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Biden, Trump in a dead heat in Nevada, poll reveals

Updated April 30, 2024 - 6:09 pm

New polling finds President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are in a statistical dead heat in Nevada six months before the November election.

The Emerson College Polling/The Hill swing state poll published Tuesday shows 45 percent of the 1,000 Nevadans surveyed support Trump and 44 percent support Biden with 11 percent unsure, all within a 3 percent margin of error.

“The state of the presidential election in swing states has remained relatively consistent since Emerson and The Hill started tracking them last November,” said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, in the survey publication.

A previous New York Times and Siena poll from November pinned Trump at 52 percent and Biden at 41 percent with a margin of error of 4.4 percent in Nevada. Other polls show the two are neck-and-neck, although Trump is still up an average of 4.9 percentage points, according to Five Thirty Eight.

It’s not a surprise that with six months to go to the election, polls show Trump and Biden are in a statistical dead heat with fewer unsure voters as they begin to solidify their opinions, according to David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University, who co-authored the book “Presidential Swing States.”

Nevada is among the six battleground states that will determine the presidential election, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Schultz said. The poll published Tuesday found Biden trailing Trump in those states, and also in North Carolina, which is also considered a swing state. The surveys of the other states also show Trump and Biden close, with the differences in the margin of error. North Carolina saw the biggest gap, with Trump receiving 47 percent and Biden receiving 42 percent.

Nevada’s nonpartisans

The recent Emerson College poll also reveals the large role Nevada’s nonpartisan voting bloc could play in the election. Nevada’s independent voters — who outnumber registered Democrats and Republicans in part due to the automatic voter registration system through the DMV — favor Trump more than Biden at 43 percent to 37 percent.

Independent voters made up the majority of those surveyed in Nevada at 38.7 percent. Democrats made up 32.2 percent, and Republicans made up 29.1 percent, according to the poll, which was conducted through cell phones via MMS-to-web and landlines via Interactive Voice Response.

When third-party candidates like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are on the ballot, support is pulled away from Biden more than Trump, the Emerson College poll found. Kennedy’s campaign announced it gathered enough signatures to appear on Nevada’s ballot, however a law requiring him to list his vice presidential pick on the petition could limit his ability to be on the ballot.

On the issues

On important issues facing Nevada, the economy was the most popular answer among those polled, followed by housing affordability, immigration, education, health care, threats to democracy, crime and abortion access.

The polling also asked about the criminal trial in New York in which Trump is accused of falsifying business records to disguise a hush-money payment. In Nevada, 51 percent of respondents said the trial is appropriate to hold Trump accountable, 40 percent said the trial is a witch hunt, and 9 percent were unsure.

If Trump is found guilty in the New York trial, 35 percent of Nevada respondents said it would have no impact on their likelihood of supporting him for president, while 33 percent said they would be less likely to support him and 32 percent said they would be more likely to support him.

Senate race

While the presidential race is in a statistical dead heat, the same cannot be said for Nevada’s Senate race. The Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey asked Nevadans about its Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen faces a tough re-election battle.

In a hypothetical matchup between Rosen and Republican Sam Brown, who is the presumed front-runner among a crowded Republican primary field, Rosen leads 45 percent to Brown’s 37 percent, with 18 percent undecided. If Rosen is matched up against Dr. Jeff Gunter, the former ambassador to Iceland under the Trump administration, that gap is even larger with Rosen leading 47 percent to 33 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

Lombardo approval

The poll also took a snapshot of how Nevadans feel about the job Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo is doing. The poll found he has a 40 percent approval rating, with 31 percent disapproving and 30 percent neutral on the job Lombardo is doing as governor.

The latest rating contrasts with an April 2024 poll from Morning Consult that puts his approval rating at 56 percent. Another Morning Consult survey from July 2023 found Lombardo to be the 20th most popular governor with an approval rating of 57 percent.

Out of the other six governors who were surveyed about, Lombardo had the highest neutral rating, which could indicate people don’t know much about him.

Nevadans also gave a low approval rating to Biden at 38.1 percent, and a high disapproval rating at 51.8 percent.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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