CARSON CITY -- Former state Sen. Mark Amodei has a 13 percentage point lead over state Treasurer Kate Marshall in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat, according to a new poll.
Republican Amodei had 48 percent support, compared with 35 percent for Democrat Marshall, according to the poll commissioned by the conservative advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity. Independent American Tim Fasano received 4 percent and independent Helmuth Lehmann, 2 percent. Eleven percent of the 650 of those polled were undecided.
The candidates are running in a special Sept. 13 election to fill the seat U.S. Rep. Dean Heller vacated in May when the Republican was appointed to the U.S. Senate. The district covers all of the state except for the heavily populated central areas of Clark County. Early voting starts Aug. 27.
The poll results are in line with the partisan makeup of the district, where there are 30,000 more Republicans than Democrats. A Democrat never has won the seat since the district was created in 1982.
But the seat is being closely eyed by both national parties. Former President Bill Clinton made a pitch this week for voters to contribute to Marshall's campaign, and the Nevada Republican Congressional Committee bought at least $350,000 in TV ads for Amodei. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made a private appearance Friday in Reno to raise funds for Amodei.
"This poll confirms Mark Amodei's message is resonating with the voters," said Peter DeMarco, Amodei's spokesman. "Clearly they want someone who will stand up to the Obama/Reid policies of higher taxes and spending which have been so disastrous for our economy," he added, referring to President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev. "Nevadans don't want another Harry Reid clone in Washington."
Marshall spokesman James Hallinan questioned the integrity of the poll.
"It's no surprise that a highly conservative group like Americans For Prosperity would produce polling with favorable numbers for the conservative candidate," Hallinan said in a statement. "However, the poll confirms the same thing that the NRCC knows full well given they have spent half a million dollars in this race and just this week doubled down on their TV buy -- that the race is still very much in play."
The survey also found that 88 percent of those polled said they were extremely likely to vote in the Sept. 13 election. That is surprising because there are few political signs for either candidate, and aides to the candidates have talked about a 20 percent to 35 percent turnout.
"Nevadans are struggling and sick of politics as usual," said Adam Stryker, state director of Americans for Prosperity. "The high percentage of voters planning to vote in this special election demonstrates that Nevadans are not only concerned about the future of Nevada, and our great country, but are also active and engaged in this special election."
Magellan Data and Mapping conducted the poll for Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington, Va.
A Magellan spokeswoman said it was an unbiased survey in which the number of Democrats, Republicans and other parties matched the current registration percentages for the districts.
A total of 650 respondents participated in the automated telephone survey taken Monday and Tuesday. The results have a plus or minus 4 percentage point margin of error.
Contact Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775 687-3900.