Tom Garrity

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: The Law

In Reputation on November 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.13 PMNew Mexico’s legal system is ripe with opportunity to gauge public opinion when compared to community conversations.

The Garrity Perception Survey measures four areas related to the New Mexico legal and justice system.  It includes favorability of the courts and justice system as well as measures trust of judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers.

Favorability of the courts and trust of lawyers do well to hover in the lower quarter of favorability.  Based on a seven-year statewide average, the courts system averages 26 percent favorability and lawyers average 21 percent favorability. Geographically, the two areas are hard pressed to find any pockets of significant support in any part of the state. It is safe to say that despite some very good people and qualified professionals, favorability of the court and trust of attorneys is difficult to increase given awareness of high crime rates, drunk drivers and repeat offenders.

Interestingly, while New Mexico residents are not favorable of the courts they are trusting of its officers, the judges.  An 18 percent gap exists between trust of judges and favorability of the courts.  Geographically, judges have higher trust among residents living in the Eastern and South/Southwestern parts of the state.

Police officers and law enforcement officers are the most trusted when compared with their two counterparts, judges and lawyers. However, New Mexico residents didn’t always have this level of trust (a 49 percent average) of police officers.

In 2013 and 2014, a series of high profile incidents captured local, statewide and national attention.

In 2013, the New Mexico State Police pulled over a van carrying the suspect and her five children.  After the second time the driver tried to speed away, officers fired three shots at the van’s tires. The police dash-cam video captured the exchange which made national coverage.  The officers were cleared of the shooting as a judge said they were justified to shoot at the tires.

Also, in 2013, the Deming Police Department and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a full cavity search on a person who was pulled over for allegedly for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign in a Walmart parking lot.

In 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department was involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man who also suffered from mental disorders. After the shooting, the suspect was found to have knives in each hand.  The incident was one of several officer involved shootings faced by the department in as many months.

The APD shootings captured the media attention and attracted attention of the United States Justice Department.  Police Chief Gordon Eden, an experienced law man and relatively new to his role as police chief, led changes to the force.  With the help of the Mayor and Albuquerque City Council, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency was established.

These actions helped to rebuild trust among Albuquerque residents which in turn increased trust of police offices statewide.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.44 PMMore information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

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The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Healthcare

In Reputation on November 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.13 PMFrom 2011-2017, perceptions of healthcare in New Mexico have been impacted at a variety of levels.

Consider these milestones at the Federal and State level.

2010 inaugurated the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), also known as Obamacare.

In 2013, the New Mexico Human Services Department halted funding to 15 behavioral health providers in response to allegations of Medicaid fraud this resulted in coverage interruptions for 30,000 of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Also in 2013, the New Mexico Healthcare Exchange was created by state law to help residents get affordable health care coverage.

In 2014 the Veterans Health Administration was embroiled in a scandal where allegations of negligence were reported in the treatment of United States military veterans.

As if 2013 didn’t have enough activity, New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez expanded healthcare coverage, through the ACA, to include recipients of Medicaid. The expansion provided coverage for residents with household incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal poverty level.

And according to US Census data, the uninsured rate in New Mexico fell from 18.6 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in 2016 — a drop of more than 50 percent, versus the national average drop of a little more than 40 percent.

A 2015 report issued by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center shows that New Mexico only has “nineteen hundred” primary care physicians. When compared to the State’s population, at the time, that equaled one primary care physician for every “thousand ninety-nine” New Mexicans in the state.

Politically, in 2016, a unique political showdown developed between the legislature, Attorney General, State Auditor and Office of the Superintendent of Insurance.  At the center of the issue, the release of an audit claiming the Insurance Superintendent failed to collect nearly $200 million in taxes from insurance companies.

The seven-year period also included new hospital construction and improvements as well as the creation of and merger of various insurance and medical groups.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.34 PMDespite the changes, New Mexico residents are generally consistent in how they feel about the medical system.  Favorability, hovers just below the 50 percent mark with the most fluctuation occurring in 2013 when it dropped from 49 percent to 46 percent.  Over the past seven years, the medical system has averaged 47 percent favorability among New Mexico residents.

Geographically, residents in the Albuquerque area are the most consistent and generally have the highest levels of trust and favorability regarding doctors and the medical system. Residents in the Northwest have the largest swings in favorability of the medical system with a low of 45 percent in 2015 and high of 75 percent in 2016.  Trust of doctors also saw some extreme swings in North Central New Mexico with a 39 percent favorability in 2014 followed by 70 percent favorability in 2015.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.33.57 PMInterestingly, the oldest and youngest residents have the highest level of trust in physicians. The youngest (18-34 years of age), typically the lightest users of insurance and healthcare, have an average 66 percent trust of physicians compared to residents over the age of 65 years, the most frequent users of insurance and health care, who have a 69 percent average of trust in doctors.

More information and analysis of this information is available online at http://www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: Religion

In Reputation on November 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.31.50 PMFaith and religion are intertwined with New Mexico history and who we are as a society.

Generally, more than 70 percent of New Mexico residents place a high value of faith in their personal life.  Their favorability of religious institutions and trust of religious leaders isn’t far behind.

Sixty five percent of New Mexico residents, on average, have a favorable view of religious institutions.  Sixty one percent of residents, on average, have a favorable view of religious leaders.

However, drilling down into the numbers shows the impacts that scandal can have on perceptions of any industry.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.32.43 PMIn 2013 and 2014, lawsuits against the Catholic Church, alleging abuse by several priests against parishioners, were in the headlines.  The New Mexico lawsuits were filed in 2013 and were reflected, in part, when the 2014 survey was in the field in February/March of that year.

The lowest levels of trust and favorability of religious leaders and institutions were seen in the 2013 and 2014 surveys.  When news started to hit, Statewide trust of religious leaders dropped ten percent and favorability of religious institutions dropped eight percent.

The negative hit was most evident among resident’s trust of priests in areas where there is a high level of catholic residents. Specifically, trust of religious leaders went from a high of 74 percent in 2013 to a low of 41 percent in 2015, a drop of 33 percent over the course of the year.  Trust of religious leaders in that region has still not recovered and trust among North Central residents remains the lowest in the state (an average of 58 percent).

Conversely, areas with high level of protestant membership (Northwest and Eastern New Mexico) saw increases in trust of their religious leaders during that time.  In fact, residents in Northwest New Mexico saw an eleven percent increase in trust from 2013 to 2014.

Paralleling legal settlements was an aggressive effort by the Catholic Church to own the narrative of showing compassion to the victims.  This resulted in a gradual increase of trust and favorability for all pastors and priests as well as churches.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.32.23 PMMore information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.