-Susana Martinez continues to have some of the most impressive approval numbers in the country. We find 50% of voters approving of her to 39% who disapprove. She's only of only 11 Governors PPP has found this year with an approval at 50% or higher, and she's the most popular out of the new Republican Governors elected last fall that we've polled on.
What makes Martinez's numbers so noteworthy is that she's doing it as a Republican in a state that voted for Barack Obama by 15 points in 2008 and appears ready to do so again next year. In addition to universal support from Republicans, an unusually high 32% of Democrats give her good marks and independents approve of her by a 48/38 margin as well.
Marco Rubio (40% approval in Florida) and Bob McDonnell (45% approval in Virginia) get most of the VP buzz, but Martinez has much more impressive numbers in her home state.
-Martinez's numbers are good but they don't match up to the state's Senate delegation. Jeff Bingaman (54/32) and Tom Udall (51/33) both have very strong numbers. The only other states where PPP has found both Senators with at least a 50% approval rating this year are Maine, Mississippi, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.
-2 of New Mexico's iconic politicians left office in the last few years and we checked up on how voters in the state are currently feeling about them. Bill Richardson continues to be one of the most reviled political figures in the country, with only 27% seeing him favorably to 63% with an unfavorable opinion. To put a 63% unfavorability into some context, we found that Charlie Sheen was seen negatively by 67% of Americans earlier this year. Probably not the company a politician wants to be keeping.
Former Senator Pete Domenici on the other hand remains extremely popular with 56% of voters seeing him favorably to just 29% with a negative opinion. In addition to very strong numbers with Republicans (71/17) and independents (60/21), he's even seen positively by a plurality of Democrats (46/39).
-Our recent polling suggests that the Mountain West is moving toward support for gay marriage. 45% of New Mexico voters think it should be legal to 43% who believe it should be illegal. We also found narrows pluralities in support of gay marriage on recent Nevada and Colorado polls. When you expand the discussion to include civil unions 67% of New Mexicans support some form of legal recognition for gay couples to only 32% completely opposed.
The movement on gay marriage is symbolic of why I think this region is generally going to be difficult for Republicans, at least in Presidential years, for a long time to come. These states are pretty socially moderate to liberal, and they're not going to be very inclined to support right wing GOP Presidential candidates. Along those lines it's worth noting only 34% of New Mexico voters support the goals of the Tea Party, while 50% are opposed.
-New Mexico is clearly not a pro sports state. 41% of voters say they don't have a favorite NFL team, and 38% say they don't have a favorite MLB team. Opinion is split a bunch of different ways among those who do: the Cowboys and Broncos tie at 17% for favorite NFL team followed by the Packers at 10%, Cardinals at 5%, Raiders at 4%, 49ers at 3%, Chargers at 2%, and Texans at 1%. The Cubs and Yankees tie for top MLB team honors at 13%, followed by the Diamondbacks and Rockies at 10%, Dodgers at 8%, Rangers and Braves at 4%, and Astros at 1%.
When it comes to the preferred college in the state it's no contest...New Mexico beats New Mexico State 42-18.
Full results here