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Friday, July 01, 2011

Spinning the PPP Polls on Senate Dem Primary: Balderas v. Heinrich

Balderas180 Heinrich180

As we reported yesterday, results of a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey on the Senate primary races in New Mexico have Martin Heinrich leading Hector Balderas by a margin of 47-24% in the early going on the Dem side. PPP commented that this was probably due to Heinrich being "bolstered by greater name recognition."

In response to the polling, the Balderas campaign released a memo from the Benenson Strategy Group, its Washington DC campaign strategist, stressing that the race is likely to tighten as more Democrats become get to know Balderas:

Heinrich holds a 23% advantage over Balderas on the primary ballot. However, almost a third of the electorate (29%) remains undecided and Heinrich holds a similar 25% advantage over Balderas in name ID. This suggests Heinrich’s support is built largely on name ID, and that Heinrich’s lead on the ballots can be expected to tighten as more voters become familiar with Hector Balderas. This is often the case in races where one candidate holds a large lead in name ID. In July 2007, Hillary Clinton led Barack Obama in Democratic Primary polls by 17 points, largely on the strength of better name ID. As voters became better-acquainted with Obama, the polls tightened considerably. 

... According to the Public Policy Polling primary election poll, Heinrich has a 25% name ID advantage over Balderas: 73% of voters can identify Heinrich while 48% can identify Balderas, suggesting Balderas has more room to increase his vote as voters become more familiar with him. 

The Benenson memo also comments on the results of another PPP poll, released Tuesday, pitting the GOP candidates against the Dem candidates for Senate, saying it:

 ... shows New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas and Congressman Martin Heinrich holding similar leads over potential 2012 Republican opponents, despite Heinrich’s almost 30% name ID advantage. Further, Heinrich appears to be weakening against current GOP frontrunner and former Congresswoman Heather Wilson. 

... Congressman Heinrich’s lead over Wilson has been cut in half since the last Public Policy Polling survey in February 2011, dropping from 11% to 5%. 

This race continues to garner national attention with POLITICO today ranking it as number 7 in its list of most competitive Senate races, and claiming that Balderas won the month:

7. NEW MEXICO (Up 1 spot) — New Mexico leapfrogs Ohio after a Public Policy Polling survey showed both former Rep. Heather Wilson and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez within single digits of their potential Democratic opponents. Rep. Martin Heinrich and state auditor Hector Balderas showed comparable strength, presenting a difficult decision for a party eager to place more Hispanic faces at the top of the ticket. A subtle signal of the importance of Latinos: After indicating it was on the verge of backing Heinrich, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it will remain neutral. On the margins, neutrality is a win for Balderas. So far, he and Heinrich have been playing nice, while Wilson and Sanchez duke it out over who is a more genuine conservative.

Who won June: Balderas

Latest poll:
Balderas 45%
Wilson 39%
Source: Public Policy Polling, June 23-26, 732 voters

Bottom line: Show Me the Money
This is very early polling conducted way before ordinary voters start paying attention. However, it does provide some data that can serve as base marks when additional polling is done as the race progresses.

Rather than relying on these very preliminary polling results, perhaps the most telling way to judge the early standing of the candidates in this race will be to look at how the fundraising is going. The FEC quarter ended on June 30th, and results will be reported by July 15th. While it's important that both Heinrich and Balderas show strong early numbers, it's always considered vital that candidates new to congressional race contests show early on that they can raise the kind of money necessary to run a successful campaign at that level. Stay tuned.

July 1, 2011 at 11:33 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Hector Balderas, Polling, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink


Fundraising,Fundraising,Fundraising,Fundraising, "the most telling way to judge the early standing" ...Kinda leaves the average New Mexican struggling in today's labor market feeling like they really don't matter in this DC game.

Posted by: Val | Jul 1, 2011 1:19:38 PM

These early polls are meaningless. Early polls are just name recognition polls. A year out from the election Joe Lieberman was still polling in the high 40%'s in 2004. Does anybody remember how "President Lieberman" wound up doing in the 2004 primaries?

Martin Heinrich just came off a big-bucks high visibility contest based in Albuquerque.

Posted by: Ejército Libertador del Sur | Jul 1, 2011 2:25:15 PM

Yes but Hector Balderas has been in the news quite a bit too with his auditor accomplishments and he has campaigned statewide for his office and other Democrats so he should have some name recognition too. Nothing will mean much until these two get deeper into the issues and much will also depend on what's going on with the economy.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 1, 2011 2:52:13 PM

I sorta kinda resent Heinrich's giving up the 1st CD position to run for the Senate. It's opportunism, pure and simple, just as it was for Pearce.

Posted by: Ellen Wedum | Jul 1, 2011 9:35:05 PM

As a congressman Heinrich was in line for the Senate seat run. The one who should have stayed put or run for the CD1 seat instead is Hector Balderas.

Posted by: Bert | Jul 2, 2011 8:23:37 AM

Really? Being a Congressperson automatically puts you in line for a Senate run? Sen. Jeff Bingaman skipped a step in the process then when he ran for US Senate straight from AG! Not to mention that Heinrich didnt wait his turn when he ran for CD straight from City Council (Michelle Lujan Grisham had been in executive government positions for 20 years at that point, while Heinrich had been in government for 4 years).
Look, the argument is ridiculous. Hector has no reason why he "should wait his turn." I would argue that NOW is his turn. Heinrich really is doing his party a disservice by leaving behind a seat that he can probably get reelected to (CD1).

Posted by: RA | Jul 2, 2011 10:21:38 AM

Balderas has zero experience with the issues that concern US Senators. He has never been in a televised debate. He has never dealt with attacks by the right wingers in any serious way. He could have won the CD1 seat but instead he is challenging one of NM's best because his ego is so huge and he is banking on his hispanic last name. Balderas is not for Democrats he is for himself and he doesn't risk anything by running. Heinrich has to give up his seat.

If Balderas wants to be taken seriously he should give up his auditor post-then he would be serious.

Posted by: Observer | Jul 2, 2011 10:32:09 AM

Are you serious? Wow. It's a real shame that such a fine Congressman as Martin has to put up with such so-called supporters. Do you really believe that Hector is running solely because he's "banking on his Hispanic last name"? I don't even know how to respond to that. Is Martin running because he's banking on his Anglo last name? I suggest that you watch your tone. Incendiary comments and personal attacks are certainly not welcome. I fully support Martin and I like him both as a public servant and on a personal level. While my personal belief is that he's doing us a disservice by leaving CD1, I would never attack Martin in the same manner you have attacked Hector. I would never question Martin's motives, or accuse him of having an ego, or accuse him of pandering to the different demographics whether those demographics are Anglo, Hispanic, or whatever. Dems are LUCKY to have two fine, intelligent, young candidates, and I am tired of the "he should have waited his turn" argument. Let he who can win the hearts and minds of Democratic voters win this nomination and whoever that is, I will be behind him 110% to make sure we keep our Senate seat blue!

Posted by: RA | Jul 2, 2011 1:50:12 PM

Wow, that was a very racist low blow & shameful attack on Hector by "observer-Heinrich Supporter"!How sad that Heinrich supporters are clearly racist! I was supporting Heinrich, even contributed to him, but forget the contribution I can't stand what "Observer" just said about Hector's name, forget that, I'm leaning with Hector entirely, and no changing my mind about this final decison now not after it is clear to everyone what Heinrich supporters think of Balderas' Hispanic name! Wow, I'm in utter disbelief what I have just read by "Observer-Heinrichs supporter" and I will certainly pass this on letting the entire clan read this. Man I've met Hector and he's a wonderful person very likable by all, he works diligently hard and to think because he happens to be hispanic he gets a flat out racist left and right blow by Heinrich supporters. I'm Anglo, and I'm fair in my life and I certainly know Hector and New Mexicans don't deserve to be treated like this by Racist Heinrich supporters, all people deserve a chance, including Hector!

Posted by: Allen | Jul 3, 2011 4:42:50 PM

Huh? This is concerningly childlike when it is said Balderas has never been on a televised debate, big ego, etc so absurdly childlike obviously neither was Heinrich until voters gave him the chance from Council to CD1? I can't believe the stupidity some people write on here, hilarious & shocking! Some common sense is highly necessary for "Observer". Oh no but Heinrich must have had an extremely huge ego when he went from city council all the way to congressman right? See how ridiculous this is!!! I certainly hope that is not Heinrich himself writing this because we certainly don't want a schoolyard whiner like that as our Senator! Balderas keeps amazing me more and more on a daily basis, and I look forward to everything he has to say, smart guy very articulate and down to earth unlike the other snob who should have held onto his CD1 position instead of crying about it now!

Posted by: Jan | Jul 3, 2011 5:06:49 PM

Hector Balderas is NOT challenging one of New Mexico's best by any means, he's challenging a LIAR! I'm disappointed with all the lies Heinrich has fed us, economy, troops, and all the other flat out lies! I'm glad Heinrich gave up his CD1 and I hope he loses for Senate, because we need to get this Liar out! My son and my nephews are still in Afghanistan and my daughter is still unemployed, but the liar doesn't care at all, he only cares about himself! Talking about a big ego!

Posted by: I hate liars! | Jul 3, 2011 5:30:30 PM

^^^ Behave yourselves, people! One way or another it will all work out and we'll all have a Democratic nominee.

Posted by: Ejército Libertador del Sur | Jul 4, 2011 5:24:14 AM

OK, folks, it would be good if you'd tone it down a bit and talk about issues instead of trading insults about the candidates. Both Heinrich and Balderas are good and loyal Democrats and neither one is "the enemy." If we are to win the Senate seat, the supporters of whoever loses the primary will need to support the winner whole-heartedly. There are plenty of ways to discuss this race without getting nasty.

I also want readers to know that the comments attributed to Allen, Jan and I hate liars were all written by the same person, not 3 different people, according to IP info. If you're going to use such strong language, at least identify yourself honestly.

Posted by: barb | Jul 4, 2011 10:40:00 AM

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