A poll by Research & Polling, Inc. for the Albuquerque Journal showed that U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich leads former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson 48 percent to 39 percent in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman.
The poll shows a relatively high nine percent of undecided voters; early voting has already began and the name recognition of the two candidates has to be well over 90 percent by now. The poll also shows that American Independent Party candidate Jon Barrie gets the support of four percent of those polled.
The poll shows both candidates down slightly from an early September poll which had Heinrich leading Wilson 49 percent to 42 percent. Barrie was not included in the previous Albuquerque Journal poll.
Every single public poll has shown that Heinrich leads Wilson; in recent weeks polls have shown Heinrich’s lead ranging between seven percent and the low-single digits. The notable exceptions are two internal Wilson campaign polls that put the race at a five percent and one percent lead for Heinrich.
The Journal says that the slight expansion of his lead comes from independent voters — and at the expense of Wilson.
Contributing to Heinrich’s advantage in the new poll was increased support from self-identified independent voters. In the latest Journal Poll, Heinrich drew support from 49 percent of independent voters.
Much of Heinrich’s gain among independents apparently eroded away from Wilson. Independents in September broke for Wilson 53 percent to 37 percent. In the new Journal Poll, Wilson dropped to 36 percent support among independents.
Heinrich also has a very large advantage among Hispanic voters; the poll finds that Heinrich leads among Hispanics 62 percent to 22 percent and Barrie takes four percent. New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanic residents of any state in the country.
Wilson does have an edge among Anglo voters, 50 percent to 38 percent. But it isn’t enough to make up for the massive deficit among Hispanics.
In the Albuquerque metro area, where Heinrich currently represents the 1st Congressional District and Wilson preceded him, Heirnich leads 52 percent to 37 percent.
The poll of 658 likely voters was conducted from October 9 to October 11 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.