The approval ratings for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have plunged to record lows, several months after an alleged pay-to-play scandal prompted him to withdraw his name as President Obama's pick for Secretary of Commerce, according to a recent poll.
The poll, released last week by SurveyUSA, shows Richardson's approval ratings plummeted from a May 2007 peak of 74 percent to an all-time low of 41 percent, according to The New Mexico Independent .
In early January, the historically popular Democrat withdrew his name for the cabinet position under scrutiny from a federal grand jury. The investigation centered on allegations that a California-based financial firm contributed to his political action committees, and then received a government contract with the state of New Mexico.
CDR Financial gave $75,000 to Si Se Puede, which paid for Richardson's expenses at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, according to The Washington Post and CBS News. The Post reported that the company's founder also donated $25,000 to aid Richardson's efforts to register more minority voters, as well as $29,000 to Richardson's short-lived bid for the White House.
The company eventually received $1.4 million in work from the state.
The poll indicated that Richardson's approval ratings reached 61 percent as late as December, when his name was nominated for the position, according to KOB TV News.
Six hundred New Mexicans were interviewed for the poll, whose margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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