Politics & Policy

New Poll Shows Both Reids Gaining

A poll conducted this week for the Retail Association of Nevada (RAN) by reputable national Public Opinion Strategies pollster Glen Bolger has Harry Reid up 45-40 over Sharron Angle, with 7 percent choosing “None of the above.”

In the governor’s race, Sandoval holds a narrower lead over Rory Reid than any previous poll has shown, 45-39 percent, with 9 percent choosing “None of the above” and 4 percent undecided. The Rory Reid campaign was quickly out with a press release saying the 6-point spread shows they are making major progress. It also observes, amusingly, that Sharron Angle was down to Sue Lowden by roughly the same margin in the Nevada GOP primary for Senate.

If Harry Reid is really up just outside the 4.5 percent margin of error and Rory is down by just six, the question must be asked:

Could The Tale of Two Reids end in victory for both in November? Many political analysts have said a Reid dynasty–father as five-term senior senator, son as chief state executive–was unimaginable and undoable. Voters might punch the button for one Reid, but not for two. This survey shows a Reid sweep is at least possible. 

The sample consisted of 42 percent Democrats, 37 percent Republicans and 18 percent nonpartisans which almost exactly reflects the state’s voter registration rolls–but it probably does not represent how voters will turn out on Election Day, where the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats may give the GOP a big edge. However, the Nevada Democratic Party built a formidable get-out-the-vote operation in 2008, is well-funded, and is working hard again this year. We won’t know which party won the turnout war until the autopsy reports.

According to the survey, 76 percent of Nevadans say the state is headed down the wrong track, which is roughly 10 points more pessimistic than national polls on the same question. According to Mary Lau, president of RAN, the number “reflects the brutal toll that the economy continues to take on Nevadans.”

Those who believe jobs and the economy should be state government’s number one priority has increased by 21 percent since May 2009, rising from 31 percent to 52 percent today.

“This is the third time we have asked many of the questions on this poll,” said Public Opinion Strategies principal researcher Glen Bolger in a RAN press release. “In this way, we can not only take a snapshot of current conditions, but we can also identify trends by comparing results from earlier polls.”

The toll taken on Nevadans by the economy is illustrated by a question that has appeared on all three polls:

“Many people in Nevada have lost their jobs, lost their homes, or been forced to take pay cuts during this economic downturn. Have you or someone you know suffered from one of these?” 

The May 2009 poll showed that 79 percent of Nevadans answered that they or someone they knew had suffered one of these losses; today, that number has reached 92 percent.

Nevada’s tax structure and various proposals for modifying that structure drew mixed responses. By a narrow 49–44 margin, voters oppose broadening the tax base to include services while lowering the overall sales tax rate.  Most Nevadans (61 percent) believe the current tax system generally works well and state government should make only minor changes to the system, while 31 percent believe significant tax changes are needed. Half oppose establishing a corporate income tax, while 42 percent are in favor.

Nevadans are also wary of increased taxes and government spreading and most (70 percent) think there is still a lot of waste, fraud and abuse in the state budget. Sixty-one percent believe increasing taxes and fees on businesses will result in additional job losses.

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