SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Chavez Trails

Our Draft Tom Udall for New Mexico Senate effort was unfortunately futile, today brought news that another Democrat was joining Don Wiviott in the race for the Democratic Senate nomination in the state, Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez. Chavez, however, isn't necessarily the strongest candidate in the world despite his higher name recognition, as evidenced by the poor showing of the city council candidates he backed in last week's elections and his somewhat underwhelming numbers in the latest polling (available from SurveyUSA via Joe Monahan).

The first public polling since the political earthquake set off by the retirement announcement of NM GOP US Senator Pete Domenici shows that GOP southern NM Congressman Steve Pearce and Democratic Governor Bill Richardson would be the strongest US Senate candidates for their respective parties. On the other hand, the SurveyUSA poll conducted over the weekend using automatic phone calls to New Mexico households, shows GOP ABQ Congresswoman Heather Wilson defeating Chavez, but losing by a landslide if Big Bill were the Dem nominee.

In a mock match-up, ABQ Mayor Chavez, who will enter the Dem Senate race tomorrow, is defeated by Rep. Wilson 48% to 44%. Wilson, the polls says, would lose the Senate seat 62% to 35% if Big Bill were her Dem opponent. Steve Pearce beats Chavez 56% to 35%, outperforming fellow Republican Wilson. Richardson beats Pearce 60% to 36% in the poll.

Rep. Tom Udall who is not seeking the Domenici senate seat would defeat Wilson 56% to 38%, according to the poll of 514 registered voters.

Former Attorney General Patricia Madrid would run in a near tie with Wilson, said the survey, with Wilson getting 46% and Madrid 45%.

I'm with Markos on this one: It would be nice to see Udall -- or possibly even Governor Bill Richardson -- reconsider his decision not to run. Interestingly, at least as far as MSNBC's First Read is concerned, Richardson issued "a non-denial denial" about running for Senate, which is possible given that, as Jennifer Duffy notes for The Cook Political Report (sub. req.), "The filing deadline is February 12, which would allow Richardson to play through the early presidential primaries and caucuses." What's more, Duffy writes that "it wouldn't be hard for him to pivot to the Senate race and become an instant frontrunner for the nomination and the general election." Anyway, we'll post more on this poll when it goes online.

Update [2007-10-8 21:27:36 by Jonathan Singer]: Let me be clear that I don't think Richardson should drop out of the presidential race now. If he is able to get the nomination, great. But if he isn't picking up delegates by the end of January, I hope he at least thinks about running for Senate as an alternative. That is, of course, unless Udall changes his mind and decides to run (Sherrod Brown reconsidered his decision to run for Senate last cycle and Ohioans didn't seem to mind much).

Update [2007-10-8 23:25:41 by Jonathan Singer]: The full numbers look like this (below the fold):

Pearce 37
Udall 55

Pearce 36
Richardson 60

Pearce 56
Chavez 35

Pearce 54
Madrid 38

Pearce 58
Wiviott 23

Wilson 38
Udall 56

Wilson 35
Richardson 62

Wilson 48
Chavez 44

Wilson 45
Madrid 45

Wilson 51
Wiviott 38

Tags: Martin Chavez, New Mexico, NM-Sen, Senate 2008 (all tags)



Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

New Mexican campaign finance rules?  Could Richardson slide a couple million over from his federal committee?

That would really take a lot of air out of Wilson's bubble coming out of the gate.  

by Patton 2007-10-08 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

Federal campaign finance rules.  And yes.

by lorax 2007-10-08 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

Sorry, I wasn't clear in my question.  I was wondering if New Mexico campaign finance laws precluded a huge transfer from a federal committee.  I am pretty sure that FEC rules allow the transfer in this direction.

by Patton 2007-10-08 07:18PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

His point was that NM campaign finance laws don't have any baring on a federal race - President and Senate both being federal races governed by federal law.

by Quinton 2007-10-08 08:03PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

Goodness.  My mind is entirely mush.

by Patton 2007-10-09 05:20AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

A Senate campaign committee is still a federal committee, just as Udall could use his funds from his federal House campaign for a Senate race and Hillary can use her funds from her Senate race to run for president.  It's all transferable.  New Mexico campaign finance laws would only apply if he were running for state office.

by lorax 2007-10-08 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

Yeah, yeah, I'm not making any sense.  Sorry.

by Patton 2007-10-09 05:20AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

But Chavez got a promise from Richardson that he will not run if he loses the nomination, which is a good bet; therefore, Chavez is all we have right now.

I am surprised to see that Udall chose not to run.

by American1989 2007-10-08 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

True Big Bill would be a better candidate but that's not to be -

While I'm not a fan of Chavez he can raise money quickly, KNOWS how to run a campaign, and likes to win. The poll is nonsense - let Marty Chavez get into full campaign mode and you will see Heather Wilson's numbers drop like a rock.

by mwfolsom 2007-10-08 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha
So frustrating! Reports today suggested that Richardson had called Chavez to tell him to run adn that he wasn't running, which would suggest Richardson is committed to not running even if he fails in January/February!
At least Udall should run!!!
by LeftistAddiction 2007-10-08 06:54PM | 0 recs
Full Polls Available at SurveyUSA

You can see the entire poll here.  Or (gratuitous self-promotion) at New Mexico FBIHOP.

by fbihop 2007-10-08 07:18PM | 0 recs

Wiviott trails by worse.  Of the four politically empowered candidates, we have the one who starts out polling the worst, and one not on the list of the four.

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-10-08 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: blah

I don't think Wiviott's polling means anything. He lacks name ID, as he's a first time candidate and against Pearce he loses Dems 42%-32%. Realistically, he'd win that demographic by twenty points even if he lost the election by twenty points.

by Englishlefty 2007-10-09 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

I wonder if Richardson would reneg if it's clear he would get nothing from anybody for his trouble in the Presidential. Neither VP nor Cabinet is guaranteed, and I suspect that rather than go empty handed, Richardson might run afterall instead of looking at 2 years and out.

by NewDeal 2007-10-09 01:20AM | 0 recs
NM-Sen, But Cha

Remember Ohio last year?  Brown said he wasn't running, DSCC lined up behind Hackett, Brown changed his mind, DSCC switched to Brown, Hackett got pissed, Brown won.

Udall, Richardson, anyone could change their mind.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-09 03:47AM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen, But Cha

Yep, Chuck should work on Udall and not take no for an answer.

by conspiracy 2007-10-09 05:59AM | 0 recs
NM-Sen, But Chavez Trails

I'm interested that Patricia Madrid is tied with Wilson.  I think that would be a close race, and Madrid is not as conservative as Chavez.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-09 03:48AM | 0 recs
Re: NM-Sen, But Chavez Trails

Indeed. This will be tight whoever Dems nominate outside of Richardson and Udall. It probably most closely resembles Missouri from last year - neck and neck down to the finish line.

by conspiracy 2007-10-09 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

I've heard rumblings that Steve Pearce is testing the waters, doing primary polling against Heather Wilson. I really don't understand why he does better than Wilson, since he's farther to the right, and he doesn't have any statewide exposure (granted, considering Wilson's involvement in the NM attorney firing, that may be a good thing).

by johnny longtorso 2007-10-09 06:50AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

Pearce does well statewide because he is a well respected benefactor of the New Mexico State University (and branches).  It's main campus, Las Cruces, is in his district and his commmitment to education and high-tech influences quite a few swing votes in Albequerque and Los Alamos.  Wilson (who represents those swing voters is not terribly liked, even by those voters, exposes a fissure between the more socially conservative southeast New Mexico (Little Texas) and the Republican-leaning, highly educated wealthy whites in places like northeast Albequerque.  

Martin Chavez will be a better candidate than most think because he is already quite adept at peeling off those high-income moderate Republicans.  Nor is Chavez as conservative as many think, Democrats coming up through the New Mexico machine often speak with conservative rhethorical devices (unfortunately) but govern/vote just like they represented Rhode Island.

That being said, Udall would clearly be a better candidate.  He has an established record as a progressive, easily passes the bar-fight primary, and could coast to victory state-wide because he would most likely pull 90/10 margins out of places like Taos and Santa Fe.

by jefedelosjefes64105 2007-10-09 07:20AM | 0 recs
No so suprising, really.

Pearce would start out the race with a strong base of support from his safe Republican district.  Heather Wilson represents a swing district, so she doesn't have as pure a base of support.  Pearce hasn't faced a tough competitor in a while.  Wilson has never had an "easy" race, and years worth of negative advertising can affect a candidate's image.

The advantage to Wilson is that she's more battle-tested and has experience eeking out tough wins.  Pearce might be lazy on the stump.  Chavez would be a fighter because of personal ambition.  Patricia Madrid would be OK but her debate gaffe may have killed her future, especially in a rematch against Wilson.

by Vox Populi 2007-10-09 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: SUSA Poll: Dems Have Chance in NM-Sen, But Cha

What's significant here is primarily Wilson's weakness. If this poll is representative then she may not be all she's cracked up to be.

I think the Wiviott crosstabs show there's significant room for his numbers to go up. That said, the polling isn't a good start on his quest to prove he's a viable candidate and to win the nomination.

Chavez needs to build support. The popular perception of Madrid is that she's weak, as the clip of her in the debate will be played again and again. If Chavez can't poll better than her then this race will be no better than second-tier.

Overall though, this is very definitely an indication that Udall should give it a couple of weeks then announce he's changed his mind. If Schumer could get him a promise of a seat on appropriations when it opens up (to make up for the one he'd be abandoning in the House) that might encourage him.

by Englishlefty 2007-10-09 09:45AM | 0 recs


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