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New poll shows Heller leads Rosen; Laxalt appears ahead of Sisolak

WASHINGTON — Sen. Dean Heller has a slight lead in his re-election bid against U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, but likely Nevada voters are motivated to cast a ballot against President Donald Trump, giving Democrats opportunity to take the GOP seat, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Republican Adam Laxalt also is apparently leading Democrat Steve Sisolak in the race for Nevada governor, the poll shows.

The poll of likely Nevada voters is one of the first to show Heller with a lead outside the margin of error, 47 percent to 41 percent, with 8 percent of respondents saying they would vote for none or “other.”

Laxalt and Sisolak were at 46 percent to 41 percent, with 9 percent of likely voters who responded saying none or other, according to the poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for Thompson Reuters and the University of Virginia Center of Politics.

Ipsos vice president Chris Jackson said the poll shows the Senate race moving from a statistical dead heat in September “to a small but significant Republican lead in October.”

“However, 51 percent of likely voters say they are motivated to vote for someone who will ‘oppose President Trump’ indicating there is still space for Democrats to mobilize their base and keep this contest close,” Jackson said.

The poll of roughly 2,001 adults, conducted from Oct. 12 to Oct. 19, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The survey included 1,137 likely voters, 507 Democrats, 509 Republicans and 77 independents.

Among all the adults surveyed, the Senate and gubernatorial races are statistical dead heats, Jackson said, but the poll showed Republican voters more enthusiastic than Democratic voters.

“If this enthusiasm gap persists until Election Day, expect Republicans to win statewide,” Jackson said.

The poll of likely voters found that immigration and health care were the most important issues facing voters, receiving support from 24 percent of respondents, followed by the economy at 10 percent.

Overall, 40 percent of all likely voters strongly disapprove of the job President Donald Trump is doing, and 32 percent strongly approve, the poll found.

Some 37 percent of all likely Nevada voters strongly disapprove of the job Congress is doing, while only 5 percent approve.

Of likely voters, 41 percent see Heller as the strongest candidate on jobs to Rosen’s 33 percent, while more see Rosen as the strongest candidate on health care, 39 percent to 35 percent.

Rosen was stronger, among likely voters, on environment, same-sex marriage and social issues, while Heller was favored on immigration and the Supreme Court.

The poll was taken after the divisive Senate battle that ended with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the high court this month. Of likely Nevada voters, 52 percent said they support the confirmation.

In the governor’s race, Laxalt was seen by likely voters as stronger than Sisolak on every issue except the environment, where they each received 34 percent, with 18 percent of respondents saying they did not know and 13 percent saying “neither” was strong on the issue.

On issues, more Republican likely voters were concerned about immigration, 41 percent, than Democratic likely voters, 9 percent. Among likely voting independents, 12 percent said immigration was the most pressing issue.

Trump has campaigned heavily on immigration, accusing Democrats of favoring open borders and saying a caravan of Central Americans headed for the United States has been infiltrated by gang members or possibly terrorists.

A recent Latino Decisions poll found Hispanics motivated to vote because they opposed the Trump administration’s immigration policies and its separation of children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the Ipsos poll, likely Democratic voters were more concerned about health care, 24 percent, than likely Republican voters, 15 percent, and independents, 13 percent.

Although 67 percent of likely Nevada voters said they were motivated to vote in the upcoming midterm election, 63 percent of Republicans said they would vote for a candidate who supports Trump, while 70 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents said they would vote for a candidate who will oppose the president.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7390. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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