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Nevada Poll: Likely voters still overwhelmingly favor energy competition question

A strong majority of likely Nevada voters continue to support a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot that would amend the state constitution to open up the electric energy market to competition, according to a poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A total of 61 percent of voters queried in the poll favor Question 3, while 22 percent are opposed and 17 percent either don’t know or did not respond. The poll, conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Support for Question 3, placed on the ballot by a group called of Nevadans for Affordable Clean Energy Choices, has dropped 7 percentage points from a prior Review-Journal poll of 800 likely voters between Sept. 27 and Sept. 29. Opposition has increased 8 points from 14 percent.

Question 3, which would have to pass this year and again in 2018 before consumers could shop for their electricity providers, has stronger support among Democrats, at 65 percent, than Republicans, at 54 percent. Clark County voters also support the measure by a higher percentage, 63 percent, to the rest of the state at 57 percent.

The polling firm interviewed 800 likely voters from Oct. 20 to Oct. 23 in both English and Spanish.

Supporters of the measure, including the Las Vegas Sands, the primary financial backer of the initiative petition, Tesla, Switch and others, say competition will save consumers money and grow Nevada’s clean energy economy.

“We are pleased to see that the majority of Nevadans support Question 3, which economists say will result in nearly 40 thousand new clean energy jobs, more than 10 thousand construction phase jobs, lower energy costs for Nevada families and businesses, and spur clean energy innovation,” said Karen Griffin, spokeswoman for the Yes on Question 3 campaign.

“It is exciting to see that Nevadans understand that the best way to increase clean energy and lower electricity costs is by eliminating NV Energy’s monopoly and creating a well-regulated, competitive electricity market.”

Question 3 is opposed by the Nevada State AFL-CIO and Culinary Local 226. The groups argue residential customers will not benefit from the proposal to let them choose their electric service providers by no later than 2023.

Danny Thompson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Nevada State AFL-CIO, said the 15-point swing in the poll in favor of opponents is significant.

“This is a result of Nevada voters finally focusing on the ramifications of this giveaway to big business,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue. The momentum is on our side.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

2016 Nevada Poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Question 3 by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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