Midterm elections 2022: Here are the issues New Mexico voters care about the most

As the country inches closer to Election Day, voters are homing in on issues that may decide the fate of Congress and several state governments in November.

The Washington Examiner is tracking which issues are on the top of voters’ minds as they prepare to head to the polls, particularly in key battleground states that could bring a shift in power to the federal government. Specifically, we’re tracking how voters are researching our top five issues — abortion, crime, education, inflation, and taxes — and how these interests fluctuate as we get closer to Election Day.

MIDTERMS 2022: TRACKING THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO VOTERS AHEAD OF ELECTION DAY

Below, you can track the interest in New Mexico for each of our key issues on a rolling 30-day basis. The Washington Examiner will be updating this page as interests and voting concerns change.

Key races we’re watching in the state: 

New Mexican residents will vote for multiple seats in the House of Representatives and the governor’s mansion in the 2022 midterm election.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Lujan Grisham (D-NM) will face Mark Ronchetti (R-NM), a former meteorologist and U.S. Senate candidate in 2020. Ronchetti has based most of his platform on fighting domestic crime and international drug/human trafficking, stating he would deploy the National Guard to the southern border. On the other end, Grisham has been running a more progressive platform, advocating for free college education and renewable energy, among other issues.

A SurveyUSA poll conducted from Oct. 1-6 shows Grisham holding a strong lead over Ronchetti, with 53% of surveyed voters supporting Grisham, compared to 37% who said they would vote for Ronchetti.

Democrat Gabe Vasquez is aiming to flip New Mexico’s southern House seat, challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Yvette Herrell for the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District. The district is favored to lean slightly Democratic.

Education

Education emerged as the top-researched issue among New Mexico voters in mid-September and remained the No. 1 priority into October, according to internet searches recorded and analyzed by Google Trends.

Interest spiked greatly from Sept. 17 to Oct. 13, seeing significant interest on Sept. 22 and renewed interest on Oct. 12.

The University of New Mexico released its enrollment numbers on Sept. 22, highlighting the “talent and diversity” of the student population. Enrollment increased 1.6% — the first increase since 2012. There was also a 25.9% increase in new transfer students and growth in American Indian, Hispanic, and African American first-year students. It is the only Research 1 institution in New Mexico.

Crime

Crime also emerged as a top issue, ending as the No. 2 concern as of Oct. 13 after receiving a few significant spikes in interest earlier throughout mid-September and into October.

Interest remained steady with a significant jump on Oct. 6, when Grisham asked the federal Department of Justice to send more FBI agents to the state to help assist with the rise in violent crime.

Crime is a prominent issue within the governor’s race, as Ronchetti blames the state’s bail system and judicial appointments for public safety concerns. Grisham has announced investments in crime-reduction grants, a bump in pay for state police, and new spending on local police recruitment and job retention.

Taxes

Taxes emerged as another top issue among voters, staying steady from mid-September into mid-October. The issue came in at No. 3 as of Oct. 13.

New Mexico sent out the fourth economic relief check for residents. The final deadline to apply for the fourth economic stimulus check worth at least $400 was Oct. 9. The payments were aimed at low-income households, and the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration will start sending payments to approved applicants before the end of November.

Abortion

Abortion and inflation tied for the No. 4 issue researched among New Mexico residents. Abortion saw a slight spike on Sept. 20, remaining relatively steady until Oct. 13.

New Mexico’s attorney general joined a 20-state coalition, along with the District of Columbia, at the end of September. The coalition voiced their support in a brief over the class-action lawsuit Fund Texas Choice v. Paxton which is seeking a federal injunction to stop anti-abortion laws in Texas.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, who is not running for reelection, said his office aims to protect New Mexicans “and our healthcare providers from legal threats that infringe on constitutional rights, including the right to travel across state lines.”

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Inflation

Inflation is tied with abortion for the lowest-searched topics throughout September and into October, receiving a significant spike in interest on Sept. 25 before falling back to tie for No. 4 as of Oct. 13.

A Monmouth University poll from Sept. 21-25 released on Oct. 3 shows that 82% of respondents believe inflation is the top major issue, with a corresponding 30% believing that Biden is handling it well.

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