Barack Obama's popularity in New Mexico is on the decline but he still appears to be in pretty good shape to win the state again in 2012.
50% of voters in the state approve of the job Obama's doing to 44% who disapprove. When PPP polled New Mexico in February Obama was at a 55/40 spread. Since then he's seen a significant decline in his standing with independents, from 60% giving him good marks to just 49%. And he's also seen a more modest drop with Democrats, from 77% pleased with his performance to 72%.
Obama's still a strong favorite against any of the serious Republican candidates for President though. Only Mitt Romney fares significantly better than John McCain did in 2008 when he lost the state by 15 points. He trails the President by 7 points at 49-42. Obama blows away the rest of the field- he leads Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty by 15 points each at 52-37 and 51-36 respectively, has a 16 point advantage over Herman Cain at 52-36, and trounces Sarah Palin by 20 points at 56-36.
The New Mexico numbers are another data point to just how much more electable Romney is than the rest of the Republican field right now- an 8 point gap between how he does against Obama compared to any other GOP hopeful is significant and we've seen something similar in our national polling too.
Romney does the best of the serious Republican candidates in the state but one GOP candidate who is an asterisk in national polling actually comes closer to Obama than he does- the state's former Governor Gary Johnson who trails by only 3 points at 46-43. Although Obama leads the rest of the Republican candidates by 16-26 points with independents, Johnson actually tops the President with that voter group at 46-37. He also picks up more than 20% of the Democratic vote.
Johnson's unusually popular for a Republican...with voters who aren't Republicans...his problem is the primary voters who hold the key to the nomination. Numbers we'll release tomorrow show he's not doing terribly well on that front even in his home state.
Out of the Bush 2004/Obama 2008 states New Mexico seems the least likely to flip back to the Republicans in 2012.
Full results here