Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Joe Biden appears well-positioned to win New Mexico – and its five electoral votes – in this week’s election, a new Journal Poll found.
The Democratic presidential nominee had a sizable lead over President Donald Trump among New Mexico voters, though the race has tightened since a previous poll conducted before Labor Day.
In the most recent poll, 54% of likely general election voters said they planned to or had already voted for Biden, while 42% said they support Trump.
The split between the two candidates had been at 54%-39% in the previous Journal Poll, which was conducted in late August and early September.
“Trump hasn’t been able to break into the Democratic support in New Mexico,” said Brian Sanderoff, the president of Albuquerque-based Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the poll. “The voters have made up their minds in this race.”
Among women, 58% of those surveyed said they would vote for Biden, compared with 39% who said they would back Trump.
Male voters were much more closely divided, with 48% saying they preferred Biden and 45% saying Trump was their candidate of choice.
While New Mexico was long regarded as a swing state, a Republican has not won the state’s five electoral votes since George W. Bush did so in 2004.
After Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by 8 percentage points in the 2016 election, Trump’s reelection campaign had targeted New Mexico as one of several states it hoped to flip in this year’s election cycle.
But Trump has not returned to the state since holding a September 2019 campaign rally in Rio Rancho, and his campaign has apparently shifted its focus to other states like Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan, Sanderoff said.
He also said Trump’s goal of winning a sizable portion – if not a majority – of the state’s Hispanic vote was not materializing.
Biden led among Hispanic voters in the most recent Journal Poll by a more than two-to-one margin, with 64% of those surveyed saying they supported the Democrat and just 31% saying they would vote for Trump.
In order for a Republican to win in New Mexico, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, they typically need to win at least 40% of the state’s Hispanic vote, Sanderoff said.
And that usually means getting some Democrats to cross party lines.
But 89% of Democrats surveyed in the Journal Poll said they would vote for Biden, only slightly less than the 92% of Republicans who said they would support Trump.
Both presidential candidates have regional strongholds in New Mexico.
Biden held a commanding lead over Trump in the traditionally Democratic north-central part of the state that includes Santa Fe, the Journal Poll found.
In addition, 62% of voters surveyed in the Albuquerque metro area said they planned to or had already voted for Biden, compared to 34% who said they supported Trump.
For his part, Trump held sizable advantages in the state’s more Republican-friendly areas – the Four Corners region and the east side of New Mexico.
The president also held a narrow lead among voters in the state’s southwest region that includes Las Cruces, but those regional advantages were not enough to offset Biden’s edge in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor, which includes more than half of New Mexico’s population.
Meanwhile, voters across all age levels preferred Biden to Trump in this year’s race, though Biden’s support was strongest among the state’s youngest and oldest voters.
The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, statewide sample of 1,180 likely general election voters who also voted in either the 2016 and 2018 general elections – or both. It also includes newly registered voters who said they were very likely to vote in the 2020 general election.
Respondents were given the choice of Biden or Trump, as well as the option of volunteering support for a different candidate.
The poll was conducted from Oct. 23 through Oct. 29. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The margin of error grows for subsamples.
All interviews were conducted by live, professional interviewers, with multiple callbacks to households that did not initially answer the phone.
Both cellphone numbers (81%) and landlines (19%) of likely general election voters were used.