Nevada’s top Democratic officeholders are trailing their Republican rivals in both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, according to a Suffolk University poll conducted for the Reno Gazette Journal.
The survey done April 2 to 6 of 500 likely midterm election voters by the respected Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, found both U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak might sink under the weight of rising gas prices and inflation.
Inflation was identified by respondents as by far the most important issue to them in 2022, followed by jobs and the state of the economy.
A bleak outlook on the Nevada economy is a chief cause of voter discontent. More than seven in 10 (72%) rated economic conditions in Nevada as fair or poor, while just 25% indicated they are excellent or good.
And by a two-to-one margin, 40% of midterm voters say their standard of living is worse than it was four years ago, while 20% indicated it better and 40% say it has stayed the same.
Only 35% of those polled approved of President Joe Biden’s job performance, while a whopping 59% disapprove. That’s six points under Biden’s already dismal nationwide approval rating.
Nearly half of voters (47%) want their vote this November to change the direction Biden is leading the country, while 27% say they want to support Biden’s direction.
Nevada’s voters are not apathetic heading into the midterm elections. Nearly eight in 10 voters say they are extremely or very interested in the U.S. Senate race.
In the Senate race, incumbent Cortez Masto lost in both of the survey’s head-to-head matchups against two Republicans vying for the seat, Sam Brown and Adam Laxalt.
Brown, a U.S. Army veteran and a Nevada newcomer, led Cortez Masto by less than 1 percent (40%-39%). Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general, was favored by a 3 percent margin (43-40).
In the governor’s race, first-term incumbent Sisolak is underwater against two of the five top GOP contenders for his job, and manages only a tie with a third opponent.
Sisolak trails North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee by 3 percent (40-37). A recent GOP convert, Lee is yet to exceed 15% polling support among GOP primary voters.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the longtime campaign finance and polling front-runner with Republican voters for governor, topped Sisolak in the poll by 2 percent (39-37).
Former U.S. Senator Dean Heller tied with Sisolak (39%-39%).
Survey respondents did chose Sisolak when presented with ex-professional boxer Joey Gilbert, a personal injury and criminal defense attorney, as the GOP candidate. Gilbert, considered a fringe choice in the Republican field, lost to Sisolak (39-35).
Sisolak also managed a 12-point win when matched against venture capitalist Guy Nohra, another outsider candidate for the nomination (41-29).
In all five ballot tests, Sisolak polled at or below 41%.
“Because they are established brands, when an incumbent polls under 50%, he or she is deemed vulnerable,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
“Moreover, when incumbents poll at or below 40% it is much worse, because it’s very difficult to convince undecideds to vote for you when they remain undecided despite telling us they are very interested in voting in this election,” he concluded.
Republicans look positioned for a potential “Red Wave” sweep in November – but not so fast.
The Nevada GOP has more than a decade’s long history of political extremism and ineptitude.
With 15 Republicans running for governor and eight for the U.S. Senate in the primary election, internecine GOP party brawls are certain to occur before the June 14 primary.
Republicans may yet snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by forming self-destructive “circular firing squads,” thereby squandering their huge political opportunity for November.
Email Jim Hartman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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