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Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
Republican Donald Trump vowed victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton at a raucous rally in Albuquerque just a week ago, but a new Journal Poll shows Clinton still holds a five-point lead in the final days of the campaign.
Meanwhile, support for New Mexico’s Gary Johnson has faded significantly.
National polls show Clinton with a slim lead over Trump after the FBI’s announcements of additional inquiries into Clinton emails. But her lead is bigger in New Mexico.
Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate and former two-term New Mexico governor, pulled 11 percent support in the new Journal Poll, compared with 24 percent of New Mexicans who supported him in the newspaper’s late September poll.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein polled at 3 percent among likely New Mexico voters in the new poll. Only 2 percent of New Mexico voters were undecided or unsure for whom they would vote.
“As we approach Election Day, Hillary Clinton is leading in New Mexico and it seems that nearly everyone has made up their minds,” said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc., which conducted the survey. “New Mexico has been solidly blue in the past two elections, and it appears Clinton is maintaining her lead here this election cycle, unlike in some battleground states, such as Ohio or Nevada, where she is either trailing or in a dead heat.”
The Journal Poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, was conducted after FBI Director James Comey rocked the presidential race by announcing the additional inquiries into Clinton’s email protocol when she was secretary of state.
The survey also came after major health insurance providers last month announced premium increases averaging 25 percent under the Affordable Care Act. Clinton has pledged to uphold the health care law if elected, and Trump has vowed to support efforts to repeal it.
In the September Journal Poll, Clinton led Trump 35 percent to 31 percent.
Clinton’s support peaked in national polls in mid-October with an average 8-point lead after a leaked “Access Hollywood” tape showed Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. But Clinton’s numbers have since plummeted.
Sanderoff said the Journal Poll reflects the preferences of those who have voted early, as well as those who plan to cast their ballots Tuesday. Fifty percent of poll respondents were reached on their cellphones. The pollster also said the survey revealed deep demographic divisions on the presidential candidates in New Mexico.
“We see strong polarization among many groups, whether it’s gender, ethnicity, geography or education levels,” Sanderoff said.
Clinton performed particularly well in the Journal Poll among female voters, Hispanics and those with the highest education levels. Some of Trump’s strongest support came from men, Anglos and those with a high school diploma or less education.
Fifty-four percent of New Mexico Hispanics polled said they would vote for Clinton, while 27 percent said they favored Trump. Fourteen percent of Hispanics in the state voiced support for Johnson, and 1 percent backed Stein.
“Four years ago, President Barack Obama had 68 percent support among Hispanics in the final Journal Poll, compared with Clinton’s 54 percent in the current poll,” Sanderoff said. “This drop-off is partially attributable to Gary Johnson garnering 14 percent support among Hispanics in this poll.”
Gender politics have been a significant factor in this year’s presidential race, and that is also the case in New Mexico, according to the poll. Clinton is the first female major party presidential nominee in U.S. history.
Among New Mexico women who are likely to vote, 50 percent said they would support Clinton and 36 percent said they preferred Trump. Johnson and Stein had 7 percent and 3 percent support among women, respectively.
However, Trump outperformed Clinton among men. Forty-four percent of New Mexico men polled said they support the Republican nominee, compared with 39 percent of men who said they will vote for Clinton.
Education level is also a factor in voter preference in New Mexico, according to the poll. As education levels increased, support for Clinton grew. Among those with graduate degrees, Clinton has a 27-point lead over Trump. But among those with a high school diploma or less, Trump held a seven-point lead among likely New Mexico voters.
“Gender and education level are playing a bigger role in determining candidate preference compared with the 2012 presidential election in New Mexico,” Sanderoff said. “For example, Clinton has a 24-percentage point lead among women with college degrees, while Trump is ahead by 17 percentage points among men without a college degree.”
New Mexico voters under 65 were more likely to support Clinton, but she was nearly even with Trump among seniors.
Not surprisingly, the Journal Poll showed that Trump’s geographic stronghold in New Mexico is on the conservative eastern side of the state, home to many oil workers and ranchers, and other rural residents.
Trump had 69 percent support among eastern New Mexico voters, compared with 8 percent of voters in that area who said they would vote for Clinton. Johnson, who governed New Mexico as a Republican from 1995 until 2003, held 18 percent support from the east side of the state in the Journal Poll.
“On the east side, some people are settling on Johnson as an alternative to Clinton,” Sanderoff said.
From a geographic standpoint, Clinton polled best in heavily Democratic and Hispanic north-central New Mexico, where 65 percent of voters said they would vote for her, compared with 14 percent for Trump. Clinton also had a solid lead among Albuquerque-area voters, with 54 percent of poll respondents supporting her, compared with 32 percent who voiced a preference for Trump.
The Journal Poll is based on a scientific, statewide sample of 504 voters who said they had already voted this year or planned to vote. Most voters surveyed cast ballots in either the 2012 or 2014 general elections; a small portion of newly registered voters were also included in the sample.
The poll was conducted Nov. 1 through Nov. 3. The full voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 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 (50 percent) and landlines (50 percent) of proven general election voters were used.