Poll: Democratic incumbents in Nevada running behind GOP challengers, Biden at 35%

(AP Photo/The Las Vegas Sun, Leila Navidi,File)

Last week Ruy Teixeira warned that Democrats were facing a problem in Nevada where Catherine Cortez Masto needs to hold on to her seat if Dems are to have any chance of holding the Senate. In particular, polling suggested Democrats were losing ground with an important part of their coalition: Hispanic voters.

A new poll by Suffolk University/USA Today found that both Cortez Masto and Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak are in trouble. Both are running behind Republican challengers in head to head matchups thanks to inflation and Joe Biden’s rock bottom approval rating in the state.

The early April survey of 500 likely midterm election voters counts among the first to show how far U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Gov. Steve Sisolak might sink under the weight of rising gas prices and inflation.

The latter issue, respondents said, was by far the most important on their minds, followed by jobs and the state of the economy. Only 35% of those polled approved of President Joe Biden’s job performance — 6 percentage points below the first-term Democrat’s already dismal nationwide approval rating…

Masto lost both of the survey’s head-to-head challenges against Republican favorites Adam Laxalt and Sam Brown, despite heavily outspending them on the campaign trail…

Pollsters painted a similar picture in Sisolak’s race, where the first-term Democrat is underwater against three of five top GOP contenders for his job.

There’s more bad news in the poll for Democrats. About 50% of respondents said the state was headed in the wrong direction which is obviously bad news for incumbents. Here are the head to head match-ups for Masto:


David Paleologos, the director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, told the Gazette Journal, “when incumbents poll at or below 40% it is much worse, because it is very difficult to convince undecideds to vote for you when they remain undecided despite telling us that they are very interested in voting in this election.” Looking at polling nationally, you’d have to think a lot of those undecided voters are going to break for the GOP eventually.

The match-ups for Gov. Sisolak aren’t much better. He’s also at or below 40% in of these.

And here’s the list of top issues according to respondents. The White House probably needs to have a good cry over this one because inflation is far and away the leading issue.

There are still some optimists out there who believe inflation could be back under control by next year but I don’t think there’s anyone who believes it will be under control by November. That leaves Democrats without a lot of good options except to keep repeating “Putin price hike” and hope it sticks. I guess the good news for Democrats is that schools/education, another losing issue for them, is in 5th place at 9%. Not listed here at all is the issue of immigration. That could certainly change this summer once Title 42 ends.

But as bad as things look at the moment, Cortez Masto isn’t done yet. She raised a record $4.4 million in the first quarter and has committed to spending $10 million on TV ads starting in September. The GOP is going to have to fight the ad war in the state because Democrats know they can’t afford to lose this seat.