October 29, 2018

Emerson poll: Lujan Grisham leads by 9, Heinrich by 16

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A new poll shows good news for Democrats in New Mexico’s two top statewide races and  a close race for a hard-fought congressional race in southern New Mexico.

Emerson College released their second round of polling of likely voters in New Mexico, and the poll showed Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham leading Republican Steve Pearce 53 percent to 44 percent in the gubernatorial race.

The two are involved in an expensive race that has included millions of dollars spent on TV ads from both sides in the hopes of replacing Susana Martinez as governor. Martinez, a Republican, cannot run for a third consecutive term.

A previous Emerson College poll conducted in August showed Lujan Grisham leading Steve Pearce 42 percent to 40 percent. That poll surveyed registered voters, not likely voters.

In the other big statewide race, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich held a healthy lead in the three-way U.S. race with 48 percent of the support among likely voters to Republican Mick Rich’s 32 percent and Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 16 percent.

This is Heinrich’s first reelection campaign after winning the seat in 2012 by defeating former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson 41 percent to 45 percent. Wilson is currently the Secretary of the Air Force in the President Donald Trump administration. .

The first Emerson College Poll also showed Heinrich with a large lead, but found Johnson in second place, ahead of Rich.

Statewide, 936 likely voters were polled , this time around, using automated phone calls and online surveys between Oct. 24 and 26. The Emerson College polls have a margin of error of +- 3.4 percent, which means any of the participants’ numbers can differ by that much in either direction.

The poll found Lujan Grisham and Pearce had an identical 43 percent favorable rate, though Lujan Grisham’s unfavorable number was 39 percent, while Pearce’s was 43 percent.

The poll found Trump has a 40 percent favorable and 55 percent unfavorable rating among the likely voters in the state.

The Lujan Grisham campaign released an internal poll conducted last week that showed she led Pearce 53 percent to 44 percent. Campaigns will only release polls that show good news or advance a positive narrative for their campaign. The Pearce campaign said internal polling showed a two percentage point race but did not provide a polling memo.

U.S. House races

The survey also asked voters about U.S. House races, but the sample sizes were much smaller and the margins for error much larger.

The 2nd Congressional district remains an extremely close race, as other polling has indicated. This poll found Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, a water attorney, and Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell deadlocked at 47 percent. The poll surveyed just 278 people and has a margin of error of +/- 6.1 percentage points. The two candidates are seeking to replace Pearce, who decided not to run for another term and run for governor.

In the 1st Congressional District, Democrat Deb Haaland leads Republican Janice Arnold-Jones 51 percent to 41 percent. Libertarian Lloyd princeton received the support of 1 percent of those polled. The poll of that district surveyed 327 voters and has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. The candidates are looking to replace Lujan Grisham, who did not run for another term to instead run for governor.

Incumbent Democrat Ben Ray Lujan maintains a large lead in the 3rd Congressional District, 54 percent to 37 percent over Republican Jerald Steve McFall. Libertarian Chris Manning received 4 percent. Lujan is seeking a sixth term in office. The poll surveyed 331 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points.

Overall, the poll surveyed 60 percent of those by landline and 400 percent using an online sample. The online sample used opt-in panels. Emerson College provided its full methodology online. FiveThirtyEight gives Emerson College a B+ in its pollster rankings.