Markos has released the results of polling out of the New Mexico Senate race he commissioned from non-partisan pollster Research 2000. Lo and behold, Tom Udall, who has been subject to a robust draft effort, is by far the strongest Democrat looking at this open seat race.
The poll was in the field Monday through Wednesday, with 600 likely voters interviewed for a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Among those polled, Udall's favorability spread of 51 percent positive and 28 percent negative was the best, and Udall's strong favorable rating of 15 percent was also higher than that of any of the other four New Mexico politicians polled.
SurveyUSA just released a slew of polls of competitive Senate races around the country (all of which are currently held by the Republicans) commissioned by Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, and by and large the numbers are encouraging for the Democrats.
Virginia (Open Seat)
New Mexico (Open Seat)
Colorado (Open Seat)
CAPS indicates incumbent * indicates not likely to run
As you can see from these numbers, the Democrats already hold leads in races for at least four seats currently held by the Republicans, including one race in which an incumbent (Sununu) is running. Democrats have two other incumbents under 50 percent, as well, with one (Coleman) unable to hold a lead wider than the margin of error and the other (Smith) unable to receive a majority of the vote even against two candidates whose name recognition is still quite low. Even the one race where the Republican candidate is above 50 percent (Collins) shows some signs of hope, as other Democratic challengers in the past have overcome even greater margins in the past.
Click through the link to SurveyUSA above to get access to favorable numbers for the candidates, Bush approval in all of the states and other useful numbers, which I'll try to make a useful compendium of at some point if I get a chance.
Update - 1:56am by Adam: I just found this great video of Udall at this weekend's State Central Committee meeting saying he's thinking about running from the indispensable NM blogger barbwire at Democracy for New Mexico. She writes: "Udall entered the hall to a standing ovation, loud chants of "Run, Tom, Run" and a multitude of waving signs urging the same."Draft Udall!
The Draft Tom Udall for US Senate movement unveiled its newly redesigned website (http://draftudall.com). The Draft Udall site relaunch caps a week of significant momentum to encourage Congressman Udall to run for New Mexico's open Senate seat which included numerous reports that Udall was reconsidering his decision to run for the US Senate due in no small part to the Draft Udall movement.
"Our target has always been to get our message out to one person, my Congressman and the next Senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall," said New Mexican and Draft Udall founder Alex Flores. "Draft Udall has given a voice to countless New Mexicans and other Americans who want to see a true progressive fighting alongside Senator Bingaman in the United States Senate."
Since its launch one month ago on October 3rd, the Draft Udall movement has gained support from across New Mexico and the country, gathering over 500 petition signatures and more than 100 donations with more pledged if Udall declares for the Senate. The site also includes roundups of coverage that the Draft Udall movement has received on the internet and from mainstream media (http://draftudall.com/?page_id=3).
The new Draft Udall site allows for donations to be made to Tom Udall's federal campaign account via the online fundraising clearinghouse ActBlue, to sign a petition supporting Tom Udall to run for US Senate, and to send a message of encouragement to Rep. Udall.
Flores is right: New Mexicans do want a real fighting progressive working beside Jeff Bingaman in the United States Senate, and Tom Udall is just that man. So head over to DraftUdall.com today and get involved.
September was an awful month for the GOP: John Warner and Hagel retired, Shaheen and Mark Warner jumped in for Democrats... October started much the same way, as New Mexico's Pete Domenici announced he would not run for re-election, opening up yet another very vulnerable seat. But Democrats then ran into a bad patch of their own that culminated in the disastrous news that Bob Kerrey would not run in Nebraska. That by itself made a race that was leaning towards Democrats become a likely hold for Republicans. Meanwhile, the shuffle in New Mexico has still not been resolved, with Democrats scrambling to find a strong candidate.
That Nebraska and New Mexico have dominated Senate news in the past month is obvious in these new rankings: New Mexico rose from the 11th to 4th, while Nebraska collapsed from 4th to 13th (Reminder: Races are organized in order of vulnerability, so that the first ranked race is the most likely to turn-over). But there was some other movement: The departure of Tom Davis from the Virginia Senate race solidified the contest's number one ranking, while Democrats are significantly more upbeat this month about their chances in Kentucky and even in North Carolina. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) should be worried at the Democratic determination to avenge Tom Dashle's 2004 loss and target him for defeat.
The Senate situation is still very fluid with more retirement and recruitment rumors floating around, so that a lot of things could still change in the coming months. But an increasing number of races are settling down, so that we are starting to get a clearer idea of which states are likely to be hotly contested.
Outlook: Democratic pick-up 4-7 Senate seats.
Prediction: Democrats pick-up a net 5 seats, for a 56-41 majority.
Earlier today, Jonathan reported that the Draft Udall movement was getting closer to success with the news that Congressman Tom Udall was "reconsidering" his decision not to run for Pete Domenici's senate seat. Now, New Mexico blogger Heath Haussamen is reporting that Udall is actually doing more than just thinking about running...
A number of sources are confirming that U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., has moved beyond simply reconsidering whether he should run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici. He's now trying to put the pieces in place for a Senate run. [...]
With so many Democrats in New Mexico and Washington unsatisfied with the Democrats currently running for Senate, Udall will have no difficulty assembling the team and raising the money he needs for a run. That, coupled with his attempt to put a campaign together, means a Udall Senate run is likely.
Jonathan announced the Draft Udall effort here on October 3 and along with Alex Flores's DraftUdall.com, we've been trying to put the pressure on the congressman and it seems to be working. This is a good time to help Rep. Udall over the finish line by getting us over 100 donors at our Draft Udall Act Blue page -- we have just a few more donors to go.
Here's some more excellent local analysis from Haussamen about what a Udall run would mean:
If Udall entered the race, Lt. Gov. Diane Denish wouldn't likely run for Senate. She has said all along that she wants to live in New Mexico and be governor, but she was considering the race in part out of a sense of duty. Many who were pushing her to run are the same people who have pushed Udall, so the pressure will be off of Denish if Udall runs. In addition, in a Senate primary Denish and Udall would split the votes of the progressive Democrats who are so unhappy with the only big-name Democrat who has entered the Senate race thus far, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez. It seems unlikely that either wants to split that vote and hand their party's nomination to the mayor.
Udall would enter the Senate race as its frontrunner from either party. A recent SurveyUSA poll had him 18 points ahead of both Wilson and Pearce in potential general-election match-ups, while Chávez was behind Pearce by 21 points and Wilson by 4 points. But I would expect Chávez to close the gap significantly during a primary and Wilson or Pearce, if Udall got past the primary, to close the gap significantly during a general election.
Remarkably, a Udall run would also mean that all 3 of New Mexico's congressional seats would be open.
So far, we've raised $1,218 from 96 contributors on our Draft Udall Act Blue Page. I'd really like to see that break the 100 donor mark before I go to bed tonight. Who's going to push us over the edge?
Update [2007-11-2 3:35:10 by Todd Beeton]:Heath Haussamen is now reporting that Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who was considering entering the race when it had appeared that Udall wouldn't, has now announced she plans to run for governor in 2010 as originally planned.
Looks like yet another sign that Udall is in.
Stay tuned for updates as we learn more...
Update [2007-11-2 9:38:30 by Todd Beeton]: Almost as good, we reached 100 donors by the time I woke up. Nice work. Also, note: edited title and Denish update slightly.