Republican gubernatorial candidate Susana Martinez’s lead over Democrat Diane Denish has grown to 10 points, and Martinez has also reached the all-important 50 percent threshold, according to a new poll conducted for her campaign.
The poll, conducted Sept. 11-13, had Martinez leading 50 percent to 40 percent. The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The poll was conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. You can read the polling memo here.
The last publicly released poll of the race, conducted by Researching & Polling for the Albuquerque Journal, had Martinez leading by 6 points, 45 percent to 39 percent. Since then, Public Opinion Strategies’ Nicole McCleskey wrote in the memo on the new poll, her company has done two polls for Martinez.
The first, conducted Aug. 31 through Sept. 1, had Martinez leading by eight points – 50 percent to 42 percent. That poll surveyed 500 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.
Denish’s support is 2 percentage points lower in the new poll. And if “leaners” are included in the most recent survey, McCleskey wrote, Martinez’s lead increases to 11 points, 52 percent to 41 percent.
“In no public survey conducted since the June primary has Diane Denish been able to break 43% support,” McCleskey wrote. “Most recent data suggests that Denish is losing ground, as Martinez makes critical gains among key sub-groups including Independent women and Hispanic voters.”
It’s been clear for some time that Martinez is leading Denish, but as Election Day approaches and undecideds become decideds, the new poll may suggest that more of them are choosing Martinez than Denish.
Martinez has been leading since May
Martinez has led in every publicly released poll of the race since May. Just before the Journal poll was released, an August Rasmussen Reports poll had Martinez leading by 5 points, 48 percent to 43 percent. In June, a poll conducted by another GOP firm had Martinez leading by 1 percentage point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
Days after the June primary, a Rasmussen Reports poll had Martinez leading by 2 points, 44 percent to 42 percent. And just before the primary, a SurveyUSA poll of potential matchups between Denish and various GOP candidates had Martinez leading Denish by 6 points.
When the SurveyUSA poll was released, the Denish campaign dismissed it and said things would change.
“Susana Martinez has been airing TV ads for weeks, so we take this with a grain of salt,” Denish’s campaign said at the time. “When New Mexicans hear from both candidates, the choice will be clear. Diane Denish will be a different kind of governor – someone who stands up for regular families, while Susana Martinez is a failed prosecutor best-known for plea-bargaining drunk drivers and cutting deals with violent felons.”
This article’s headline has been updated to reflect that the new poll is an internal one.