Obama leads Clinton in new N.M. poll

Posted 2/02/2008 03:34:00 PM

A new poll of New Mexico Democrats – the first conducted since Bill Richardson left the presidential race – has Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by six points.

However, that’s within the margin of error of 7 percent.

The statewide survey of 207 New Mexico Democrats who are likely to vote, conducted Jan. 22-31, had Obama up 48 percent to 42 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

“It seems like a great poll, but we know that we are underdogs in this state and we’re going to scrap and fight for change,” said Obama spokesman Trevor Fitzgibbon. “That’s why we have canvassers out in 17 communities and cities pushing for change right now, because we are underdogs.”

The Clinton campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.

The poll is significant in advance of Tuesday’s Democratic Party caucus because it’s the first survey to indicate the dynamics of the race without Richardson in it.

The poll was conducted by students in the Political Research Skills government course at New Mexico State University. Professor Jose Z. Garcia, a well-known political analyst, supervised the polling and personally interviewed Spanish speakers – calling them back after they were reached by students who could not interview them – to ensure they were included in the poll.

The Demographics of those surveyed are fairly close to the state’s demographics, Garcia said, so he is confident in the poll. However, a number of factors could lead to different results when Democrats vote on Tuesday, he said. Polling has become more difficult over the years, in part because of the increased use of cell phones, and polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina have been wrong in part because of unusually high voter turnout.

“At this point I would go with the poll and say that’s the likely outcome, unless there is a significant difference in turnout,” Garcia said.

The poll found Clinton slightly stronger among Hispanics – 48 percent to Obama’s 46 percent – and Obama stronger among non-Hispanics – 49 percent to Clinton’s 38 percent.

The poll did not account for the fact that others will appear on the ballot on Tuesday – including Richardson – even though they have dropped out of the race. Those surveyed were only given the choice between Clinton, Obama and undecided.

Other results

The survey was part of a larger poll of 409 New Mexicans that also asked about the GOP presidential primary, the U.S. Senate race and the popularity of the governor and president.

The survey of 142 Republicans found John McCain with the support of 44 percent and a huge lead in New Mexico. His closest challenger was Mitt Romney, who had the support of 20 percent those surveyed. That survey has a margin of error of 8 percent.

New Mexico Republicans aren’t holding their presidential primary until June.

The poll found Democrat Tom Udall with a 53 percent to 31 percent lead over Republican Steve Pearce in a potential general-election contest and a 58 percent to 30 percent lead over Republican Heather Wilson in a potential general-election contest.

President George W. Bush has a 31-percent approval rating in New Mexico, according to the survey, while 59 percent disapprove and 9 percent have no opinion. Asked to rate Richardson’s performance on a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest, 50 percent gave him a four or five, while 24 percent gave him a one or two.

The questions about the Senate race and president have a margin of error of 5 percent.

You can see the entire poll by clicking here.

Update, Feb. 3, 9 p.m.

Kristin Lee, the Clinton campaign spokeswoman, said across the nation the polls are “all over the place” and the campaign isn’t focusing on polls.

“Here’s what we know: We have a tremendous amount of support in the state. We have a great organization. And we have the only candidate who supports universal health care, a candidate with the best solutions for how to fix the economy and a candidate with the experience to end the war in Iraq,” Lee said. “There is so much excitement for Hillary Clinton here, and we’re expecting to do very well on Tuesday.”

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At 5:52 PM, February 04, 2008, Blogger Shawn said...

I will say that Obama has had a very organized and committed grassroots organization in New Mexico from very early in the race. Even in Bill Richardson's backyard, Obama was drawing support from a wide cross-section of the populace. Barack Obama is a candidate that benefits from longer exposure to the population because his message is one that our country wants and needs to hear. Plus, he has the character to back up his message of hope and unity.

At 4:39 AM, November 10, 2008, Blogger Polly said...

The Polls Show That Reaganism Is Not Dead


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