Another poll, same dead heat in Nevada Senate race

A new poll released today on Nevada’s race for U.S. Senate shows the same as most others: You’d be pressed to pull dental floss through the gap between Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley, his Democratic challenger.

Heller carries a 44-43 lead in the automated telephone survey taken June 7-10 by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm from North Carolina whose four polls over the past year have had the contest well within the margin for error.

"Heller has had a consistent small edge in most of our polling, but this’ll be a close race down to the wire," Dean Debnam, PPP president, said in a statement.

The poll numbers are here.

Whatever lead Heller may be carrying could be attributed to his 45-38 advantage among independent voters, the pollsters said.

Also, the snapshot shows Heller is drawing 18 percent support from crossover Democrats, while only 16 percent of Republicans say they could vote for Berkley.

Among Hispanics, Berkley holds a 49-40 lead. Among African Americans, her lead is 57-23.

The poll does not break out how Berkley is doing outside her Clark County base, nor how Heller is doing in Southern Nevada, nor how the candidates are faring in the Washoe County battleground.

At the same time, the survey suggests a troublesome trend for Heller: his approval numbers have dropped since he was appointed to the Senate in May 2011.

A that time, his rating was 46 percent approve and 23 percent disapprove. Now he’s in the red: 36 percent of voters approve of his performance and 39 percent disapprove.

Berkley’s favorables have improved over that time, from 33 percent to 38 percent according to the pollsters.

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