Biden and Sanders Neck-and-Neck Among New Mexico Voters

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (CN) – A new poll from Emerson College finds Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont barely leading former Vice President Joe Biden among New Mexico Democratic presidential primary voters.

From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. raise their hands to answer a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate on Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Sanders has 28% support from Democrats in New Mexico while 27% prefer Biden, according to the poll released Tuesday. The only other Democratic candidate to reach double-digit support was entrepreneur Andrew Yang with 10%.

Another 10% of voters polled indicated they would rather vote for “someone else” than the candidates running.

Rounding out the top five candidates are Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 8% and 7%, respectively.

New Mexico has been a Democratic stronghold for several presidential elections. Voters have elected the Democratic candidate in every election since 1992 except for the 2004 presidential election, when Republican George W. Bush won the state by just over 6,000 votes.

In 2016, 48% of voters in New Mexico opted for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, beating then-GOP candidate Donald Trump by eight points.

The Emerson poll indicates that Democratic streak will carry forward in 2020.

President Trump has a 39% approval and 54% disapproval rating among New Mexico voters, but pulls 87% support from Republican primary voters in the state.

In head-to-head matchups, the president does not fare well. The poll found 59% of voters would vote for Sanders over Trump, 55% for Buttigieg over Trump, and 54% for either Biden or Warren versus Trump.

“[A]s the country focuses on the early nominating contests, we looked at the end of the nomination schedule to the June 2nd New Mexico primary to see how things might play out if the race is still contested at that point,” said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling, in a statement. “It appears if Sanders and Biden are able to emerge as the top two candidates, they are set up for a close showdown in New Mexico – but the race is still fluid as a majority of voters, 52%, say they could change their mind.”

According to the poll, the most important issue for New Mexico Democratic voters is the economy at 34%, followed by health care at 17% and social issues at 16%. No other issue earned more than 8% interest.

New Mexico holds one of the latest presidential primaries of the year on June 2, about a month and a half before the Democratic National Convention is held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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