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Survey: Obama has strong position to win New Mexico in 2012

According to a survey by a Democratic polling firm, President Barack Obama starts off in strong position to win New Mexico in 2012 as he did in 2008. The Public Policy Polling poll shows that Obama has a large lead over the potential Republican presidential candidates polled. The poll also shows that the strongest Republican challenger is former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson.

In addition to leading the Republican candidates in electoral scenarios, Obama has an approval rating of 55 percent and a disapproval rating of 40 percent.

Johnson was also the strongest Republican candidate in a U.S. Senate poll. Johnson is widely seen as angling for a Republican run at president in 2012.

The next closest candidate besides Gary Johnson’s 15 point deficit to Obama (51 percent to 36 percent) is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who trails 53 percent to 37 percent. Obama leads former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee 55 percent to 36 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich 56 percent to 35 percent and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin 62 percent to 33 percent.

“At this rate, New Mexico may not even be considered a swing state,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Despite Democrats’ difficulties last year, the West—including Colorado and Nevada—is turning more and more solid blue.”

The poll does have a high number of Democrats in the sample: 55 percent Democrats compared to 29 percent Republicans and 16 percent independents or other parties. According to the Secretary of State, as of January 31 of this year, 49 percent of registered voters are Democrats, 32 percent are Republicans, 16 percent are decline to state, or Independent, and 3 percent are registered with other parties.

Obama holds large leads among both Democrats and ” decline to state” voters against all candidates. The Republican with the most support from “decline to state” and third-party voters is Johnson who received support from 29 percent. Palin had the lowest support, just 22 percent. Obama had the backing of between 53 percent of “decline to state” and independent voters, against Johnson, to 73 percent, against Palin.

“One thing that’s particularly notable within the numbers and bodes quite well for Obama is that he actually leads Palin and Gingrich with white voters, ties Huckabee, and trails Johnson and Romney by only 3 and 4 points respectively,” Tom Jensen, Director of PPP wrote. “If you can come close to breaking even as a Democrat with white voters in New Mexico you’ve got it won, given that Obama has anywhere from a 35-52 point lead with the Hispanic vote that’s only becoming a larger and larger portion of the electorate in the state.”

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