Friday, May 16, 2008

Pearce Up By 3 In SurveyUSA Poll; Udall Strong, Plus: Dunn On The Attack On TV, And: Wondering About Wiviott On Your NM Web Leader 

There's still hope for Heather Wilson, but Steve Pearce is in the lead in the first media poll to hit the streets in the fight for the GOP US Senate nomination. It's Pearce 49% and Wilson 46% in the SurveyUSA poll conducted for KOB-TV Monday through Wednesday of this week among 439 registered NM R's. Back in January, a NM Republican Party poll also had the rivals separated by three points (38%-35%), with Pearce again on top. The margin of error in this poll is 4.8%.

Insiders have been saying they believe Pearce has the edge in this race, positioned as he is as the most conservative candidate. Also, turnout could favor the southern NM congressman. That would put Pearce ahead a couple of more points in the polling. Last Friday Senator Pete Domenici refused to make an endorsement in the contest, a major boost for Pearce as Wilson is a longtime Domenici favorite.

SurveyUSA makes this point about their poll: "Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released six months ago, Pearce is up 12 points. Wilson is down 10 points."

Pearce leads by 22% when you combine the north and the south--58% to 36%. Wilson takes Bernalillo County by 25 points--61% to 36%.

The key for a Wilson comeback is big Bernalillo County. "SurveyUSA estimates that 40% of Republican voters will come from Bernalillo County. The larger the turnout from that county, the better Wilson does."

The poll will be greeted with open arms by NM Dems. It shows their soon-to-be Senate nominee, Tom Udall, trouncing Pearce in a hypothetical match-up 60% to 36%. He beats Wilson 61% to 35%. Wilson has been arguing in campaign media that she is the stronger choice for the Republicans, but this poll gives her no help at all on that score.

The complete poll is here.


Aubrey Dunn has come gunning for Ed Tinsley and Monty Newman. He hit with negative ABQ TV Thursday night as the battle for the GOP Southern congressional nomination escalated. Dunn attacked Tinsley for having a soft stance on illegal immigration and attacked Newman for being a tax raiser while Mayor of Hobbs. No word on the size of the TV buy, but Alligators checking in here said Dunn's move feels like the right one at the right time.

Alligators and insiders following the action report they see Tinsley and Dunn fighting for the lead with former Mayor Newman breaking into third place with that big TV buy from the National Association of Realtors. Tinsley is now nuking Newman in the mail as he did last week to Dunn. But Dunn's TV attack raises the stakes. Will Tinsley turn the cheek or strike back?

Leaving the aggressive Dunn to his own devices seems dangerous.

McCamley & Teague
Media sources say southern NM Dem congressional hopeful Bill McCamley has bought $16,000 in TV time for a four day run starting today for his first ad on ABQ TV. You can see it here. Hobbs oil man Harry Teague has been up for several weeks with what looks like about $100,000 per week. Polling shows Teague has established himself as the clear frontrunner, but undecideds remain high. We checked and it appears there will be no TV debates in this contest.

McCamley is limited in what he can put on the air. His cash on hand at the end of April was in the $200k area. Teague is independently wealthy and has put nearly $700,000 of his money into the race. His campaign says if he thinks it necessary the candidate will come with more in the final weeks.

The campaign of Dem congressional hopeful Martin Heinrich says his initial TV buy is for $50,000 over four days, not the seven days we initially blogged. They say his TV for the rest of the campaign will "be sizable."

The campaign of Michelle Lujan Grisham said Friday night her first TV spot will air this weekend. Our media mavens previously reported she had bought time for the final week of the campaign. No word on the size of the buy, but Grisham had less than $100,000 in the bank at the end of March.

He has the money, but does he have the time? Northern Dem congressional candidate Don Wiviott has come with yet more personal money. The fresh $100,000 the Santa Fe developer has put up this week means he has loaned himself $1,090,000. Still, few voters are aware of any major differences between him and Dem frontrunner Ben Ray Lujan and the clock is now Wiviott's enemy. With that kind of money, why didn't he come with much heavier name ID TV in April, and start establishing negative points on Lujan when early voted started May 6? He may now come with an all out nuclear attack, but has he established the credentials to launch such an offensive without suffering a backlash? Wiviott could forego a negative finish and position himself for a future race. If he goes negative and fails, it will be his first and very likely last bite out of New Mexico's political apple. But what if it works? That's why politics is an art not a science, isn't it?

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