Meanwhile, Denish, a former small business owner who opposes same-sex marriage and favors rescinding drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, has pushed a populist message with an emphasis on education and expanding college scholarship opportunities.
"If Denish can keep her high level support with Democrats, turn them out, and win over undecided voters, it's difficult to see a clear path to victory for Martinez given the way registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in New Mexico," said Democratic pollster Stephen Clermont in a memo to the Denish campaign.
"Martinez came in with a line that is almost always powerful after eight years of any administration: 'I represent change,'" wrote nonpartisan New Mexico political blogger Joe Monahan on his blog. "Denish has to do more -- much more -- to make New Mexicans feel that change is a threat -- not a relief. She has a month to do it."