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Sandoval keeps double-digit lead

CARSON CITY — Republican Brian Sandoval has maintained a double-digit lead over Democrat Rory Reid in the race for governor, although the gap between them has narrowed slightly, according to a poll conducted for the Review-Journal and KLAS-TV, Channel 8.

Sandoval holds a 47 percent to 36 percent lead over Reid in the poll of 625 likely voters. His 11 percentage point lead compares with a 14 percentage point margin he held in a similar poll in early June.

But Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., which conducted the poll, said the fluctuation was insignificant and Sandoval remains a big favorite in the race.

Coker said he considers Reid a long shot because of his "unfavorable" numbers.

Besides polling Nevada voters on the race itself, pollsters asked them if they looked favorably or unfavorably on the two candidates.

Sandoval, a former federal judge and attorney general, received a 45 percent favorable, 19 percent unfavorable rating.

Reid, an attorney who is chairman of the Clark County Commission, had a 29 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable rating.

Those figures, which haven’t changed significantly since a similar poll in June, do not bode well for Reid’s chances in November, Coker said.

He said poll results show that Reid is not being helped, or receiving a positive "coattail effect," from his father, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., even though they will be on the same election ballot in November.

While the younger Reid is trailing his opponent, his father — who is majority leader of the Senate — holds a 7 percentage point lead over Republican challenger Sharron Angle.

"I never thought it a smart move for him to run with his father on the ballot," Coker said. "I have never seen an instance where when two relatives were on the ballot that both won."

Coker pointed to the 2006 Nevada primary where Jim Gibbons won the Republican race for governor, while his wife, Dawn, lost the primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

"Sandoval is the perfect candidate," Coker said. "He is not known as a right wing conservative. He is Hispanic."

The telephone poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Sandoval’s only comment on the poll was: "We are encouraged by the reception we are getting across the state, but we are taking nothing for granted."

Another poll, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, was released Wednesday. It showed Sandoval with a 57 percent to 36 percent lead over Rory Reid.

Reid did not comment on the Review-Journal poll, but his spokesman, Mike Trask, said dozens of polls will be conducted between now and November and the only one that matters is the one done by voters on Election Day.

He noted that the first campaign finance report in the race shows that Reid had raised $2.6 million to Sandoval’s $575,000, so Reid he will have funds to get his message across to voters.

"Polls at this moment are irrelevant," Trask said. "What matters is that we continue to do what we have been doing, traveling the state and talking to voters."

Reid has been discussing what he will do to improve education and rebuild the economy, the defining issues of the campaign, according to Trask. He’s also been waiting for Sandoval to agree to debate, he added.

"Rory will debate him anytime, anywhere," Trask said.

Reid in recent days has been trying to draw Sandoval into a series of debates. Sandoval’s campaign has said there will not be debates until this fall because the Republican candidate intends to concentrate on meeting people this summer.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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