September 18, 2018

Pollsters look at NM congressional races as election approaches

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From Albuquerque to New York City, pollsters are watching New Mexico. And, as part of the battle for the U.S. House of Representatives, both national parties are pouring money into television ads for their candidates.

An Albuquerque Journal poll shows Democrat Deb Haaland leads in the race to replace Michelle Lujan Grisham in the 1st Congressional District, while Republican Yvette Herrell is leading the race in southern New Mexico  to replace Steve Pearce in the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd Congressional District is a Republican stronghold that Democrats are targeting this year in an attempt to retake the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Journal poll showed Herrell, a state representative, leading 48 percent to 41 percent over Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, a water lawyer.

Republicans have held the district every year but two since New Mexico gained a 3rd congressional district in the 1980s. That win by Democrats was in 2008, a wave election in favor of Democrats nationwide.

Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are spending money in New Mexico on television ads targeting voters.

Meanwhile, a New York Times poll showed Torres Small with a 46 percent to 45 percent lead over Herrell.

Other numbers in the poll, like Trumps even approval ratings in the district and support for a generic Republican candidate, showed the district’s conservative leaning.

According to New York Times reporter Nate Cohn, the district’s voters were the first the newspaper polled that opposed an assault weapons ban.

The poll was conducted by Siena College and is part of a series of polls conducted in battleground U.S. districts.

Previous polls showed Herrell with a lead in the district as well, though they were conducted just after the primary in June.

1st Congressional District

Democrats hold an eight percent lead in the 1st congressional district according to the Albuquerque Journal poll. Former Democratic Party of New Mexico chair Deb Haaland has the support of 49 percent of likely voters, while Republican former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones has the support of 41 percent and Libertarian the support of 3 percent.

The district was held by Republicans for decades until 2008, when Martin Heinrich won. Since then, Democrats have held the seat.

The Albuquerque Journal polls were conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. between Sept. 7 and 13. The 1st Congressional District poll was of 405 registered voters who voted in 2014 and 2016 and are very likely to vote in the upcoming elections and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points. The 2nd Congressional District poll was of registered voters who voted in 2014 and 2016 and are very likely to vote in the upcoming elections and has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percentage points.

The New York Times poll of 503 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 13 and Sept. 18 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.

The margin of error means each candidate’s totals can be different from the results by that number in either direction.