New Mexico’s record-shattering early voting, by the numbers

More people cast ballots by the end of early voting than ever before in a New Mexico midterm election. Between early and absentee ballots, the Secretary of State reported 430,796 votes by the end of early in-person voting on Saturday. That’s thirty percent more than in 2010. NM Political Report dug into the numbers provided by the Secretary of State,and just a reminder that absentee numbers can still increase, as any ballots returned before close of polls on Election Day will be counted. 0.56: Percent of voters who cast ballots who are registered Libertarians.

Poll shows Dems lead in most statewide races

A recent poll shows Democrats are poised to clinch most statewide races, while a congressional race remains too close to call and one expensive state race leans towards Republicans. A poll by Research and Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal shows Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham leads Republican Steve Pearce 53 percent to 43 percent in the race for governor. The ten point lead is an increase from the 7 percent race found in a September poll. The same poll found incumbent U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, leading in the three-way race against former Gov. Gary Johnson, a Libertarian, and contractor Mick Rich, a Republican. Heinrich is 20 points ahead of Rich and almost 40 ahead of Johnson.

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

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.

Working with the Legislature will be key for next governor’s success

Governors typically come into office with high expectations, after telling voters what legislation they’ll ensure passes to improve the state. But they can run into one major challenge: the state legislature. Any legislation must pass both the House and Senate with a majority from each chamber. To do so, the governor must convince and cajole members who represent ethnically, socio-economically, geographically and ideologically diverse districts throughout the state to advance the legislation. At times, their efforts crash upon the rocks and the promised progress is stalled.

Lujan Grisham: Internal poll shows her up by 9

With ten days to Election Day, the Michelle Lujan Grisham campaign released a poll that showed the Democrat leads in the race for governor by 9 percentage points. The internal poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research shows Lujan Grisham leads Steve Pearce 53 percent to 44 percent. The polling memo says Lujan Grisham “is well positioned to be New Mexico’s next Governor.”

Internal polls should always be taken with a grain of salt because campaigns usually only publicly release those portraying favorable news to their candidate. According to the poll, 45 percent of likely New Mexico voters have a favorable view of Lujan Grisham, while 37 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Meanwhile, 39 percent have a favorable opinion of Pearce compared to 42 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Challenges the next governor will face

Come Jan. 1, 2018, New Mexico will have a new governor. New Mexicans will decide who that governor will be next week. That new governor will need to do a number of things. He or she will have a little less than two months before inauguration to name members of the new cabinet and get ready for the upcoming legislative session that begins in mid-January.

Torres Small raises big money once again in 2nd Congressional District race

Congressional candidate Xochitl Torres Small once again dominated fundraising in the federal races, according to the latest campaign finance reports, covering Oct. 1 to Oct. 17. The Democrat seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat reported raising nearly $950,000 in those 17 days. The hefty campaign finance haul brought the water attorney’s total tally to over $3.8 million for the open congressional seat.

Politicians hop aboard ‘Medicare-For-All’ train, destination unknown

After decades in the political wilderness, “Medicare-for-all” and single-payer health care are suddenly popular. The words appear in political advertisements and are cheered at campaign rallies — even in deep-red states. They are promoted by a growing number of high-profile Democratic candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Rep. Beto O’Rourke in Texas. Republicans are concerned enough that this month President Donald Trump wrote a scathing op-ed essay that portrayed Medicare for all as a threat to older people and to American freedom. It is not that.

Poll: Herrell leads by one point in CD2 clash

The latest New York Times/Siena College poll shows just how close the 2nd Congressional District race remains. The poll found that Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell leads her Democratic opponent, water attorney Xochitl Torres Small, 45 percent to 44 percent, with still 11 percent undecided. Nate Cohn of the New York Times, who is part of the congressional polling project for the newspaper, says it was their closest result yet. The poll notes that the margin of error of +/- 4.6 percent means each candidate’s true numbers could be that much in either direction. Spending in the district, which is in the millions by outside groups, shows they also believe the race is one of dozens in the nation that will determine who controls the U.S. House of Representatives.

New Mexico ranked the least politically engaged state in the nation

According to Wallethub, New Mexico lags behind the rest of the nation when it comes to political engagement. The website ranked all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, on political engagement, and New Mexico finished in last place. It and Hawaii, which finished in 50th, were well behind the rest of the states. Washington D.C. led the pack, followed by Maine and Utah. New Mexico’s problems largely come from the low percentage of registered voters and relatively low voter turnout in the 2016 elections.