Reid Wilson at RCP points to polling for the New Mexico Senate race. According to this poll, which was done for the Udall campaign, in the (likely) event that Tom Udall wins their nomination, he would trounce either Heather Wilson or Steve Pearce (52-36 and 50-33 respectively). The “good news” for the Republicans is that there seems to be no difference in support for Wilson or Pearce against Udall–they pick up the regular minimum 33-36%, roughly the same percentage of New Mexicans registered as Republicans, but are not competitive with Udall. Marty Chavez becoming the Dem nominee is the Republicans’ best hope (polling shows him actually losing to Pearce, but with a hefty part of the vote undecided), and this isn’t likely to happen. The GOP needs a Chavez-Pearce match-up, which is the least likely outcome in the primaries. A Udall-Pearce competition would basically be over before it began. Perversely, the GOP needs a candidate who has Wilson’s moderate-to-liberal positions if they are running against Udall, but Wilson is personally disliked by so many New Mexicans (including me) that she is effectively no more competitive than Pearce.
Some actual good news for the Republicans: the Democratic primary is early next year to aid in Richardson’s futile quest for the vice presidency (he was so awful in last night’s debate that I felt embarrassed to be from the same state), so the Democratic Senate nominee will be known for months before the June 6 Republican primary. That will allow Pearce to reconsider his Senate run and go back to running for re-election, and this will let Wilson become the nominee. She can then go down in flames against Udall, while likely House nominee Darren White secures NM-01 for the Republicans. That is the most likely good outcome for the Republicans next year.
Udall will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee, and I would have thought that before seeing these striking poll numbers. Chavez’s failed gubernatorial bid was not so long ago that Democrats have forgotten it, and Udall has the connections with the DSCC and has better access to fundraising. Udall was always going to be the strongest candidate on the Democratic side if he chose to run. As representative of the Third District, he is naturally quite liberal, but he is also white, which does help him in Albuquerque and in the southeast, and he is Mormon, which makes him more competitive in the northwest around Farmington, which is a fairly heavily Mormon area. The NRSC may as well write this one off and focus on races that they can conceivably win.
Update: Earlier polling by American Research shows approximately the same advantage for Udall. This polling shows Udall’s impressive strength in pulling away a large number of Republicans from the other side: 19% of Republicans go for Udall, while only 10% of Democrats choose Wilson, and the numbers are the same vs. Pearce. Udall is winning these match-ups 55-38 and 54-37 respectively. Obviously, it’s early, yes, but these are huge deficits for Republicans to make up in a difficult year.