Congressional candidate Niger Innis has more than twice as much Nevada Republican support than his opponent, Assemblyman Cresent Hardy, ahead of the GOP primary, according to a new poll released Wednesday that shows a majority of voters remain undecided.
The Innis campaign commissioned the automated telephone survey, which shows the civil rights advocate with 19.09 percent support from GOP voters compared with 7.85 percent for Hardy, R-Mesquite, and with 73.06 percent undecided.
The survey by PMI Inc., a polling firm out of Florida, comes about three weeks before early voting begins May 24 in Clark County and ends June 6, four days before the June 10 primary with the race appearing to be wide open.
The race appears to be wide open, but Innis’ campaign manager, Lisa Mayo DeRiso, said she was happy with the survey results.
“To be ahead by 11 points five weeks out is good,” Mayo DeRiso said.
“The fact that so many people are undecided was not a surprise,” she added, saying both candidates “are relative unknowns,” especially in urban areas of the district. “We think that we learned from the poll how to move the undecideds to Niger.”
Also, she said there was a relatively high response rate for the poll, which targeted 14,615 GOP households in the district.
A total of 1,210 Republicans participated in the poll via land line and cellphone, or about 8.3 percent of those called. Mayo DeRiso said the typical response rate is 3 percent to 5 percent. She said this “indicated that people are interested in this race.”
The GOP primary contest for the 4th Congressional District has been heated with the candidates debating twice and expected to debate at least two more times before early voting starts. The district covers the northern part of Clark County and all or part of six rural counties.
Hardy and Innis are competing to win the right to take on U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., a freshman.
According to the poll, Republicans surveyed said they believe Innis, by a 2-to-1 margin (21.54 percent to 11.01 percent), stands a better chance of defeating Horsford in the Nov. 4 general election, but two-thirds, or 67.46 percent, remain undecided about who is the stronger candidate.
The Innis campaign released three questions from the 10-question poll.
The third question dealt with the two candidates’ personal profiles. Hardy, a fifth-generation Nevadan, has served in local and state government for a couple of decades. Innis, a frequent conservative national TV and radio talk show guest, moved to Nevada in 2007 and has never run for public office.
Republicans polled were asked, “Do you prefer to vote for a candidate for U.S. Congress that’s an elected politician who’s part of the Republican establishment in the State of Nevada, or a candidate who has never held public office and is a nationally recognized conservative?” The answers reflected a bias against incumbent politicians.
Some 50.66 percent said they preferred the candidate with no elected office experience, 15.18 percent said they would vote for an elected politician, and 34.16 percent were undecided.
No matter who wins the GOP primary, the Republican nominee is expected to run as the underdog against Horsford, who enjoys a Democratic voter registration edge over Republicans of nearly 12 percentage points within the district, which is 44.6 percent Democratic and 32.9 percent Republican as of the end of March.
The survey, conducted April 22-24, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.