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Heather Wilson has large lead in New Mexico Senate primary

Former Rep. Heather Wilson holds a commanding early lead in the Republican Senate primary, according to a Republican pollster. The poll shows that Wilson has the highest name recognition and is seen positively by a large majority of likely GOP primary voters.

The Magellan Strategies poll finds that Wilson would have support of 59 percent of voters in a three-way race that includes Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and businessman Greg Sowards.

Sanchez would receive 17 percent of the vote and Sowards 2 percent, according to the poll. Another 11 percent said they would vote for another candidate, while 11 percent remain undecided.

Wilson has a name recognition of 99 percent of primary voters with 84 percent having a favorable opinion of her, including 55 percent who have a very favorable opinion of her.

Sanchez has name recognition of 88 percent with 58 percent having a favorable opinion and just 13 percent have an unfavorable opinion. This leaves 17 percent who do not know Sanchez well enough to form an opinion of him.

Sowards falls well behind both, with a full 41 percent of Republican primary voters responding that they have not heard of him.

The poll includes Sanchez but does not include Rep. Steve Pearce. Neither have announced that they are running for Senate, but have been considering a run at the open seat.

Columnist Bill English, who has announced he will run for Senate, was not included in the poll.

The poll also finds “sky high” Republican approval ratings for Gov. Susana Martinez. The poll finds that 93 percent of Republican voters have a favorable opinion of her and 75 percent have a very favorable opinion of her.

Wilson served as the head of Martinez’s transition team.

While Sanchez is the lieutenant governor under Martinez, the position is not chosen by the candidate and instead is the result of a party primary.

Magellan Strategies conducted polling for Doug Turner’s gubernatorial campaign in New Mexico during the Republican primary in 2010. The firm conducted this poll with its own resources and says it “does not have a business relationship with any candidate or group interested in the 2012 New Mexico US Senate Republican Primary.”

The poll of 801 Republican primary voters was conducted from April 26 to April 27 and has a +/- 3.46 percent margin of error. The full polling memo is available here.

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