When asked about who voters would prefer in a very-early look ahead to the 2018 gubernatorial elections, two names jumped out as frontrunners.
Attorney General Hector Balderas is the favorite among Democrats, while Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is favored among Republicans.
Gov. Susana Martinez is in her second term. She is not able to run for a third term.
The poll question asked about four politicians named as possible 2018 candidates. In addition to Balderas and Berry, NM Political Report asked about U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, a Republican.
In all, 28 percent chose Balderas, 23 percent chose Berry, 13 percent chose Sanchez and 12 percent chose Lujan Grisham. Another 19 percent said “someone else” while 5 percent were not sure.
Nearly half of Democrats, 48 percent, chose Balderas. The next highest percentage was Lujan Grisham, at 18 percent, then Berry at 11 percent, followed by Sanchez at 6 percent. On the Republican side, 36 percent supported Berry, 22 percent Sanchez, 8 percent Balderas and 7 percent Lujan Grisham. A total of 21 percent of independents supported Berry, 16 percent Balderas, 11 percent Sanchez and 8 percent Lujan Grisham.
The poll mentioned the political party for each candidate.
As one would expect from a question two years away, there were a lot who supported “someone else” or were “not sure.” Among Democrats, 13 percent supported someone else and 5 percent said they were not sure. On the Republican side, 22 percent said they supported someone else and 5 percent
Balderas leads among Hispanics, receiving more than twice as much support among the population than second place (Berry at 18 percent). Lujan Grisham received 13 percent of support from Hispanics and Sanchez 9 percent.
NM Political Report will release the full crosstabs later this week, including voter preferences on a presidential race including Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Gary Johnson on Tuesday.
The poll surveyed 802 likely New Mexico voters. The poll was conducted from May 13 to 15 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent for topline results. Crosstabs with smaller populations will have larger margins of error.