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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NM-01: Dem Internal Poll Shows Tie

Posted by DavidNYC

Not long ago, I talked a bit about my beefs with internal polls and why I don't like to report them. If I do write one up, it's usually because it's a House race poll. Why the special treatment? It's simply a question of scarcity: Independent House race polls are incredibly rare. I'd rather have some data - even if it needs a large dose of salt for consumption - than nothing at all. Needless to say, all the usual caveats about internal polls still apply.

All that said, there's yet another interesting internal poll today, though this one has (fortunately) been made public by the campaign which commissioned it. Democrat Patty Madrid, running against incumbent Rep. Heather Wilson in NM-01, put out some very appealing numbers (likely voters, no trendlines):

Madrid: 43
Wilson: 44
Undecided: 13
(MoE: ±4.9%)

The reason I find these numbers credible is because Madrid is an unusually - I would even say exceptionally - strong candidate. For those of you not familiar with her, she is New Mexico's Attorney General. It's very rare for people at the AG level to take on House races, let alone one with an incumbent. (Some people joke that "AG" stands for "Aspiring Governor.") Madrid deserves tremendous credit for instantly putting this seat in play.

Doubtless, she did some polling before she jumped in, and she must have liked what she saw. This latest survey only reinforces the top-tier nature of this race, as does the fact that George Bush is visiting Wilson soon. Undoubtedly, Bush will raise a ton of money for Wilson, but with his approval ratings in the dumpster, Madrid's campaign literature can benefit if any photographers capture a Henry Cuellar moment.

Since you were wondering, Kerry actually carried this district in 2004, 51-48, making it one of very few GOP-held blue CDs in the nation. Wilson also owes her Congressional career to the Green Party, which ran a candidate not once but twice in 1998 (special election and general election) who provided her with the winning margin both times. The Green got double digits in both cases, which gives you a sense of how left-leaning this district is, or at least, can be.

According to this listing (which I surely can't vouch for), the Greens aren't running anyone in NM-01 this year - yet. I just hope it stays that way. Madrid may be a strong candidate, but our quest to take back the House is already tough enough. We don't need any unnecessary difficulties.

Posted at 10:08 PM in 2006 Elections - House, New Mexico | Technorati

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This doesn't seem to good if it's a Dem. Internal poll it probibly leans toward Dems.

Posted by: D in FL. [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 11:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I suppose this is good news, but like D in FL, I was kind of hoping that Madrid's high name recognition would have provided her with a lead over Wilson, at least in an internal poll. Looks like we'll actually have to work for this one.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 11:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think it's very rare for polls to show big leads for challengers to incumbents. The only example I can think of so far this year is Casey v. Santorum (and that race is tightening up).

Posted by: DavidNYC [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2006 12:00 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

We'll have to wait and see how much money GW pumps in. Rove threatened any Congressman who didnt submit meekly on the NSA crimes, and Wilson just yesterday called for a house investigation into the matter.

Posted by: Mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2006 08:38 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Heather has always been a big draw for NRC moolah. I think most of them know the seat would probably swing if they didn't prop her up.

This is a big test for Rove. He flatly threatened to blacklist any R who bucked the White House on the NSA wiretaps issue. Heather bucked him, publicly, and in a position to actually do something about it. What's more, she needs White House support, and everyone knows it.

Either Rove will follow through on his threat and cut Heather loose (in which case she stands a really good shot at losing, especially if the rest of the RNC follows suit), or he'll show he has no teeth and will drop the threat (in which case he will be exposed as a lame duck bully, but Heather would keep the seat).

Frankly, I would rather enjoy either prospect. The latter would actually require Dems to point out that Karl Rove just had his huevos ranchero-ed--something I am not optimistic they will pick up on--but I'll take it anyway.

Wild possibility: has the filing period closed? Domenici might be looking for a way out, and there is no statewide D ready to run for his seat. Wouldn't it just be wacky if he retired and Heather ceded the 1st District to Madrid so she could take her place in the Senate?

Rove's threat could fall limply to the ground, because the Dems wouldn't be able to muster a candidate ready to challenge Heather for the Senate seat that quickly, and she wouldn't need that level of White House support.

Probably not likely, but when you think the other side is in a bind, it never hurts to think of the wildest way out of it....

Posted by: Jeremy [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 10, 2006 09:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Domenici is up in 2008, not 2006

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 10, 2006 12:52 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Wilson is a savvy campaigner and runs a very good constituent service component. It's hard to believe that there isn't a baby left in NM that she hasn't hugged or a veteran left that she hasn't fastened a pin on.

I received an automated call this week from Wilson offering help if I had any Medicare questions. Of course if she had worked harder for a better bill in Congress this week, we wouldn't have this Medicare mess. Clearly Wilson is ready for a vigorous fight.

Posted by: -suz [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 11:08 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Want to second what Suz said: Heather Wilson is really good at running for Congress (whatever else she may be good at.)

I worked in the district (on local races) in 2004 and watched her destroy a fairly strong, locally legitimate Democratic challenger in a debate. She is a smart tough fighter. Madrid is going to have to be very good to turn the slight partisan advantage her way.

Maybe, if Bill Richardson put real muscle behind Madrid, she might pull it out.

Posted by: janinsanfran [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 11, 2006 03:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment