There's good news and bad news for Rory Reid in the Nevada Gubernatorial race. The good news is that he's gaining, up to 43% after being at 38% in our July poll of the state. The bad news is that Brian Sandoval is standing solid at the same 52% he had in our July poll. So although it is now a single digit race that's just a reflection of Reid picking up undecideds rather than winning over Sandoval supporters, and with Sandoval polling consistently over 50% the path to victory for Reid continues to look exceedingly difficult.
This race ultimately comes down to the independents. Both candidates have their party bases pretty well locked up with Sandoval taking 88% of Republicans and Reid 82% of Democrats. But Sandoval's winning independents by a 62-33 margin and that's what's fueling his overall lead. To put his 29 point advantage with them in perspective, Sharron Angle's lead with them in the Senate race is only 8 points.
Sandoval is proving to be one of the most attractive Republican Gubernatorial candidates in the country. 52% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to only 32% who see him negatively. Even moderates see him positively by a 46/38 spread and that's exceedingly rare for Republicans this year- the only other GOP candidates we've seen on positive ground with moderates are Scott Brown on the Senate side and Michigan's Rick Snyder, Hawaii's Duke Aiona, and Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett on the Gubernatorial side. Much of Rory Reid's trouble has been blamed on the family brand but that sells Sandoval short- he's one of the better candidates the GOP has anywhere this year.
It's overwhelmingly the case across the country this year that in states with an unpopular outgoing Governor the office is going to change parties but Nevada is bucking that trend. Republican Jim Gibbons is one of the least popular folks holding his position in the whole country with a 25% approval rating and 61% of voters disapproving of him but it doesn't seem to be rubbing off on Sandoval.
Perhaps in a different political climate or against a weaker opponent (like his dad's) Rory Reid could have been elected Governor of Nevada but there's going to have to be a big game changer in the final three weeks for Sandoval not win this one.
Full results here