June 16, 2020

Poll: Biden, Luján lead in New Mexico after primaries

Photos via Gage Skidmore. (Flickr/Flickr)

A new poll, commissioned by NM Political Report and conducted by Public Policy Polling, found that Democrats lead in the races for U.S. Senate and president in the state and that voters in the state approve of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic more than they do of President Donald Trump’s.

Trump’s campaign has said they will target New Mexico as a potential pickup in his reelection effort, but polling across the country in recent weeks has shown presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a lead over the incumbent in key swing states.

The poll found that Biden leads Trump 53 percent to 39 percent in New Mexico, with 8 percent unsure.

Biden leads among Democrats, 80 percent to 14 percent, while Trump leads among Republicans, 85 percent to 12 percent. But Biden has a large lead among independents, 52 percent to Trump’s 30 percent, with 18 percent not sure. 

Biden has a large lead among Hispanic or Latino voters, 68 percent to 22 percent, while Trump leads among white voters, 53 percent to 41 percent. Among other ethnicities, 64 percent back Biden and 24 percent back Trump.

In 2016, Trump lost the state’s five electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by over eight percentage points. However, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, received over 9 percent of the vote.

In the U.S. Senate race, the poll found that Democrat Ben Ray Luján had a similar lead over Republican Mark Ronchetti, 48 percent to 34 percent, with 18 percent unsure. Luján is a U.S. Representative, while Ronchetti is a former TV meteorologist. 

Like with the presidential race, both candidates lead by wide margins with members of their own party—72 percent to 12 percent for Luján among Democrats and 73 percent to 13 percent for Ronchetti among Republicans — while the Democrat leads by 17 points, 46 percent to 29 percent, among Independents.

Earlier this month, Ronchetti easily won a three-way Republican primary, while Luján faced no opponents in the Democratic primary.

Republicans last won a U.S. Senate race in New Mexico in 2002 when Pete Domenici, the longest-serving Senator in state history, won his sixth term. Domenici retired ahead of the 2008 elections, when Tom Udall defeated Steve Pearce in the general election. Udall is now retiring after his second term in office.

The poll found that, of those surveyed, 47 percent voted for Clinton in 2016, while 37 percent voted for Trump and 16 percent voted for someone else or did not vote.

Approval ratings

The poll also asked about approval ratings for the governor, president and both U.S. Senators.

The poll found that 52 percent of New Mexico voters approve of the job Lujan Grisham is doing as governor, compared to 33 percent who disapprove and 15 percent who are not sure.

The poll found that 37 percent approve of Trump’s job performance, compared to 55 percent who disapprove and 7 percent who are not sure.

The poll showed similar results when voters were asked about how the governor and president have handled the coronavirus.

The poll found that 57 percent approved of the job Lujan Grisham is doing handling the coronavirus, compared to 35 percent who disapprove and 9 percent who are not sure.

Meanwhile, the poll found that 38 percent approved of the job Trump was doing handling the coronavirus, compared to 55 percent who disapproved and 8 percent who are not sure.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling for The Majority Institute in April found that 62 percent of New Mexicans approved of Lujan Grisham’s performance on COVID-19, compared to 40 percent who said the same of Trump.

That same poll found that Biden led Trump 52 percent to 40 percent.

Both U.S. Senators had lower approval ratings, but also a large number of those who were not sure.

Sen. Martin Heinrich’s approval rating stood at 36 percent, compared to 29 percent who disapproved and 34 percent, more than a third, who said they were not sure. Heinrich won reelection in 2018 with 54.1 percent of the vote in a three-way race against Albuquerque contractor Mick Rich, a Republican, and Johnson, a Libertarian.

Udall’s approval rating stood at 41 percent, compared to 30 percent who disapproved and 29 percent who were not sure. 

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll of 740 New Mexico voters on June 12 and 13 through automated calls to landlines and text messages to cell-phone only voters. The margin of error on the poll is +/- 3.6 percentage points, which means any results from the full sample could be higher or lower by 3.6 percentage points.