With three weeks until the election New Mexico is no longer considered a “swing state.” An Albuquerque Journal poll indicated that the state’s five electoral votes will most likely be blue with President Obama up ten points from Governor Romney, 49-39. This poll has been fairly stagnant throughout the past month mostly due to the growing support of Latinos for Obama and Governor Romney’s shift of head staffers to other states. News station, KRQE, conducted a poll consisting of 400 Latino voters and the results were overwhelmingly in President Obama’s favor. Sixty-nine percent of those polled indicated strong support for Obama and Romney only held 24 percent of support. With Latinos making up 46.7 percent of the population, their support will inevitably declare the winner in New Mexico. Although New Mexico’s electoral votes are for the most part decided, let’s take a look at the local races to see if there will be a shift of power.
In the U.S. House 1st Congressional District race, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham holds the lead over Republican Janice Arnold-Jones with a fourteen percent margin. Michelle Lujan-Grisham has the magic number with 51 percent of the vote, Arnold Jones holds 37 percent and a 12 percent segment of undecided voters. However, even if Arnold-Jones won the undecided segment, she still wouldn’t have enough to tip the scales. With just three weeks until the election and two debates to go, I predict Lujan Grisham will win the seat.
In the 2nd Congressional District, Republican incumbent enjoys an almost twenty point lead over democratic challenger, Evelyn Madrid Erhard. The challenger is facing a name recognition problem in a highly republican part of the state. Pearce has 55 percent of voters on lock down, which inevitably will result in a Republican victory.
Let’s shift gears and take a look at arguably the most high profile race in the state, the U.S. Senate race between Representative Martin Heinrich and Representative Heather Wilson. Both candidates have served as the 1st Congressional District’s House Representative and are widely known across the state. Heinrich has kept a steady lead throughout the race by maintaining a strong democratic message and appealing to independents. With forceful anti-Heinrich ads and a strong conservative message, Wilson has won over the republican base but has failed to “woo” independents. Heinrich leads with 62 percent of the Hispanic vote and Wilson holds 50 percent of the Anglo vote. The fact that Hispanics prefer Heinrich at nearly a 3-1 ratio indicates that Wilson will have to try and win over any undecided Hispanic voters in order to have a fighting chance. However, with Rep. Heinrich ahead in every part of the state, I think this race will be another victory for the Democratic Party.
This election season most of the races in New Mexico indicate that the state’s “left” reputation is coming to fruition. The outcomes of each of these races are dependent on the Latino and independent vote. This being said, it looks like the scales won’t be shifted enormously but with three weeks left anything can happen.