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Heller, Tarkanian on opposite ends of polls in Nevada Senate race

Who’s leading who in Nevada’s Republican Senate primary fight?

It depends on the poll.

A pair of polls released just days apart paint wildly different pictures for how the GOP primary race is shaping up between incumbent Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and challenger Danny Tarkanian.

One released over the weekend shows Tarkanian leading Heller among likely GOP voters by a 39-31 percent margin.

The other poll has Heller leading his challenger 55-33 percent, a whopping 22-point margin.

Both campaigns latched onto the polls as a sign of positive momentum for their respective campaigns.

“We appreciate the warm welcome that Nevadans have given us since we announced our campaign to hold Dean Heller accountable for turning his back on Nevadans,” Tarkanian said in a press release.

Heller’s camp on Monday questioned the accuracy of the poll that favors Tarkanian.

Heller’s campaign spokesman Tommy Ferraro said that poll had been “manufactured specifically to promote (Tarkanian’s) candidacy.”

It remains to be seen what the polls portend for an election that is nine months away.

The polls

JMC Analytics, a Lousiana-based polling firm, conducted the poll showing Tarkanian up. It was done via an automated phone calls from Aug. 24-25 and received 700 completed responses. JMC said the poll’s margin of error is 3.7 percent.

JMC President John Couvillon said no one paid for the poll, and that he did it out of “pure curiosity.”

The poll that showed Heller leading by 22-points was conducted by The Tarrance Group, a national Republican polling group, and was conducted by telephone interviews with 300 likely GOP primary voters. Heller’s campaign paid for the poll, and the polling memo puts the margin of error at 5.8 percent.

The statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight rates polling groups and pollsters on an A through F scale. The website gives JMC a “C” rating, and The Tarrance Group a “B” rating.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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