ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A new statewide poll commissioned by The Albuquerque Journal shows President Barack Obama with a relatively small lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney and 8 percent of voters still undecided just nine weeks before the election.
The poll suggests that New Mexico's presidential race may be more competitive than national pundits and polls have previously suggested.
The Journal poll (http://bit.ly/U2Jeuq ) published Sunday in a copyright story shows 45 percent of those surveyed backed Obama and 40 percent supported Romney.
Another 7 percent backed the Libertarian candidate for president, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Johnson subtracted almost equal numbers of votes from Obama and Romney, according to the poll, meaning his third-party candidacy didn't damage either candidate over the other.
The Journal poll was conducted by Research & Polling Inc. of Albuquerque and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points. Landline and cellphone interviews were conducted with 667 likely voters from Sept. 3-6.
"When we look at the other polls that have come out over the last number of months, this race seems to be narrowing in New Mexico," said Journal pollster Brian Sanderoff.
Some political analysts have suggested New Mexico would break strongly in Obama's favor without much of a campaign in the state.
Sanderoff said the Journal poll indicates a notable shift in Obama's strength here.
"Most pundits categorized New Mexico as 'lean Democrat,' but we might be moving back to battleground status," Sanderoff said.
The Journal's poll showed Obama's strength in New Mexico is with Hispanic voters, although the margin of error for smaller groups queried in the poll increases. Obama had 56 percent support among voters identifying themselves as Hispanic while Romney claimed less than half that, with 26 percent.
About 12 percent of the Hispanics surveyed were undecided.
Romney took a larger share of voters who identified themselves as white, with about 48 percent saying they would vote for Romney, while 39 percent said they would vote for Obama.
National polls have shown Obama with an advantage among female voters, but the Journal poll found that he does not have as much of an edge in New Mexico. Obama was backed by about 46 percent of women in the poll, while Romney had 40 percent.
Romney appeared to have more backing among Democrats than Obama did among Republicans. Fifteen percent of the Democrats said they would likely vote for Romney, while 8 percent of the Republicans said they would vote for Obama.
Because just 32 percent of New Mexico voters are registered Republicans — compared with 48 percent registered Democrats — Romney has to draw votes away from the Democratic base to win in New Mexico, Sanderoff said.
"We see Romney pulling more D's than Obama is pulling R's, although that's not unusual," Sanderoff said. "That's essential for a Republican to have a chance."
Information from: Albuquerque Journal
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
When it's cold outside Albuquerque and Rio Rancho's homeless sometimes count on the kindness of strangers to keep warm.
On the Fourth Day of Thriftmas Gina Nielsen shows us how to make a framed display for your Christmas cards.
Every two seconds a new profile is added to LinkedIn. Are you one of them, and are you making some common mistakes?