The Election Day that seemed like it would never happen is here. Today, not only will we see the results in a presidential election, New Mexicans will also decide the next Secretary of State and which party controls the State House of Representatives and State Senate. Also, a whole bunch of county commission seats are up for grabs. It’s a very big year, and we’ll be here to cover all of the the most important races, stories and anything else that comes up. We’ll start posting at 6 p.m., but look for the largest amount of posts to come as the polls close at 7 p.m.
As in past years, Common Cause New Mexico is running an election protection hotline for voters and others to report problems at polling locations throughout the state. So far, according to Common Cause New Mexico Executive Director Viki Harrison, the reports have been “typical” problems that they have seen in past years. For example, some polling locations told voters they needed photo ID to vote. But a call to the county clerks in charge straightened out that problem. Some others were concerned about anti-abortion trucks “rolling through Corrales this morning.” The next stop for the trucks may be Los Lunas around midday.
Voters in New Mexico may want to imbibe in some alcoholic beverages tonight while watching election results. Whether those are celebratory drinks or drinking to get through the night will depend on the election results. But if voters forgot to get their champagne or whiskey or beers before Tuesday, no, it isn’t too late. Liquor sales are allowed in New Mexico on Election Day, and have been for nearly two decades. Older voters may remember a time when liquor sales on Election Day were prohibited while the polls were open.
A final poll of the presidential race in New Mexico shows Hillary Clinton clinging to a two-point lead over Republican Donald Trump. The poll by ZiaPolls was conducted Nov. 6 and surveyed 8,429 likely voters—a much larger number than normal for a public opinion poll, especially for a statewide poll. The poll finds Clinton has the support of 46 percent of likely New Mexico voters to Trump’s 44 percent. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, running as a Libertarian, receives the support of just 6 percent of voters, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein is at 1 percent.
Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made a splash with their TV ads in New Mexico in the final week of campaign 2016. But neither candidate broke into the top three spenders or the top five advertisers during October. Republican Trump spent $219,500 on 466 ads in the state, while Democrat Clinton spent $179,374 on 1,194 ads. (Clinton’s spending went further because she also bought ads on cable and satellite TV, which is less expensive than network TV ads.)
That’s according to an analysis of TV and cable ad contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission. 1st Congressional District Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, still tops the list of spenders during October at $427,463.
Tomorrow, as you may have heard, is Election Day. Voters (who haven’t already gone to the polls) will decide on not just the presidential election, but on a number of key legislative races. We spoke about early voting, and why we think so many more people took advantage of early voting this year than in 2008 or 2012. We also went through the key races in both the state Senate and House of Representatives, looking at which districts will determine who controls both chambers come January. And, of course, we touched on the presidential race, looking at recent polls that show Hillary Clinton with a small but persistent lead, and Gary Johnson’s race for 5 percent and what it would mean for the Libertarian Party in the state.
New Mexico voters finished early voting with a flourish, with over 88,000 New Mexicans casting ballots early and in-person in the final two days of early voting on Friday and Saturday, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s office. More voters voted early this year than in either 2008 or 2012, even as absentee voting numbers continue to fall. Democrats finished with a 64,727 vote advantage with early voting over Republicans, casting 229,208 early ballots compared to 164,481 for Republicans. Those not part of either major party cast 79,478 ballots early. Early voting ended Saturday.
A poll by Research and Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal released Sunday shows Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by 5 percent in New Mexico, days before Election Day. Research and Polling, which conducts polls for the Journal, is the only pollster that uses live interviews to poll in New Mexico this year. The poll, conducted from Nov. 1 to 3, shows 45 percent of likely voters say they will vote for Clinton, while 40 percent say they will vote for Trump. Former Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, saw his support fall to 11 percent.
A new poll shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump is just 3 percent in New Mexico. That comes from ZiaPoll, a new pollster that released four polls in the presidential race in recent months, with each showing the trend moving toward Trump. The most recent poll, conducted on Nov. 1 and 2, found that Clinton leads Trump 46 percent to 43 percent, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson at 7 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 1 percent. This poll reflects the closest margin between Clinton and Trump in any poll so far this election season, edging out a late-September Research and Polling, Inc. poll for the Albuquerque Journal which showed Clinton with a 4 percent lead.
Early voting numbers have already exceeded total early votes cast in New Mexico during the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to the latest numbers from the Secretary of State’s office. A total of 376,088 voters cast early in-person votes through the close of polls Thursday, 28,929 more than in 2008 and 1,514 more than in 2012. Early voting closes Saturday. A total of 52,639 voters have returned absentee ballots, bringing the total ballots cast up to 428,727—just under 33 percent vote turnout even before election day. The number of absentee ballots cast is well off the pace from 2008 and 2012 levels.