Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Denish favored in Gov. race

In some sense New Mexico is seeing the same sort of bad turn for the Democrats that's occurring in other Mountain West states like Colorado and Nevada. Barack Obama's approval rating is in negative territory at 45/48, even though he won the state by a large margin in 2008. And Bill Richardson has become one of the least popular Governors in the country at a 28/63 spread.

Where New Mexico departs from its regional counterparts is that it still looks favored to vote Democratic in its most significant statewide race this year. Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish leads her top Republican opponent, Pete Domenici Jr., by a 45-40 margin and has leads of 14-18 points over the rest of the GOP field.

Denish is by far the best known of the candidates running, with 41% of voters in the state holding a positive opinion of her to just 34% who see her negatively. Domenici is the only one of the Republicans who more than half of the state has an opinion about, although it's possible people could just be conflating him with his father. Only 29-37% of the electorate has an opinion about any of the other GOP contenders.

Independents are turning toward the GOP in New Mexico, reflecting the trends we are seeing on the national level. Denish trails with them in 4 of 5 potential contests, including a 15 point deficit against Domenici. There are still a lot more Democrats than Republicans in the state though and Denish's solid popularity with her own party's voters makes her the early front runner.

Full results here

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