UNM political expert discusses protest votes in presidential primary elections | KOB 4

UNM political expert discusses protest votes in presidential primary elections

Nathan O'Neal
Updated: June 04, 2020 02:08 PM
Created: June 03, 2020 05:39 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Voter turnout in New Mexico’s Tuesday primary election was reasonably high for both Republicans and Democratic voters across the state.

When it comes to the Republican bid for president, Donald Trump ran unopposed, but at least 12,000 Republicans voted against him when given no other option.

“I do think that's some sort of protest vote by those individuals and I think that's certainly important to consider there are some Republicans who are indicating that they are not supportive of Donald Trump, but the overwhelming number of them, so 92 percent of them voted for Trump. That was way more than those who voted for Trump in 2016,” said Lonna Atkeson, a political expert from UNM.

On the blue side, former Vice President Joe Biden’s name appeared on the ballot alongside previous contenders. The presumptive nominee won New Mexico’s primary, but tens of thousands of people voted for someone else like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

“I would say it's a mixture of a protest—‘I don't like Biden and I'm not going to vote for him and I sincerely like someone else, but I'm still going to vote blue in November,’” Atkeson said.

Atkeson said there are still a lot of questions about what will impact the general election, including the ongoing pandemic. However, she said it will be important to see how those protest votes shake out and whether those voters will decide to stay at home or vote for somebody else.

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