With Republicans and independents gaining ground on Democrats in voting in New Mexico over the last week, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump insisted during a rally in Albuquerque on Sunday that he can win the state’s five electoral votes.
“I’m going to tell you a little secret … We’re tied in New Mexico,” Trump told the crowd, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “In nine days, we are going to win this state, and we are going to take back the White House.”
In fact, polling this week showed a tightening race in New Mexico and nationwide. A poll of likely New Mexico voters showed Trump cutting Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead to 5 percentage points here, 45-40 percent.
Meanwhile, Republican and independent voters are cutting into the significant lead in voting turnout Democrats had been enjoying in New Mexico.
Through Oct. 29 — Saturday — 257,863 New Mexicans had voted in person, according to data provided Sunday by the Secretary of State’s Office. Nearly 52 percent were Democrats — down from 58 percent who had voted in person through Oct. 22, a week earlier. Republicans gained 5 percent of the overall in-person voting total in the last week, going from 30 percent of all votes cast through Oct. 22 to 35 percent through Oct. 29.
Independents and members of other parties gained two percent, going from 12 percent of the overall in-person vote through Oct. 22 to 14 percent through Oct. 29.
Republicans also gained ground in absentee voting. Through Saturday, 36,679 absentee ballots had been returned, the Secretary of State’s Office reported. While 47 percent of those came from Democrats — down from 49 percent through Oct. 22, a week earlier — 39 percent came from Republicans, which was up from 37 percent on Oct. 22. On both Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, independents and members of minor parties accounted for 14 percent of absentee ballots returned.
As of Sept. 30, 47 percent of registered voters in New Mexico were Democrats, 31 percent were Republicans, and 22 percent were independents or members of other parties. So to win statewide races in New Mexico, Republicans have to win Democratic and independent votes.
We won’t know how those in-person and absentee voters are voting in the presidential race or any other contest until the votes are tallied after the polls close on Nov. 8. But the most recent New Mexico poll may shed some light.
In that poll, about 17 percent of those surveyed said they associate with a party other than Democrat or Republican, or as independents. Trump was leading Clinton by 3 percent among that group.
The poll also found Trump winning more crossover votes. Twenty percent of Democrats said they supported Trump, while 13 percent of Republicans said they supported Clinton.
The survey, from ZiaPoll, also found Trump leading Clinton among voters between the ages of 18 and 34. While fewer young people are registered as Republicans, “Trump is seeing substantial support from the other parties represented within this voting block,” ZiaPoll’s polling memo states.
“This will be Brexit times ten,” Trump said Sunday in Albuquerque, referring to the fact that most polls leading up to the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union earlier this year were wrong.
After Trump’s rally, Deb Haaland, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, referenced the fact that Democrats still hold the lead in early voting, saying the numbers show “that New Mexicans aren’t buying Donald Trump’s dangerous and divisive rhetoric.”
“The Republican vision for our state and our country couldn’t be more different than Democrats’ vision, and Trump’s desperate attempt to shore up support in New Mexico won’t work,” Haaland said. “Democrats will work everyday to ensure Hillary’s message resonates in our state, and we’ll ensure that our voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.”