The Democratic primary battle in New Mexico might boil down to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, a new poll from Emerson College Polling suggests.
Sanders and Biden are leading a pack of six Democratic primary contenders seeking the party's nomination. A poll of 967 registered general election voters and 447 Democratic primary voters shows Sanders and Biden neck and neck in New Mexico, with 28 percent of the state's primary voters so far expressing support for Sanders and 27 percent for Biden.
The poll was conducted by landline telephone and online survey from Jan. 3 through Jan. 6, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. Respondents completed 601 surveys by landline, and 367 were taken online.
"It appears if Sanders and Biden are able to emerge as the top two candidates, they are set up for a close showdown in New Mexico," said Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling. "But the race is still fluid as a majority of voters, 52 percent, say they could change their mind."
The New Mexico split between Sanders and Biden appears to break down by age.
About 44 percent of voters age 29 or younger support Sanders, as do 36 percent of voters between the ages of 30 and 49. Biden captures 37 percent of the over-50 vote in the state.
The age split is consistent with national polling and the trend in the 2016 Democratic primary, with older voters backing Hillary Clinton and younger voters supporting Sanders, said Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc.
"We’re a long way off, and New Mexico has its primaries very late in the game in June," Sanderoff added. "We haven’t even begun the process yet of having the first caucus in primary states. [A poll is] no more than a snapshot in time. It’s what would happen today, and nothing more."
Businessman Andrew Yang polled in third place, with 10 percent of New Mexico voters expressing support for the candidate who has made a $1,000-per-month universal basic income for Americans a central part of his campaign.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., trailed at 8 percent, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg received 7 percent.
Sanders and Warren are leading the fundraising pack in New Mexico, the Associated Press reported in November, based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist who narrowly lost the 2016 Democratic primary to Clinton, raised at least $379,000 in individual contributions, and Warren raised close to that amount.
In a hypothetical race against President Donald Trump, Sanders leads Trump by 18 percentage points in New Mexico, the Emerson College poll said. Buttigieg leads Trump by 10 percentage points, and Warren and Biden lead Trump by 8 percentage points.
New Mexico Democratic Party Chairwoman Marg Elliston held a news conference Monday highlighting the party's efforts to boost Democratic voter turnout, reaching out to "all voters, young voters especially, and Native American and Hispanic voters in our majority minority state.
“So many people are fired up and ready to do their part to put a Democrat in the White House," Elliston said.
In Iowa, the first major political contest for presidential primary contenders, Sanders is polling slightly behind Biden, at 19.9 percent compared to 20.1 percent of Iowa primary voters, according to an average of multiple polls on FiveThirtyEight, a politics website owned by ABC News.