Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is leading her top Democratic gubernatorial opponent by five points in the first public poll of the 2014 New Mexico governor’s race, issued Tuesday by the North Carolina-based firm Public Policy Polling. The firm surveyed 674 registered voters and says the governor has a 47-42 lead over Democratic Attorney General Gary King. Martinez has a larger margin—from 11 to 16 points—when the poll pitted her against four other Democratic primary opponents.
King and those opponents are facing off against each other in a June primary race, wherein Democrats will elect which opponent will carry the party ticket to challenge an incumbent governor who’s been busy building her $3.3 million campaign bank account—not counting support from a dark-money nonprofit called New Mexico Competes.
About 34 percent of the 327 Democratic primary voters said they would vote for King, giving him a surprising 20 percent lead over his opponent. October campaign filings show King has also been the biggest fundraiser in the Democratic race—with $142,000 cash on hand—but he also placed last in the party’s pre-primary convention earlier this month, earning 10 percent of the delegate vote.
Although the poll showed Martinez with roughly an approval rating of 52 percent, the Republican Party was quick to attack it for only including 28 percent of Republicans in its survey. PPP says the margin of error for the poll is 3.8 percent. January 2014 voter registration data show that 31 percent of voters identify as Republican statewide.