to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, a new internal poll just released by “Public Opinion Strategies” or POS appears to show U.S. Senate candidate Mark Ronchetti leading two other candidates (Gavin Clarkson and Elisa Martinez), claiming it was conducted from March 18-22.
Far-left propaganda site POLITICO, which has repeatedly published fake news, appears to be the only media outlet to pick up the poll. Ronchetti touted the mention on his social media, proudly showing how the liberal media news site included his survey in their daily “Morning Score” blog post.
The poll, however, raises many red flags. The first of which is its source. The poll very blatantly displays that it was conducted by Nicole McCleskey, who is the wife of Ronchetti’s general consultant Jay McCleskey. McCleskey is known in New Mexico for his “slash and burn” politics, destroying fellow Republicans (and the party) along the way to victory. At a meeting with Republican delegates, Ronchetti bragged about how “there is no better messenger about hitting someone right in the teeth than Jay McCleskey.”
Nicole and Jay McCleskey are well-known NeverTrump “conservatives,” Nicole serving as Jeb Bush’s pollster for his failed presidential bid, where he lost to epic proportions to our current President, Donald J. Trump. Polling done by McCleskey’s firm, Public Opinion Strategies, repeatedly projected Jeb Bush to win the GOP in 2016 by wide margins, having Trump at a tiny 1%.
POS claims the poll was conducted from March 18-22, 2020 (right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic), and claiming, “Ronchetti has name ID and a strong positive image rating that his remaining primary opponents cannot match.”
During the time period the poll alleges it was conducted, only Elisa Martinez and Mark Ronchetti had made it on the ballot after getting enough delegate votes at the March 7, 2020, Republican Party of New Mexico Pre-Primary Convention. Martinez led Ronchetti with 241 delegates to his 198. But another strong candidate, Gavin Clarkson, was actively gathering signatures to get on the primary ballot, and it was not announced he had made the ballot until March 25.
If POS was unsure if Clarkson had, indeed, made the ballot, how could they have included Clarkson on the poll, and not have included other candidates who have since bowed out of the race, such as Mick Rich and Louie Sanchez?
Furthermore, the poll only surveyed a tiny sample of 400 Republican voters in the state (out of the 388,930 registered or .0.103%). The questions asked in the survey are not included in the released memorandum. It appears the only question that may have been asked was if the people surveyed knew of the candidates mentioned, not if they supported Ronchetti in the race for U.S. Senate.
However, the faceless, nameless fringe political blog the “New Mexico Political Journal” claims the question asked in the survey was “If the Republican primary election for US Senate were being held today, for whom would you vote between Elisa Martinez, Gavin Clarkson, and Mark Ronchetti?” It’s unclear how the individuals who wrote the blog could have known what specific questions were asked since the questions were not included in the released memorandum.
The heavily biased internal poll, which includes a mere handful of alleged primary voters and does not reveal how it was conducted, is not a reliable indication of true support for any candidate in the race. Also, the use of a NeverTrump pollster who predicted Jeb Bush would win in 2016 to make the case that Ronchetti will win in 2020 shows just how “accurate” the poll is.
In the name of full disclosure, I have endorsed and supported U.S. Senate candidate Gavin Clarkson for quite some time. The accusation by the New Mexico Political Journal that I am a surrogate of Elisa Martinez’s campaign is blatantly false.