Gibbons’ approval rating rises, poll shows

RENO — A poll shows Gov. Jim Gibbons’ approval rating among likely voters has improved, but those who hold an unfavorable view of him still outnumber those who approve of his job performance.

In a survey of 600 probable voters conducted for the Reno Gazette-Journal, 40 percent said they approve of Gibbons’ job performance. That’s a 7 percentage point increase since August. But 45 percent said they disapprove of the job he’s doing.

Among Republicans, Gibbons’ approval rating jumped to 63 percent from 51 percent in August, a sign that his voting base is starting to return to the fold.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 16 to 19 by Maryland-based Research 2000. The margin of error is 4 percent.

The same poll indicates U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s approval rating also is suffering under his partisan role as Senate majority leader and the public’s overall dissatisfaction with Congress, political observers said.

And more voters approve of U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., than disapprove, but more than a third don’t know him well enough to form an opinion. Heller is halfway through his first term.

Gibbons’ improvement comes as he struggles with a potential $285 million revenue shortfall. Gibbons has asked his Cabinet members to identify ways to cut their budgets by 8 percent and has rejected the few suggestions for new taxes.

"The issues that he ran on, fiscal discipline, are on the forefront of a lot of people’s minds right now," said Robert Uithoven, a Republican strategist who ran Gibbons’ campaign last year.

"Obviously, he still has a lot of room for improvement, but the trend is positive," Uithoven said.

Reid, a Democrat, has been suffering from declining approval numbers since becoming Senate majority leader.

Of 600 probable voters surveyed, 39 percent said they approved of Reid’s job performance and 49 percent said they did not. Further, his support among Democratic, nonpartisan, female and Clark County voters has dropped substantially since a May 2006 poll.

In a separate survey within the 2nd Congressional District, 37 percent of 400 likely voters approved of Heller’s job performance and 29 percent did not. The margin of error for that sample is 5 percent.

But 34 percent said they did not know the Republican freshman well enough to have an opinion.

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