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PARTY LINES: Democrats ahead, but races close, new poll shows

Updated July 17, 2022 - 11:09 am

November’s elections are shaping up to be close contests, a new poll from 8NewsNow and Emerson College shows.

According to polling numbers, incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto leads her Republican challenger, former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, by 3.7 percentage points. Cortez Masto has 44.1 percent, Laxalt 40.4 percent, with 9.1 percent undecided. (Another 6.1 percent said “someone else.”)

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has a 3.2-percentage-point lead over Republican nominee and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, 43.6 percent to 40.4 percent respectively. Just 7.3 percent are undecided in that race. That lead comes even after voters gave Sisolak’s job performance an underwhelming 39.9 percent approval rating.

In congressional races, where the margin of error grows to 4.3 percentage points in the poll, all the Democratic incumbents lead their Republican challengers, but not by much.

Rep. Dina Titus has 41.1 percent to Republican Mark Robertson’s 36.7 percent, a gap of 4.4 percentage points and the largest lead in Southern Nevada congressional races. On the other end of the spectrum, Rep. Susie Lee (with 41.8 percent) leads Republican April Becker (39.7 percent) by just 2.1 percentage points.

Rep. Steven Horsford has an even 3 percentage point lead over his Republican rival, Sam Peters, with 41.7 percent to 38.7 percent respectively.

Perhaps of greater concern to the incumbent Democrats are a couple of other numbers unearthed by the poll.

In the traditional right direction/wrong track question, 44.6 percent of voters chose the former, with 55.4 percent saying the country was on the wrong track. The economy was cited as the No. 1 issue (by 33.5 percent of those surveyed) and when asked what’s to blame, 42.3 percent said President Joe Biden’s administration.

Biden himself earned a paltry 32.5 percent approval from voters in the poll. And when matched against 2020 rival Donald Trump — whom Biden beat by 2.39 percent — Trump was ahead 43 percent to 40.1 percent. And when matched against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Biden did even worse, losing 42.8 percent to 38.4 percent.

Judge draws police ire

The Metropolitan Police Department’s officers’ union, the Police Protective Association, was not pleased with comments made by a District Court judge best known for refusing a judge’s order to remove a “Black Lives Matter” pin back when she was practicing law as a public defender.

The association called for Judge Erika Ballou to resign after she told a defendant in her courtroom that “you’re a Black man in America, you know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are.” The judge, who is Black, later added, “I don’t want to be around where the cops are because I don’t know if I’m going to walk away alive or not.”

On Friday, Lombardo joined with the union in calling for Ballou, who was elected in 2020, to step down off the bench.

“Judge Ballou’s comments and courtroom conduct demonstrate bias against law enforcement and stand in complete opposition to a fair and independent judiciary,” Lombardo said in a statement. “Today, I’m calling upon Judge Ballou to resign, and I’m also calling upon Governor Sisolak to demand Judge Ballou’s resignation.”

At press time, Sisolak had not followed Lombardo’s advice.

Go for the food, stay for the … food

Speaking of Lombardo, he will be attending the annual Basque Fry event in Northern Nevada in August, a gathering of conservatives that features traditional Basque food. The Nevada event was started by Laxalt, who will also be speaking this year, along with previously announced attendees U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Trump administration acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

But seriously, try the food.

Endorsements update

The SEIU Local 1107 has endorsed Horsford for re-election in Congressional District 4, saying “Congressman Horsford has always been an ally and friend of SEIU Local 1107. He has experienced hardships growing up that have instilled in him a dedication and devotion to unions and to working families in Nevada.” … The Nevada Conservation League has made its endorsements for the general election, backing all Democrats with the notable exception of Henderson Republican Melissa Hardy in Assembly District 22.


“(U.S. Rep. Liz) Cheney, (R-Wyo.) is the most important politician in America right now.” — Dmitri Mehlhorn, political strategist and adviser to LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, a Democratic donor who has donated to Cheney because of her role as vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 commission.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.

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