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No House Advantage For Democratic Incumbents In Nevada
The Nevada Independent /OH Predictive Insights released a new poll of likely voters poll Sunday that showed Democratic incumbents Gov. Steve Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto trailing their godawful Republican opponents. Polls for these critical races have been all over the place (as you can see below), but these aren't the numbers you want to see five weeks before the midterms.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo leads Sisolak by three points, and voters in Clark County are evenly split 44 percent among the two candidates. That's a disaster. President Joe Biden carried Clark County with 53.7 percent of the vote to Donald Trump's 44.3. Hillary Clinton beat Trump 52.4 to 41.7 percent. In 2012, Barack Obama crushed Mitt Romney 56 to 41 percent. And Sisolak himself boasted similar numbers in 2018. This is a significant collapse in a Democratic stronghold. If a Democrat doesn't win Washoe and Clark counties (and decisively), it's game over.
Only five percent of voters in the governor's race are undecided, but late-breaking voters rarely swing toward the incumbent. Sisolak has underwater approval ratings with just 43 percent of voters viewing him favorably and 55 percent (that's more) viewing him unfavorably. Lombardo isn't Mr. Popularity, either. He has just 45 percent approval, but his unfavorable rating is just 48 percent. Unfortunately, when voters overwhelmingly dislike the incumbent, they usually replace them.
Donald Trump has endorsed Lombardo, which sadly isn't disqualifying these days. During Sunday's debate, both Lombardo and Sisolak tried to distance themselves from their party's 2020 presidential nominee. However, Biden is actually president and Trump is a coup-plotting insurrectionist under investigation for possible espionage.
Lombardo was asked if he considered Trump a "great president" and he said he "wouldn't use that adjective." This is admittedly a brilliant response. Which adjective would he use? The sheriff went in the "barely legally competent" direction.
“I wouldn’t say great. I think he was a sound president. I think he had policies that he brought forward that were beneficial to the country and supported the country and moved the country forward versus backwards,” he said during the debate hosted by The Nevada Independent. By contrast, Lombardo said, the country is “going backwards” under Biden, citing inflation.
Biden's unfavorables are higher in Nevada — a staggering 57 percent — than the rest of the country, where it's roughly 52 percent. It's understandable that Sisolak would want to stand on his own, but it's obviously not working. He's either tied or outright losing in recent polls.
The Democratic Senate majority likely depends on Cortez Masto holding her seat. Big Lie promoter Adam Laxalt is absolutely crushing her in rural Nevada 56 percent to 27 percent. Cortez Masto narrowly lost Washoe County in 2016 to Republican Joe Heck, but she won Clark County 51 to 40 percent. Now, she's holding just a single digit lead over Laxalt in Clark County, 45 to 44 percent. Democrats have a clear registration advantage over Republicans in the county, 35 to 25 percent. These latest poll numbers suggest that the Democratic candidates are cratering among independent/non-partisan voters. Clark County is also 33 percent Hispanic, and Biden has struggled with this demo, particularly in Nevada.
Melissa Morales, president of Somos PAC, describes a "nightmare scenario" for Democrats where Nevada's Hispanic voters simply stay home.
“It’s what’s keeping me up at night,” said Melissa Morales, president of Somos PAC, which has spent millions of dollars on ads in English and Spanish for Cortez Masto. “What I’m looking at is: Do Latinos actually turn out to vote this year? If we see high turnout, we win in Nevada.”
But major Latino groups, as well as the Culinary Workers Union, point to overall dissatisfaction among Hispanic Nevadans with the economy and their post-pandemic employment. This could result in an across-the-ballot rout with dreadful ramifications: Republicans are also leading in the lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state races. Election denier Jim Marchant winning secretary of state is obviously bad news for 2024. Even if Biden manages to improve his numbers in the state, it might not matter.
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