Poll: Among Dems, Heinrich the early favorite for Senate


U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich

But nearly a quarter are undecided in poll that surveyed a small sample and has a high margin of error

A new poll finds that U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich enjoys an early lead in a potential Democratic Senate primary against others who are considering running, but the race remains wide open.

In a hypothetical four-way matchup, Heinrich led with 32 percent of the vote to former Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s 25 percent, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s 15 percent and State Auditor Hector Balderas’ 5 percent.

But 24 of those surveyed remain undecided. In addition, poll surveyed a relatively small sample and has a high margin of error. And the election is more than 14 months away.

Still, considering that Denish was the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor last year and has more statewide name recognition than the other candidates, her standing below Heinrich in the poll is significant, according to the poll memo.


“Heinrich’s 7-point lead over Denish, which is outside of the survey’s margin of error, is impressive considering that Denish previously held statewide office and was the Democratic nominee for Governor in 2010,” the memo states. “Additionally, the poll finds that Heinrich’s support is both broad and deep as he leads with both younger and older Democratic voters as well as with both men and women.”

The poll was conducted by the firm Tulchin Research for Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund – a group that has supported Heinrich in past elections. The survey of 213 likely Democratic voters was conducted between March 8 and 10 and has a margin of error of 6.71 percentage points.

All four Democrats are considering entering the race to replace Democrat Jeff Bingaman in the Senate. No Democrats have formally entered the race.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson has entered the race, as have two less-known candidates: Greg Sowards and William S. English. Others are considering running.

17 thoughts on “Poll: Among Dems, Heinrich the early favorite for Senate

  1. GFA:

    You do have to wonder sometimes if staffers are even paying attention when they send out responses; I had one with Congresswoman Wilson’s office once thanking me for my support on a particular issue after I had sent a letter vehemently opposing it.

  2. I think I changed my mind about Heinrich. I wrote an email to him regarding a specific issue on the federal budget and he sent me a form letter response on something totally different. I should know better – these egotists don’t ready our letters; it’s just a waste of time.

  3. I consider both men friends, and I have to agree with Sensor’s assessment, for a wide variety of reasons.

  4. wedum59:

    But Heinrich does have the “Bingaman look.”

    I know Jeff Bingaman. Jeff Bingaman is a friend of mine. Martin Heinrich is NO Jeff Bingaman!

  5. This poll is curious; small sample size, high margin of error and ambiguous selection parameters (“young and old” “men and women”). Regardless, my hope is that during the primary, democrats can generate a unified voice while having a healthy debate around which individual is the best candidate for the general.

    In my opinion, the “best” candidate is one who will represent New Mexicans from across the political spectrum (progressive, moderate and those that lean right), while also inspiring democrats to be excited and eager to vote. This will in turn help ensure a win for dems in 2012.

    The individuals mentioned in this poll each have unique strengths. However, I believe the best candidate is Balderas. Not only is Balderas a man of integrity, determination and intellect, he is also a proven champion of the people – all people. His character transcends race, financial position, and political ideology.

    Balderas fights to protect public dollars, ensure government accountability and promote truth in politics and policy on a daily basis. Regardless of political party, many agree – this is the type of person we need in D.C. This broader appeal is one of the numerous reasons I believe he can win in 2012. And, the characteristics that create this broader appeal are a few of the many reasons I believe he would be the best person for the job in general.

  6. gm:

    First of all, which of your fellow New Mexicans are you deriding as “wacko city”? Second, those northern counties are fairly small in population, and are offset by an approximately equal number of southern counties voting Republican (plus San Juan and Los Alamos). The ballgame is Albuquerque, but it would be a hard sell for Congressman Luján, and against Heather Wilson, the same is true for Congressman Heinrich.

  7. I don’t really care, as TT does, about let’s get our republican to beat your democrat.. I think that’s a pretty shallow way of thinking.

    I want to get behind someone that cares about people and has new ideas and solutions about the mountains of problems we are dealing with.

    As of now, I just cannot see myself supporting any of the candidates mentioned in this article. It’s the same old story and most of these people have been involved in politics long enough to fix the problems we have now, but to date have failed.

  8. I think the Dems would be wise to nominate BRL…..He’d take wacko city and the northern automatic counties by huge margins to offset losses down south. Dems will take or lose ABQ by small margins.

  9. I agree that this poll is a weak indicator with so few sampled and the relative large margin of error. As an independent, I do like Heinrich, but I think it is way too early to tell what Dems are thinking.

  10. This poll can not be taken seriously because of its small sample size and margin of error. However, I wonder what President Obama and Governor Martinez thought of polls taken 14 days before their primaries.
    We should all remember that except for a few in Republican circles no one knew Governor Martinez 14 months from the primary. In the Presidential race democrats had crowned Secretary of State Hilary Clinton as the nominee. Democrats need to select a nominee that will appeal across the board and that person is Auditor Hector Balderas. Let’s be realistic and elect the best person to defeat the Republican candidate.

  11. Republicans need to get this seat back in the Senate and the CD1 seat as well. Heinrich needs to go. He will say whatever it takes to win, even if its not true.

  12. Go for it Dems! Heinrich would be a dream candidate for Republicans. Agree with stever…not as good as Ben Ray.

    On the Republican side though, Sanchez would be a nightmare.

  13. Agreed That one. Not only that, his district is just as likely to swing to the right on the seat he holds now. It is better for the Democrats that he hold position.

  14. Go Marty Go! This would make Republicans as happy as Democrats were when Pearce got the GOP nomination in 2008. Not as good as Ben Ray though.

  15. When it comes to politics it’s more about candidate appearance and Madison Avenue spin than substance. Not unlike the Miss America pageant, it’s too often about which candidate looks good in a swimsuit than what churns between the ears. Besides that, with New Mexico being a minority majority State and not having had a “minority” in the U.S. Senate for almost 40 years, isn’t it about time? Or is it only the Republicans that have figured that one out; case in point the first female, and Hispanic to boot as governor. And now John Sanchez a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. But no …once again the Dems are getting set to shoot themselves in the foot.

  16. I’d say this poll indicates the need for a more extensive poll. The margin of error is almost as high as Heinrich’s lead.

    But Heinrich does have the “Bingaman look.”