The races for president and U.S. Senate control “may well come down to the state of Nevada,” a place where voters are as restive and angry as the rest of the country.
So says national Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who recently completed a poll for the UNLV Boyd School of Law that shows the presidential and U.S. Senate contests here are very close. Hart surveyed 700 registered voters for six days through Sunday (margin of error is 3.8 percent).
He found Hillary Clinton with a 3 point edge (44-41) over Donald Trump and Joe Heck with a 1 point lead (47-46) over Catherine Cortez Masto. (The survey has 18 percent Hispanic voters, which would match the 2012 result.)
In his release on the poll, Hart found five highlights:
Behind these overall numbers, five highlights emerge from this survey.
The voters are unhappy with their choice for president. By more than a 2 to 1 margin, voters feel their choice of candidates for president is not so good or terrible vs. excellent or very good.
Less than a majority has a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that either of these candidates could handle the job of president---just 36% of Nevadans feel Trump could handle the job and 47% of voters feel that way about Clinton.
There is a high level of loyalty to their presidential choice-- 85% of Clinton voters are definitely voting for her and 84% of Trump voters feel equally committed.
The major reservations voters have about Donald Trump relate to his temperament and likeability---a majority give him low marks on each of these attributes. For Hillary Clinton, the concern is honesty, with a majority giving her negative marks on that quality.
In the contest to replace Harry Reid, the results are a near dead heat, with each candidate holding onto their party bases—Heck 47% and Cortez Masto 46%.
The survey found Clinton (46-52) and Trump (42-54) with more than half of voters having an unfavorable impression. All of those negative ads also have taken a toll in the Senate race as Cortez Masto (43-43) and Heck (47-43) have high negatives.
Gov. Brian Sandoval (67-22) remains the most popular Nevada elected official but President Obama (53-46) could help Clinton here.