New Mexico: Martin Heinrich's Lead Expands in Internal Poll

Rep. Martin Heinrich is running for Senate in New Mexico this fall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

New Mexico Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) led by more than 7 points in an internal poll released today by his campaign for the state's open Senate seat.

In the poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, Heinrich led former Rep. Heather Wilson (R), 51 percent to 44 percent. The poll of 700 likely voters was taken Aug. 14-19. It had a 4-point margin of error.

It is the latest in a string of polls this month to indicate separation between the two candidates, who have been running close since emerging from their respective primaries on June 5. A poll conducted for a coalition of environmental groups by Democratic firm FM3 found Heinrich ahead by 9 points.

Heinrich's standing is enhanced by his support among Hispanics, who make up a larger percentage of the population in New Mexico than in any other state and accounted for 41 percent of the state's 2008 electorate. In this poll, Heinrich led among Hispanics, 64 percent to 31 percent. Wilson will likely need closer to 40 percent to win, a mark she was able to reach in her past few House races.

Heinrich and Wilson are competing for the seat of retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D).