In June 2018, a KOB4 News poll showed Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) leading Rep. Steve Pearce (R) by 13 points, 51% to 38%, in the open seat to be the next governor of New Mexico.
Grisham went on to win by 14 points, outperforming the KOB poll by one point.
Four years later, the same KOB4 poll (conducted in May 2022) gives now-incumbent Grisham only a four-point lead over challenger Mark Ronchetti. That poll was conducted before the former weatherman won the June 7 primary in a landslide, securing 58% of the vote in a five-man race.
A mid-June poll from left-leaning Public Policy Polling gave Grisham a 3-point edge over Ronchetti, 45%-42%.
The race once ranked as favoring Democrats, according to RealClearPolitics, is now officially a tossup.
This is the first official ranking shift in a blue state that political analysts have thus far considered safe, leans, or likely Democrat, and more “tossup” rankings are sure to follow.
As we reported yesterday, betting odds have shifted 20 points toward Ronchetti since March, Grisham’s approval has plummeted 11 points in two years, and incumbency may prove a hinderance in the November general election.
“A post-primary analysis by The Albuquerque Journal this month noted that ‘the party in control of the White House has lost every governor’s race in New Mexico’ since 1990, an ominous trend for an incumbent who rode to victory in a deep blue state on a national anti-Trump wave that flipped the U.S. House of Representatives and delivered 41 seats to Democrats.”—Betting Odds Shift 20 Points Toward Ronchetti in NM Governor’s Race, June 29, 2022
Grisham is one of the least popular governors in the country, she is a Biden acolyte who followed his COVID protocols to the letter, with little to no effect despite draconian lockdown policies and continuous emergency orders (as of this writing, it ranks eighth-highest in COVID deaths in the country).
At a time when Hispanics are fleeing the Democrat Party nationally, being the most Hispanic state in the country no longer guarantees New Mexico Democrats a victory in this traditionally blue state.
While the political pros from Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections still list the New Mexico governor’s race as “likely” or “leans” Democrat, RCP’s “tossup” rank is likely the beginning of a national polling shift that gives Republicans a fighting chance in a race once considered safe for now embattled Democrats.
Categories: 2022 Governor's Race