January 7, 2020

Poll: In NM, Sanders/Biden at top of Dem primary, top Dems lead Trump

Emerson College Polling

A new poll of New Mexico voters shows a two-way battle among Democrats seeking support for the Democratic nomination in the state—while showing that top-tier Democratic names each outpace President Donald Trump in the general election.

The poll, conducted by Emerson College, shows that Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has the support of 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 27 percent. They were both far ahead of entrepreneur Andrew Yang (10 percent), Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (8 percent) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (7 percent). No other candidate received the support of more than 3 percent of voters.

New Mexico’s primary is on June 2, very late in the process; only the U.S. Virgin Islands’ June 6 Caucus is later. 

But the poll indicates whichever Democrat emerges from the primary has a head start on winning New Mexico’s five electoral votes in November.

Sanders leads Trump 59 percent to 41 percent, Buttigieg leads Trump 55 percent to 45 percent, while Warren and Biden each lead the incumbent 54 percent to 46 percent, according to the poll.

Trump lost New Mexico in 2016 to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by over 8 percentage points—but Libertarian Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico governor, earned over 9 percent of the overall vote.

Trump’s campaign has said they will target New Mexico in 2020, and Trump appeared at a campaign rally in Rio Rancho last year.

The poll also showed Trump with a commanding lead over potential Republican opponents in the Republican primary; Trump has the support over 87 percent of Republican primary voters, compared to 3 percent for former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and 8 percent for former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh.

Still, Trump’s overall approval rating remains underwater, with 39 percent approving of his job performance and 54 percent disapproving.

Senate race and guv’s approval

The poll also showed Democrat Ben Ray Luján has a 54 percent to 35 percent lead over Republican Gavin Clarkson. Clarkson is the only one of the four Republican candidates that Emerson polled.

The poll also showed new approval ratings for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The poll showed 38 percent approval and 38 percent disapproval—while the remainder had no opinion of her job performance. Lujan Grisham was sworn into office at the beginning of 2019 and will face reelection in 2022.

The Emerson College Poll was conducted Jan. 3-6 and surveyed 967 registered voters by both landline and by online panels. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points for the full sample, which means results can vary by 3.1 percentage points in either direction.

The Democratic primary sample was 447, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points.