Last week, Pres. Barack Obama's reelection campaign announced it's almost doubling the size of field offices in the state. That seemed like an odd investment for a campaign that, according to the polls, has a secure lead over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in New Mexico.
Yet a recent Research and Polling, Inc. survey found Obama's lead has dwindled to 5 percentage points—just as the campaign opened two new Albuquerque-area offices. It's also worth noting that field offices are sometimes used by candidates of the respective parties competing in other races.
The count now? The Republican National Committee has eight "Victory" offices in the state, while the Democrats will have a total of 13 by the end of the month. The biggest targets, as always, are the independent voters, or those who "declined to state" a party, as the New Mexico Secretary of State's office calls them—although Republicans also might have to lure conservative Democrats to their side for a Romney victory if Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans in registration.
"It's an uphill fight, obviously, but he's on defense," Clay Sutton, the Republican National Committee spokesman in New Mexico, says of Obama. "They're acting awful worried about reelection in one state where he's really popular."
Mahen Gunaratna, the New Mexico/Arizona communications director for the Obama campaign, retorts in an email: "New Mexicans find Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's economic scheme familiar and troubling: more budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy; fewer rules for Wall Street—the same formula that benefited a few, but crashed our economy and punished the middle class."
This map breaks down voter registration by color (red for Republicans, blue for Democrats, gray for independents and green for "other") in each county with a campaign field office. The white dots—labeled "D" for Democratic and "R" for Republican—mark the actual office locations.