Heller poll shows big lead over Ensign

WASHINGTON -- A poll that Rep. Dean Heller released Tuesday shows him with a double-digit lead among Republican voters if he challenges Sen. John Ensign in the party's Senate primary next year.

Heller holds a 53-38 advantage in the survey, which was taken Jan. 18-20.

The congressman "stands in a very strong position with Republican voters throughout the state," said Dave Sackett, a pollster at The Tarrance Group.

"I am taking a serious look at the race for U.S. Senate," Heller, 50, said in a statement.

Ensign spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper said the incumbent recognizes he will be in a tough race. The 52-year-old is seeking to rescue a political career damaged by his July 2009 acknowledgement of an extramarital affair .