Democrats take hope in new Marshall-Amodei poll

Nevada Democrats are putting hope in a poll released this morning that shows the congressional race between Kate Marshall and Republican Mark Amodei is a dead heat.

The survey commissioned by the Service Employees International Union and the liberal website Daily Kos has Amodei leading by a single percentage point, 43-42.

Early voting for the 2nd Congressional District seat starts Saturday and culminates in the special election day of Sept. 13.

The poll is here.

The Daily Kos analysis is here.

The poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, shows a much different result from the one released last week by the conservative Americans for Prosperity. That one showed Amodei up 48-35.

Taken together, the polling presents a muddy picture of the race in a district where Republicans hold a 30,000-person advantage in registered voters but where the race seems to be generating little excitement.

Compare the two polls,  David Nir wrote on Daily Kos that the Democrat-commissioned one skewed "much less red" — meaning Republicans were less-represented — than the automated poll conducted for Americans for Prosperity by Magellan Strategies, a Republican outlet.

"Another possible explanation is that we’re seeing disgust register toward both parties," Nir writes.

Also, questions now are being raised about the Americans for Prosperity Poll. Ray Hagar of  the Reno Gazette Journal reports he received emails from three readers who said they were called for the automated poll and that it got Marshall’s name wrong.

Adam Stryker, Nevada state director for the organization, released audio for the robocall this morning in which the automated voice had her name correct.

"I think the best part about doing the robopoll is that we have a copy, of the audio which speaks for itself," Stryker said in an email. "It’s stupid to think that I would commission an independent poll that would purposely change the name of the candidate — it would ruin my credibility and that of the pollster and offers no benefit to me to do so."

The question being raised now, in the wake of the latest poll suggesting Marshall has a chance to win, is whether national Democrats will get active. The National Republican Congressional Committee has put more than $412,000 into the race.

In an analysis published Monday, Nathan Gonzales of Roll Call wrote Republicans believe their early investments paid off through commercials seeking to tie Marshall to President Barack Obama and Nevada’s floundering economy.

"Party strategists on both sides of the aisle agree that Amodei starts the final weeks of the race with the advantage, even though they also insist the race is closer than the Magellan margin," according to Gonzales.

Nir said it was time for Democrats to make a decision on the race.  "Given PPP’s track record for accuracy this year, it would be a mistake for Democratic leaders to write them off," Nir writes. "So I think the key thing to watch for will be (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) involvement. If they get in, then they think we have a chance; if they don’t, then they’ve written it off."


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