Gary Johnson Stirs Up Senate Race in New Mexico; Tight Race for Governor – Majority do not support expansion of Border Wall, but major split along party lines

Former New Mexico Governor and Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson is the top competition against US Senator Martin Heinrich (D) after announcing on Thursday that he was running for US Senate, according to an Emerson poll. The poll found incumbent Heinrich is at 39% Johnson at 21%, and the Republican nominee Mick Rich at 11%. 30% of voters were undecided. The poll was conducted August 17-18 with a +/-4.6 percentage points.

Republicans appear split, with 27% voting for Johnson and 25% for Rich. Independents are also split but among these voters Heinrich is at 32%, Johnson 25%, and Rich at 7%. Heinrich leads with Democrats getting 60% of their vote, with Rich at 3%, Johnson pulls 13% of Democrats.

The race for Governor is very competitive with Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) at 42% and Rep. Steve Pearce (R) at 40%. 18% of voters were undecided. There is a gender divide with males breaking for Pearce 45% to 38% while females are breaking for Grisham 45% to 36%.

Grisham leads as expected in her home first congressional district 48%-32%, while Pearce is at 43% to Grishams’ 35% in his home 2nd District; the third has Pearce at 46% and Grisham at 42%.

Democrats lead on a generic congressional ballot test – 43% to 33% with 20% undecided. A breakout by district has the generic Democrat in district 1 leading 51% to 27%, while in Pearce’s old 2nd District; the Republican is at 39% and the Democrat at 35%, in District 3 the Democrats have a 45% to 32% edge.

Overall both Gubernatorial candidates are popular with Grisham at 45% favorable and 29% unfavorable and Pearce at 41% favorable and 31% unfavorable.

Voters approve of the job performance of Senator Heinrich with a 39% job approval and 25% disapproval. Outgoing Governor Susana Martinez has a 30% job approval and 47% disapproval.

President Trump has a lower job approval in the land of enchantment than his national RCP average of 43% to 52%, with a 35% approval and 54% disapproval in New Mexico.

Regarding the border wall, 38% of those polled favored the US significantly expanding construction of walls along the US-Mexico border, while a majority – 54% said no it should not. The issue is split along party lines – 72% of Republican agrees with the expanded wall while 76% of Democrats disagree. Independents said no 55% to 36%.


The New Mexico Emerson College Poll was conducted August 17-18, 2018 under the Supervision of Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=500, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.6 percentage points. The data was weighted by ethnicity, gender, party affiliation, mode and congressional district. It is important to remember that subsets carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines and an online panel provided by Survey Monkey.

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