This year the battle for the executive office is contingent on the swing states. However, even with just 5 electoral votes the Land of Enchantment is an important cog in this election because of the growing importance of the Hispanic vote especially since New Mexico is home to 35% of Hispanics in the United States. In past elections New Mexico has been pretty accurate determining the victor. The state overwhelmingly supported President Obama in the 2008 election, which signaled a growing democratic base. However, in 2010 the state elected their first Hispanic Female governor who happened to be a republican.
Governor Susana Martinez has played an important role with the Republicans in the state and the Romney campaign. She delivered a hard-hitting speech at the National Convention and is striving to ignite a flame for the Republican base with females and latinos. According to a recent Albuquerque Journal poll, 45% of the state supports Obama, 40% supports Romney and 7% supports New Mexico’s former two-term governor, Gary Johnson.
In this election Governor Johnson is channeling his inner Ross Perot, running as the third party contender and striving to gain national name recognition. He is currently fighting state by state to get his name on the ballot for November 6th. His efforts in New Mexico are rewarding because the state is familiar with Johnson and his platform, however he isn’t pulling away votes from just one political party he is pulling away votes from both. The question here is, will he be able to increase his name recognition outside of New Mexico and become a national contender?
Johnson may be a small worry for the two main candidates but the Hispanic vote is the top priority for Obama and Romney. Among Hispanic voters in New Mexico, President Obama has a 30-point lead over Governor Romney. This poll displays the effort of the Obama campaign to reach out to Hispanic voters and engage them in his quest for reelection. His grassroots campaign style worked well with Hispanics in 2008 so we will have to see if he can make it happen again this November. The key to this race will be connecting with Hispanic voters and the candidate that does that the best will win the heart of New Mexico.