Newt Gingrich is up big in New Mexico, leading the way there with 39% to 14% for Mitt Romney, 11% for Gary Johnson, 8% for Ron Paul and Rick Perry, 6% for Michele Bachmann, 3% for Rick Santorum, and 2% for Jon Huntsman.
Gingrich also had a huge lead on our Virginia poll this week and on ones we did in North Carolina and Colorado last week. I have no doubt that he continues to hold a substantial lead nationally. But the one place where things aren't going so well for Gingrich is Iowa, where our numbers yesterday showed his favorability spread declining 19 points in a week. Iowa's the one place where opponents are actively attacking Gingrich and the fact that his numbers have started to crumble so quickly there makes you wonder if the same thing is going to happen nationally once the campaign starts coming to other states. He may be flying high but it doesn't bode well for him that the one place where there's really a lot of action right now is seeing his numbers go in the wrong direction.
Whether they're sustainable or not Gingrich's numbers in New Mexico are impressive. He has a 65/25 favorability rating and his support is up more than six fold from when we polled the state in late June and found him at just 6%. He is particularly dominant with the Tea Party vote, getting 55% with that group while no one else is even in double digits. But he's doing very well with non-Tea Party Republicans as well, holding a 30-19 advantage over Romney with that group.
New Mexico provides yet another example of Romney's fading popularity over the course of the last six months. In June he was at 18% in New Mexico and had a +19 favorability rating (50/31). Now he's down to 14% in the horse race and his net fav has dropped 13 points to only +6 at 47/41. This is the trend we are seeing for Romney in most states.
And yet this poll provides hope for Romney should Gingrich eventually- some might argue inevitably- collapse. He's the second choice of 23% of Gingrich voters compared to 16% for Perry and 11% for Bachmann with no one else in double digits. This is what we're finding on poll after poll- Romney is in a clear second place and he's also the second choice of Gingrich voters, so should Newt fall apart, Mitt goes back to being the front runner- and at the one time where it really matters.
Heather Wilson remains the overwhelming favorite for the GOP Senate nomination. Her 68/17 favorability rating makes her more popular with Republican primary voters than any of the Presidential candidates. She leads John Sanchez 55-20 with Greg Sowards at 6% and Bill English at 3%. The thought has been that Wilson could struggle with Tea Party voters, but she leads Sanchez 50-22 even with them.
The one person who could give Wilson a stronger challenge is Gary Johnson, who gets only 11% support for President in his home state but could make a Senate primary relatively competitive. If he switched races he'd be at 31% in the primary, behind Wilson's 42% but ahead of Sanchez's 15%, Sowards' 3%, and English's 1% standing. If he stays in the Presidential race Wilson looks like a pretty overwhelming favorite to be the GOP nominee.
Full results here