New Mexico: Heather Wilson Up Big in Senate Primary Poll

Posted February 27, 2012 at 2:33pm

Former New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson is the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican Senate nomination, according to an internal poll released today.

Public Opinion Strategies partner Glen Bolger conducted the poll less than a week after Lt. Gov. John Sanchez’s Feb. 9 announcement that he was dropping out of the race. His decision left conservative businessman Greg Sowards as Wilson’s only GOP challenger.

In the poll, Wilson led Sowards 81 percent to 10 percent. She had similarly wide leads among the 46 percent of primary voters who self-identified as both “strong Republicans” and “very conservative,” and she led 76 percent to 11 percent among tea party supporters. Wilson had a 98 percent name identification to just 30 percent for Sowards.

“Heather Wilson has a strong, united base backing her candidacy to become the Republican nominee for Senate,” Bolger wrote in a memo.

The poll was taken Feb. 13-15 of 500 likely Republican primary voters and had a 4.4-point margin of error.

Wilson raised $375,000 last quarter and had more than $1 million in the bank at the end of 2011. Sowards, a businessman running to Wilson’s right, has loaned his campaign more than $1 million and had $636,000 in cash on hand.

The winner of the June 5 primary will take on Rep. Martin Heinrich or state Auditor Hector Balderas. Heinrich had almost $1.4 million in cash on hand at the end of 2011, more than three times as much as Balderas. They’re hoping to keep the seat of retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman in Democratic hands.

Roll Call rates the general election race a Tossup.