New Mexico is a state that almost everyone assumes Hillary Clinton will win, and in the Obama era, it shifted from purple to deep blue — Obama won the state by 15 points in 2008 and 10 points in 2012. George W. Bush narrowly won the state in 2004 and narrowly lost it in 2000.
The state doesn’t get polled much, but the three most recent surveys show Hillary with a much smaller lead: Clinton by 5, Clinton by 3 and the new Albuquerque Journal poll puts Clinton ahead by 5. (If you’re wondering if Gary Johnson is a big factor in his home state, he’s at 11, 7 and 9 percent in the last three polls.)
Early voting in New Mexico is favoring registered Democrats, but day by day, registered Republicans are closing the gap:
Of the 428,727 votes cast, counting both returned absentee ballots and votes cast early and in-person, 211,996 (49.45 percent) are from Democrats, while 154,869 (36.12 percent) are from Republicans and 61,862 (14.43 percent) are from members of either a third party or no party.
On the first day of expanded early voting on Oct. 22, Democrats made up 55.98 percent of all votes, Republicans 31.48 percent and members of neither party 12.54 percent.
A Democratic data analysis firm calculates the Latino vote has increased from 25 percent of the early vote last cycle to 28 percent this year.
(Note this is a fairly small state; just 783,756 voted in the presidential election last cycle. More than 879,000 voted in Miami-Dade County in Florida in 2012.)
At this point, there isn’t enough reason to take New Mexico out of the Clinton pile — but the state could well turn out to be much closer than in 2012. Many Republicans argue that the GOP has to do more to appeal to Latinos in future election cycles, an argument I find compelling. But that argument will be complicated if a candidate like Trump, seen as anti-Latino, actually performs better in a heavily-Latino state than a candidate who wasn’t seen as anti-Latino, like Mitt Romney.