Nevada voters are energized for this year’s midterm elections, especially Democrats in the state. While a majority of Nevada voters tell the NBC News/Marist Poll they want to send a message that more Democrats are needed to serve as a check and balance on the presidential power of Donald Trump, voters divide about which party they want in control of Congress and whether they want a Democrat or Republican to represent their district. The U.S. Senate race in Nevada and the state’s gubernatorial contest are very competitive.
76% of registered voters, including 85% of Democrats, 78% of Republicans, and 67% of independents, consider this year’s midterm elections to be very important.
“Despite the Democrats’ enthusiasm advantage for the midterm elections, the Republican candidates for Senate and governor are running even or better against their Democratic opponents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
A majority of Nevada registered voters (51%), including one in ten Republicans, say their midterm election vote will send the message that more Democrats are needed to check and balance the power of President Trump. 37% want to send more Republicans to Washington to help the president pass his agenda.
Voters under the age of 45 (60%), women, (60%), and white voters with a college degree (52%) are among those most likely to say they plan to send a message that more Democrats are needed to balance the power of President Trump. Voters 45 or older (45% to 46%) and men (42% to 44%) divide about whether they want more Democrats to check the president or more Republicans to support Trump’s agenda. A plurality of white voters without a college degree (47%) say more Democrats are needed to be a check on the president, including 52% of white women without a college degree. 43% of white voters without a college degree, driven by white men without a college degree (50%), report more Republicans are needed to advance the president’s agenda.
Nevada voters divide about whether they prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans (45%) or Democrats (45%). One in ten are unsure. Women (49%), voters under the age of 45 (48%), and white college graduates (52%) prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats. Of note, 14% of women are unsure.
Men (52%), voters 45 or older (49%), and white voters without a college degree (48%), especially white men without a college degree (53%) favor a Congress controlled by Republicans. Also of note, white women without a college degree divide (45% for a Democratic Congress and 44% for a Republican Congress).
On the generic congressional ballot question, 47% of registered voters favor the Democrat in their district while 46% support the Republican. Five percent are undecided. A clear partisan divide exists with more than nine in ten Republicans and Democrats supporting their own party’s candidate. Independents divide. 44% support the Republican, and 41% back the Democrat. One in ten independents are undecided.
While more than six in ten Latino voters (61%) support the Democratic candidate on the ballot, white voters divide (48% for the Republican and 45% for the Democrat). Voters under 45 years of age (52%), women (51%), and white voters with a college degree (51%) are more likely to support the Democrat. White voters without a college degree (53%), men (52%), and voters 45 or older (48%) are more likely to back the Republican. Of note, white men with a college degree divide, 49% for the Democrat and 47% for the Republican.
Nearly three in four registered voters (73%) consider the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court to be a voting issue. 39% are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who opposed the Kavanaugh nomination, and 34% are more likely to cast their ballot for a candidate who supported the appointment. 22% of registered voters say it makes no difference to their vote.
The economy and jobs (26%) and health care (25%) are the most important factors for Nevada registered voters when deciding for whom to vote for Congress. A plurality of Democrats (41%) say health care is the most important factor. The economy and jobs (32%) tops the list for Republicans. Independents mention jobs and the economy (26%) and health care (23%).
In the race for U.S. Senate in Nevada, Republican incumbent Dean Heller is in a tough reelection fight. Heller (44%) and Democrat Jacky Rosen (42%) are competitive among likely voters in Nevada including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Libertarian candidate Tim Hagan garners 8% of the vote. Two percent support none of these candidates. Four percent are undecided.
“This is the only Senate contest in the nation where a Republican is seeking re-election in a state Hillary Clinton carried in 2016,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, it’s still anybody’s guess whether Nevada can boost the Democrats’ chances of achieving a Senate majority or break them.”
Most Democrats (88%) and Republicans (88%) support their respective party’s candidate. Among independents, a plurality (41%) back Heller over Rosen (30%). A notable 17% support Hagan. There is a 29-point gender gap among likely voters in this contest. Women support Rosen by 12 points over Heller (48% to 36%). In contrast, more men support Heller (52%) than Rosen (35%), a difference of 17 points in favor of Heller.
Among registered voters in Nevada, 42% support Heller while 41% are for Rosen. Eight percent back Hagan, 3% do not support any of these candidates, and 6% are undecided.
61% of likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate in Nevada strongly support their choice of candidate. 67% of Rosen’s backers and 63% of Heller’s supporters say they are firmly committed to their candidate. 13% of likely voters are considered persuadable in the contest for U.S. Senate, that is, they are either undecided or say they have a preference but may vote differently.
In a head to head contest, Heller (46%) and Rosen (44%) remain competitive among likely voters. Similar proportions of registered voters support each of the two candidates.
Heller’s favorable rating is upside down (42% favorable to 46% unfavorable) among likely voters. 12% have either never heard of Heller or are unsure how to rate him. Likely voters divide about Rosen. 42% have a favorable opinion of Rosen, and 43% have an unfavorable one. 15% of likely voters have either never heard of Rosen or are unsure how to rate her.
In the contest to replace term-limited Governor Brian Sandoval, Republican Adam Laxalt (44%) and Democrat Steve Sisolak (40%) are in a close contest among likely voters in the state including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Libertarian Jared Lord receives 8%, 2% support none of these candidates, and 6% are undecided.
Among registered voters, 41% support Laxalt and 40% are for Sisolak. Lord receives 8%, 2% support none of these candidates, and 8% are undecided.
65% of likely voters with a candidate preference for governor say they strongly support their choice. 69% of Laxalt’s supporters, compared with 68% of Sisolak’s backers, say they are strongly behind their candidate. 17% of likely voters are persuadable in this contest.
In a two-way contest, the race becomes Laxalt, 46%, to 45% for Sisolak among Nevada likely voters. Three percent support none of these candidates, and 6% are undecided.
A plurality of likely voters (43%) have a favorable opinion of Laxalt. 37% have an unfavorable one, and 20% have either never heard of Laxalt or are unsure how to rate him. Likely voters divide about Sisolak. 42% have a positive impression of the candidate. 43% view him negatively, and 15% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate Sisolak.
President Trump’s approval rating is upside down in Nevada. 47% of Nevada adults disapprove of how he is doing his job. 40% approve, and 13% are unsure. The proportion of Nevada residents who strongly disapprove of the president’s job performance (38%) outweighs the proportion of those who strongly approve (29%). There is a 27-point gender gap in how men and women rate the president. More men approve (46%) of the job President Trump is doing than disapprove (40%). In contrast, only 34% of women rate the job the president is doing positively, and 55% disapprove.