Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Mexico's Swing Voters

The New Mexico poll PPP released on Monday found 5% of the population undecided, with 7% of those who did have a preference open to changing their minds between now and the election. That means about 11-12% of the electorate in the state is up for grabs six weeks out from the voting.

Who are these voters?

-They have a decided Democratic tilt to them. 49% identify as Democrats compared to just 19% Republicans, with 32% independents. They support Tom Udall by a 61-17 margin over Steve Pearce.

-They're also on average more rural than the overall electorate of the state. While 64% of voters in total describe themselves as living in a rural area, 71% of the swing voters do.

-Although 54% of voters in general are women, 54% of these voters who could go either way are men.

-Somewhat surprisingly they're younger than the population at large, with 23% under 30.

-They don't like Joe Biden or Sarah Palin, with each having a negative net approval around 10%.

What does it all mean?

Like he does in many states Barack Obama still has some work to do winning over rural Democrats. The good news for him is that in New Mexico there aren't that many going right over to John McCain's side. They're almost all still open to voting for him and he just needs to convince them to.

New Mexico is a rare state, like Virginia, where the voters seem to be even more enamored with the Democratic Senate candidate than they are with the Presidential nominee. Usually down ballot candidates die to have a national candidate appear with them, but in this case any time Obama or Biden or one of their major surrogates comes to the state they may want to make sure they're seen with Udall.

Obama has a big lead in the state already, and the profile of the swing voters is such that it seems likely to expand if anything, as long as the current political climate continues through November.

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