Heck hanging onto lead, Trump falling behind in new GOP poll

Rep. Joe Heck is still slightly ahead of Catherine Cortez Masto in the U.S. Senate race but Hillary Clinton is now significantly in front of Donald Trump in Nevada, according to a new GOP poll.

Heck is ahead 47-44 while Hillary Clinton leads 45-39. The survey, taken by the well-respected Public Opinion Strategies for the Senate Leadership Fund this week, is of 600 registered voters and has a 4 percent margin of error. (It has 21 percent Hispanic respondents.)

The poll was taken after Cortez Masto released a survey showing her ahead by 3 points, and found that Heck’s un-endorsement of Trump has not hurt him as much as her survey indicated it has. The Democratic poll showed 34 percent of Republicans less likely to support Heck while this survey indicated only 14 percent are.

This clearly is designed to reassure skittish Republicans. And its release, considering the bad numbers for Trump, shows just how pronounced the last-month divide will be.


Here’s the poll memo:





Public Opinion Strategies conducted a statewide surveys of 600 registered voters in Nevada. The survey was conducted October 11‐12, 2016 and has a margin of error of +4.0%. Fifty‐five percent (55%) of interviews were conducted with landline respondents and 45% of interviews were conducted with cell phone respondents. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. 

Key Findings 

  1. Joe Heck leads Catherine Cortez Masto by three points on the Senate ballot, while Donald Trump is trailing in the Presidential race.
    In the race to replace Harry Reid, Heck has a three point advantage over Cortez Masto (47% Heck/44% Cortez Masto). Five percent (5%) of voters are undecided), 2% say they will skip the Senate ballot and another 2% will choose the none of the above option.
    At 47% of the vote, Joe Heck is running eight points ahead of Donald Trump, who receives 39% of the vote on the three‐way ballot (39% Trump/45% Clinton/10% Johnson.).
  2. There is no evidence that Heck announcing he could no longer support Trump is hurting him with Trump’s voters.
    Just days after announcing that he could no longer support Trump for President, Heck is winning 89% of Trump voters. In comparison, Cortez Masto is winning 84% of Clinton voters.
    Heck is also winning 91% of base Republicans, 90% of very conservative voters, and 88% of voters with a favorable opinion of Trump.


NV Key Findings Memo Page two of two 

  1. Even when voters are specifically told that Heck announced he could no longer support Donald Trump for President, the vast majority say it makes no difference to their vote.
    Respondents were asked the following question:
    As you may know, Joe Heck recently announced that he could no longer support Donald Trump for President. Does this make you more likely or less likely to vote for Joe Heck, or does it make no difference to your vote?
    Fourteen percent (14%) of voters said this information made them more likely to vote for Joe Heck, 14% said it make them less likely to vote for Joe Heck, and 69% said it made no difference to their vote.
  2. Harry Reid’s full throated support for Cortez Masto is more of a hindrance than a help to her campaign.
    The former Senate Majority Leader has not been shy about his strong support for Cortez Masto, but given that his image with Nevada voters is 38% favorable/50% unfavorable, the Democratic challenger would likely prefer that Reid keeps a low profile in the final weeks of the campaign. Nevada voters are tired of the Harry Reid show.

The Bottom Line 

Joe Heck is running a good campaign, and as a result he has the advantage over Catherine Cortez Masto heading into the final weeks of the race. 

There is no sign in this data that Heck’s decision to withdraw his support from Trump is having an adverse effect on his campaign. Instead, this decision likely further reinforces that Heck will be an independent voice for Nevada in Washington. 


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