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« GOPers Head To ANWR | Blog Home Page | Dems Make Major Buy »

Heinrich Leads Own Poll

There are few candidates Republicans are more excited about than Bernallilo County Sheriff Darren White, a strong campaigner with an impressive fundraising streak so far and a moderate record that could be the party's only hope of keeping an increasingly Democratic-leaning Albuquerque-based district. But a new poll, conducted for White's opponent, shows White isn't in the clear just yet.

The survey, taken 6/29-7/2 for Albuquerque city councilmember Martin Heinrich by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, polled 518 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. Heinrich and White, who won their respective primaries early last month, were tested.

General Election Matchup
Heinrich............47
White................44

The First District, held by Rep. Heather Wilson who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate this year, voted for both Al Gore and John Kerry by narrow margins. The only reason Wilson kept the seat, many believe, is thanks to her determined skill as a campaigner. White, who was elected by a wide margin in the district's Democratic base of Bernallilo County, has the same reputation.

Still, Heinrich is no slouch in either the fundraising or the campaigning department. And Democrats, with the opportunity to pick up a Senate seat and an outside shot at a more Republican district in the southern part of the state, will likely invest significant resources in the state.

Both White and Heinrich will likely benefit from their top-of-the-ticket counterparts. In an interview with Politics Nation in April, White voiced enthusiasm for running alongside John McCain, a Westerner who represents a different type of Republican. And Heinrich will see an added Democratic turnout, especially among Hispanic voters, amongst whom Barack Obama is polling far ahead of McCain.In a district that is 43% Hispanic, that's a big boost for the Democrat.

For more on New Mexico's First District, check out our rundown of the race after visiting both Heinrich and White in April. Given the swing nature of the seat and the implications it has in terms of Republicans holding on to the Mountain West and among Hispanic voters, the Heinrich-White battle may be one of the most exciting, and telling, we'll see all year.