Poll shows standings in NM gubernatorial, senate races

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A new poll suggests the governor’s race is closer than some people anticipated; and it gives the early results of the senate race now that former Gov. Gary Johnson has jumped into the fray.

The results from the Emerson College of Boston’s Political poll of 500 registered voters shows Michelle Lujan-Grisham is leading fellow U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce by just two points (42-40) with a nearly 5-percent margin of error. 

As UNM Political Science Prof. Gabriel Sanchez explained, this poll showing this matchup is much closer than some people expected in this left-leaning state.

“Given that she’s campaigning really hard on crime,” Sanchez began. “OK, great. Now, what else do you have? Is it going to be economic development, which is really where people perceive Pearce as really aiming his campaign.”

As for the senate race, incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich maintains a big lead at 39-percent.
He’s followed by former governor, libertarian Gary Johnson at 21-percent. Johnson just announced his run last week.

“Even though he was a governor on the Republican side of things, he’s really the strongest competitor for Heinrich at this point,” Sanchez said. “So that tells us where he needs to focus his energy.”

Meanwhile, Republican Mick Rich, a relatively unknown, is at a distant 11 percent.

Additionally, undecided voters make up a big chunk of both races: 30 percent in the senate race and 18 percent in the gubernatorial race.

Sanchez said that means at this point, the gubernatorial candidates have to focus on getting their message out to win over those undecided voters.

“I think it’s not so much attack ads. it’s more of what’s the underlying message? What are you saying that’s not resonating,” Sanchez said.

Both parties can use polls like this one showing a tight race to their advantage for fundraising.

“Because if you’re Lujan-Grisham, you’ve got to convince these Democratic donors who might’ve thought this race was over, there’s still reason to go deep into your pockets and to spend money on this race and maybe not the senate race,” Sanchez explained.

Sanchez said this poll might not be the most accurate because it’s “essentially a robo-call poll of landline users,” but said it still gives a good glimpse of where the candidates are at this point in the race.

View the poll results here.

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