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New Mexico: Senate Race Tightens, But Udall Still Up By 10

Republican Steve Pearce has cut his opponent’s lead by more than half, but Democrat Tom Udall still leads 51% to 41% in the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state.

With “leaners” factored in, Udall’s lead drops to 52% to 44%, the first time in five months of polling that the gap has been out of double digits.

Last month , Udall had a 59% to 34% lead over Pearce.

Udall and Pearce are seeking to replace retiring Senator Pete Domenici, a Republican who has been in the Senate since 1973. Both candidates chose to leave the U.S. House of Representatives to compete for the open seat.

Pearce appears to have gained ground most among members of his own party and unaffiliated voters. He now has the support of 84% of Republicans while Udall is backed by 83% of Democrats.

The Democrat still leads by nine points -- 48% to 39% -- among unaffiliateds, but in July he had a 32-point lead among these voters.The candidates are now even among men. Udall still maintains a commanding 54% to 35% lead among women voters, but this is only half the margin he had in July.

Just this week the two candidates agreed to four debates -- three during the final two weeks of the campaign and one on NBC’s 'Meet the Press' some time in October.

Like Democrats nationwide, Udall has felt voter pressure in recent weeks to allow the resumption of offshore oil drilling. Pearce has been pushing for an end to the ban on offshore drilling, a position favored by a sizable majority of U.S. voters as one way to fight rising gas prices. As a House member in 2006, Udall voted to continue the ban on offshore drilling but now says Congress should consider such drilling on a case-by-case basis.

Nationally, 61% of voters say Congress should return to Washington right away and vote on offshore oil drilling. John McCain began to gain ground on Barack Obama shortly after he called for ending the longtime ban on offshore drilling.

Rasmussen Markets data currently gives Udall a % chance of winning the New Mexico Senate race. Numbers in this paragraph are from a prediction market, not a poll. We invite you to participate in the Rasmussen Markets. It costs nothing to join and add your voice to the collective wisdom of the market.

Udall is now viewed favorably by 59% of New Mexico voters, down from 66% in July. Fifty-three percent (53%) regard Pearce favorably, an increase of seven percentage points from last month.

New Mexico is one of several states where Democrats hope to pick up Senate seats in 2008. Other GOP Senate seats in play this year include Oregon, New Hampshire, Colorado, Mississippi, Alaska, Minnesota and Virginia.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat who has been mentioned as a possible running mate for Barack Obama, is given good or excellent marks for his job performance by 49% of voters in the state. Twenty-four percent (24%) say he is doing a poor job. These numbers have been relatively stable for the past two months.

Obama is modestly ahead of his Republican opponent John McCain in New Mexico’s presidential race.

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New Mexico Safe Democratic

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2002 Results

Pearce (R)

41%

40%

65%

Udall (D)

56%

56%

35%

This telephone survey of 700 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports August 20, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology


New Mexico Trends: Udall vs. Pearce

Date

Udall

Pearce

10/28/2008

56%

41%

10/13/2008

57%

37%

10/01/2008

55%

41%

09/08/2008

51%

44%

08/20/2008

51%

41%

07/24/2008

59%

34%

06/18/2008

58%

30%

05/14/2008

53%

37%

04/08/2008

54%

40%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in New Mexico

 

Pearce

Udall

Very Favorable

27%

38%

Somewhat Favorable

22%

20%

Somewhat Unfavorable

20%

16%

Very Unfavorable

27%

24%

Not Sure

4%

3%


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.