Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 10, 2003
New Mexico's near-bellwether status seems more accidental than anything else; it's hard to think of a state more atypical of the nation, yet it keeps on voting at or near the national average. It voted Republican for president in the 1980s, Democratic in the 1990s and gave Al Gore a 366-vote margin in 2000. Unlike most Rocky Mountain states, New Mexico's demographic trends favor Democrats: conservative Little Texas gained little population in the 1990s, while the Hispanic percentage rose and Indian voting increased; George W. Bush's popularity among Latinos in Texas didn't transfer at all to New Mexico's very different Hispanic voters. Whites here voted 58%-37% for Bush, Hispanics 66%-32% for Gore. The vote counting here in 2000 was as ragged as in Florida, or more so. In Bernalillo County, where one-third of the state's votes were cast, the optical scanning machine used for counting the 66,000 absentee and early ballots was misprogrammed; also, an envelope with 257 ballots was lost in the warehouse. When these glitches were finally fixed, George W. Bush ended up leading the state count by exactly 4 votes. Then someone discovered that a "620" had been misread as "120" in Dona Ana County, gaining Al Gore 500 votes. Republicans declined to ask for a recount.
New Mexico traditionally held its presidential primary in June, long after every major party nomination since 1984 has been settled. But in 2003 Governor Bill Richardson signed a bill allowing parties to hold caucuses in lieu of the presidential primary; the 2004 caucuses are slated for February 3.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|2000 Republican Primary|
|2000 Democratic Primary|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in New Mexico, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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