New Mexico was one of Barack Obama's most surprising states in 2008- not that he won it, but that he won it by such a wide 15 point margin after George W. Bush had taken it in 2004. Obama remains popular in the state and if he had to stand for reelection today he'd take it by a similar amount to his previous victory.
Obama's approval rating with New Mexicans is 55% with 40% of voters disapproving of him. Most noteworthy are his very strong numbers with independents, 60% of whom are happy with the job he's doing to 32% who dissent.
The strongest Republican we tested is a native son, former Governor Gary Johnson, although he still trails 51-36. The key to Johnson's comparatively strong numbers is that he takes 19% of the Democratic vote, where none of the other Republicans can exceed 15%. That's probably attributable to his not exactly GOP platform views on some issues like marijuana- his favorability with Democrats at 44% is actually slightly higher than his 43% standing with Republicans.
Beyond Johnson none of the Republicans can claim much appeal to New Mexico voters and because of that Obama leads all of them by greater amounts than his 2008 margin of victory. He's up 16 points against Mitt Romney at 53-37, 19 against Mike Huckabee at 55-36, 21 against Newt Gingrich at 56-35, and 29 against Sarah Palin at 62-33.
All of those margins are greater than Obama's +15 approval spread in the state and that's because more New Mexicans have unfavorable than favorable opinion of each of the leading Republicans. Huckabee and Romney have the 'best' numbers, but each of them is at a -12 spread, 34/46 favorability for Huckabee and 33/45 for Romney. Gingrich has a -31 breakdown at 25/56 and Palin is -33 at 31/64. It's probably going to be pretty hard for any Republican to win New Mexico next year unless there's some dramatic decline in Obama's standing, but if they do want to win it they're going to need a stronger candidate than any of the folks currently seen as being at the top of the heap.
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. 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. This state does not seem likely to go back to the Republicans in 2012.
Full results here