Jim Hartman: Homestretch: Lombardo, Laxalt with slim polling leads

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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With Early Voting beginning Saturday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the Republican nominee for governor, has opened a slim polling lead over Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls.

The RCP polling average has Lombardo leading Sisolak by 1.8% (46-44.2%).

Similarly, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, has a 1.7% lead over Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (46.2-44.5%) in the RCP polling average.

The results in all polls were within the margin of error.

Sisolak and Cortez Masto are in precarious positions for incumbents – polling under 50% and trailing their GOP challengers.

After Democrats’ surge in political momentum over the summer, signs indicate the midterm environment is tilting back in the GOP’s direction.

President Joe Biden has pitiful approval numbers among Nevada voters (41% approve vs. 57% disapprove) with the economy their top issue (44%). And, inflation is their greatest concern.

Bad inflation news was announced Oct. 13. The consumer price index rose 0.4% in September, and the 12-month price rise stayed at a very high 8.2%.

Workers are now paying the price for inflation as a Labor Department report shows real wages have declined in nine of the last 12 months.

Gas prices in Nevada are 35% higher than one year ago ($5.27/gal). The Energy Information Administration says the price of gasoline has risen 26 cents nationally in the past four weeks and will likely go higher.

Inflation is untamed at a 40-year high, energy prices are up, our southern border out-of-control, violent crime surging and the federal debt just reached a historic $31 trillion. The economy is in recession, or tilting into recession.

That’s why only 27% of voters think America is going in the right direction, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. An overwhelming 68% indicate we’re on the wrong track.

Abortion won’t save Democrats. Not when Gallup finds only 4% of Americans believe it’s the most important issue.

A measure of Biden’s political toxicity in Nevada – his three state campaign swing out West in October included stops in California, Colorado and Oregon. Nevada was avoided as “fly over country.” Democrats, including Sisolak and Cortez Masto, wanted no part in public events associated with the broadly unpopular president.

On Oct. 7 news that a Guatemalan national, in the U.S. illegally with a criminal record in California, stabbed eight people, killing two, at noon on the Las Vegas Strip, reignited concerns over violent crime in Nevada.

Six days later, a 23-year veteran Las Vegas police officer, Truong Thai, was gunned down in the line of duty.

Crime and support for police are issues where Lombardo has an advantage.

Meanwhile, Sisolak was embarrassed in the wake of a prison escape by a convicted bombmaker that went unnoticed for four days in September. The escapee was serving a life sentence for a 2007 murder in an explosion outside a Las Vegas Strip resort.

Sisolak demanded and received the resignation of the Nevada Department of Corrections head. The escape put a spotlight on chronic staffing shortages at prisons throughout Nevada.

Sisolak also received a political blow when the 18,000-member Clark County Education Association refused to endorse his re-election. The CCEA is the largest teachers union in Nevada and they were instrumental in both Sisolak’s primary and general wins in 2018.

While recent events and momentum are working for Republicans, Nevada Democrats have important advantages.

Democrats have a 50,000-voter registration edge on Nevada Republicans and a proven, far superior Get- Out-the-Vote organization (“The Reid Machine”).

Sisolak and Cortez Masto have raised much more money than their Republican opponents and have the powers of incumbency.

We should anticipate both the Lombardo-Sisolak and Laxalt-Cortez Masto races will be very “closely run things” on Nov. 8.

E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@ aol.com.


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