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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PPP Poll: Dems Hold Slight Lead in 2012 U.S. Senate Race in NM

Public Policy Polling has released the results (including crosstabs) of a new survey of New Mexico voters on the race to replace Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who is retiring in  2012. Both Dem primary candidates -- State Auditor Hector Balderas and Rep. Martin Heinrich -- hold slight early leads over their potential GOP rivals:

Balderas 39% v. Lt. Gov. John Sanchez 35%
Balderas 45% v. former Rep. Heather Wislon 39%
Balderas 42% v. businessman Greg Sowards 28% 

Heinrich 45% v. Gov. John Sanchez 39%
Heinrich 47% v. former Rep. Heather Wilson 42%
Heinrich 46% v. businessman Greg Sowards 34% 

In terms of favorability:

Balderas
Favorable: Hispanic 30% -- White 15% -- Other 23% 
Unfavorable: Hispanic 16% -- White 19% -- Other 13%

Heinrich
Favorable: Hispanic 39% -- White 32% -- Other 36%
Unfavorable: Hispanic 31% -- White 35% -- Other 28% 

PPP notes that:

While crossover support is either even or to the Republican’s advantage in each matchup, the Democrats have a significant advantage with independents aside from the Sanchez-Balderas race. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 51-32, that’s a recipe for a Democratic victory.

Aside from Wilson, the field is relatively unknown with 32% or more unwilling to venture an opinion one way or the other on the other candidates. Both Democrats are slightly in positive territory among those who know them. 22% see Balderas favorably compared to 17% who see him unfavorably. Heinrich is better known and about as popular with a 36-32 rating. The Republicans on the other hand are not well liked. Sanchez rates most favorably 23-28, followed by Wilson at 38-45, and Sowards at 7-17. With such low name recognition among the candidates, the race has the potential to be very fluid and the Democrats can’t take it for granted.

The PPP conclusion:

“This race is going to be competitive but it has a clear lean toward the Democrats,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Wilson and Sanchez probably aren’t strong enough candidates to win the seat if Barack Obama simultaneously takes the state by double digits as he did in 2008.” 

The poll was conducted via automated telephone interviews from June 23th to 26th, and has a margin of error of +/-3.6%.

June 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Hector Balderas, Polling, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink

Comments

WOW! This is very good news for Balderas. I read through the poll - I think that it is very telling that an INCUMBENT Congressman polls at virtually the same level as the underdog state auditor in head to head matches against any of the Republicans. I think that Hector Balderas is in this race to win it, and the polling is beginning to show that indeed, he can.

Posted by: Javier | Jun 28, 2011 1:47:49 PM

Seems to me the poll is showing that either Democrat can win the Senate race and gee, I wish Heinrich would stick with the representative race, which I am sure he could win again.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Jun 28, 2011 7:18:52 PM

Polling this early is pretty meaningless. No issues have been debated and many candidates have not even laid out their positions. This is all about name recognition and the undecideds are still high. I think it does show that the Democrats have a slight edge no matter who runs.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 29, 2011 8:39:39 AM