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Poll shows dead heat in Nevada Senate, governor races

CARSON CITY — A newly released poll shows the races Nevada’s U.S. Senate and governor are locked in dead heats, the Energy Choice Initiative has seen a significant dip in support.

The poll, which comes from Suffolk University and the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper, showed Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller narrowly ahead of his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, the 41 percent of respondents saying they’d vote for Heller compared to 40 percent for Rosen. Nine percent said they are undecided.

The poll showed the governor’s race between Republican Adam Laxalt and Democrat Steve Sisolak to be even closer, with 41.6 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Laxalt and 41 percent saying they would vote for Sisolak. Seven percent said they are undecided.

The poll surveyed 500 likely voters from July 24-29, with a party makeup that closely mirrors the state’s voter registration. The poll’s margin of error is 4.4 percent, meaning both races fall within a statistical tie.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats and Republicans in both races overwhelmingly went with their party’s candidate. Nonpartisan voters, however, differed.

In the Senate race, 34 percent of the independents polled broke towards Rosen and 29 percent for Heller. Laxalt, the state attorney general, was favored by 37 percent of the independents.

The poll also asked about Nevadans views on several candidates and elected officials.

According to their responses, President Donald Trump has a net favorability of -3 in Nevada, with 49 percent finding him unfavorable compared to 46 percent favorable. When asked if they approve of the job Trump is doing, that gap narrowed to 48 percent saying they disapprove and 47 percent saying they approve.

The poll also found that term-limited Gov. Brian Sandoval continues to remain immensely popular among all parties, with a net favorbility at +28 (57 percent favorable to 19 percent unfavorable). Speaking to the cross-party support, 54 percent of Democrats found Sandoval favorable.

Energy Choice

The poll also asked respondents about Question 3, the ballot initiative that would break up NV Energy’s monopoly on power generation in Nevada in favor of a competitive market where consumers would choose their electricity provider.

The proposed constitutional amendment, commonly referred to as the Energy Choice Initiative, passed in 2016 with more than 71 percent of the vote. But it must pass twice to become law, and is again on the ballot this fall.

According to the Suffolk poll, 31 percent of respondents said they support Question 3, with 46 percent opposed and 22 percent undecided.

Yes on 3, the campaign pushing for Question 3’s passage, criticized the poll for not asking the question the way it will be phrased on the November ballot.

The poll asked: “This year, you will vote on a constitutional amendment, known as Question 3, which would require the state legislature to quote, “minimize regulations on the energy market and eliminate legal energy monopolies” end quote. If the vote were held today, would you support or oppose Question 3?”

The wording on the ballot is: “Shall Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution be amended to require the Legislature to provide by law for the establishment of an open, competitive retail electric energy market that prohibits the granting of monopolies and exclusive franchises for the generation of electricity?”

“They asked a false question about minimizing regulations that does not resemble what voters will see in the fall. Polling ballot measures can be difficult but the place to start is asking the actual question,” Yes on 3 campaign manager Dave Chase said in a statement.

Brothel bans

Some counties in Nevada are considering efforts to ban legalized prostitution in brothels where it’s currently legal. In Lyon County, an advisory question will go before voters this fall to gauge whether or not residents want the County Commission to outlaw it. The poll, however, showed an overwhelming support to keep legal brothels in the state, by a margin of 61-29 percent.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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