PPP's newest New Mexico poll finds the race for President there getting a lot more competitive. Barack Obama continues to lead but his advantage is down to 5 points at 49-44, a far cry from the leads of 14 and 15 points he had on our previous two polls of the state.
The big difference between now and April comes with Democrats. Previously Obama was winning them 85-12 but now that lead is down to 73-21. New Mexico is a state, like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where any chance at victory for Romney is going to require winning over a significant number of conservative Democrats. Right now he's doing a pretty decent job of that.
New Mexico still looks like a lean Obama state, but a surprise choice by Mitt Romney of Susana Martinez as his running mate could make the state a toss up. With her on the ticket Obama's lead drops all the way down to 48-47. That's a testament to Martinez's appeal with Democrats. She would reduce Obama's lead with them even further to 70-25. There aren't a lot of potential VP choices who would make a big difference in their home states, but there also aren't a lot with a 56/34 approval spread.
Gary Johnson's potential impact on the race in New Mexico just keeps on declining. In December he was polling at 23%. By April that was down to 15% and now we find him at only 13%. Interestingly he hurts Obama a little bit more than Romney, pulling the President's lead down to 42-38. He gets 24% of the independent vote, and a lot of his support is coming from more Democratic leaning independents. Voters in the state are closely divided on Johnson with 39% rating him favorably and 40% unfavorably.
New Mexico makes it five battleground states in the last two weeks where PPP has found opposition to Obama's new immigration policy. 41% of voters support it with 46% against. Voters also narrowly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision on health care with 42% agreeing with it to 46% who dissent.
Obama probably doesn't need to worry too much about losing New Mexico but its increased competitiveness is certainly another sign that he's not as strong as he was last time around.
Full results here