Eastern New Mexico has a complex.
It is misunderstood and stereotyped by people who live along the Rio Grande corridor of central New Mexico.
Politically diverse, the 2012 Presidential election provided a significant wakeup call for Republicans. Their votes, for Republican Mitt Romney, in the seven counties that border Texas were off-set in Santa Fe County, by Democrats who were voting for President Barak Obama.
Tourism in Eastern New Mexico is defined by Carlsbad Caverns and the UFO phenomenon. But it is accented by the Norman & Vi Petty Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum and roadside attractions like the windmill farm in Portales.
Economically, the region relies upon agriculture, fossil fuels and renewable energy for jobs. As a result, the region sees significant domestic and foreign immigrant traffic. The area also has a strong federal and state government presence.
When we look at the 2012 Garrity Perception Survey, we learn a little bit about who residents trust, which industries are viewed as favorable as well as how Eastern New Mexico residents access news and information.
Residents living on the Eastern plains have a very favorable impression of the farm and ranch industry, organized religion and the oil and gas industry. They favor local banks over national banks by a 2:1 margin, and have the same level of favorability in K-12, higher education and the solar/wind industry.
Blood is thicker than water as Eastern New Mexico residents trust family members twice as much as doctors, teachers or police officers. While Eastern residents access news and information in similar ways to those around New Mexico, they have a very low level of trust in journalists.
When it comes to New Mexico’s signature events, residents in Eastern New Mexico like the Balloon Fiesta at a rate that is three times higher than the annual UFO Festival that takes place in their own back yard.
The late and great Buddy Holly once said “I’m not trying to stump anybody… it’s the beauty of the language that I’m interested in.” Perhaps, in a way, he was referring to Eastern New Mexico, where he recorded many of his “pop” hits. Eastern New Mexico isn’t trying to stump anyone, it is just a unique place that can’t be easily placed in the New Mexico “box.”
Image from one of the original UFO themed marketing campaigns for the City of Roswell (circa 1997)