Friday, January 7, 2011

Obama would easily win Nevada again...except against Romney

Barack Obama would easily take Nevada if he had to stand for reelection today...unless the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney. Obama has early double digit advantages against Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin in the state but has just a single point edge over Romney.

Nevada is one of the few swing states we've polled in the last couple months where more voters approve (50%) than disapprove (46%) of Obama. Like everywhere else in the country Democrats are largely happy with him and Republicans are most unhappy- what sets apart his numbers in Nevada is his popularity with independents, 55% of whom approve of him with 41% disapproving.

Independents in the state may like Obama but they like Romney even more, giving him a 58/28 favorability rating. That's quite a contrast to how they feel about other the leading Republican contenders in the state. Huckabee's favorability with them is 38/50, Palin's is 28/61, and Gingrich actually occupies the basement in this state at 26/65.

Obama's lead over Romney is 47/46. That goes up to 10 points over Huckabee at 50/40, 11 over Gingrich at 51/40, and 13 over Palin at 52/39. Independents explain most of the difference between how Romney does compared to the rest of the Republicans here as well. Obama dominates most of the Republican field with them- a 22 point lead over Palin, a 23 point one over Huckabee, and a 27 point one over Gingrich. But Romney actually has an 11 point lead over Obama with them and that's the reason he's running neck and neck overall.

Of the battleground states where we've polled 2012 so far, Nevada has the biggest disparity in the GOP's chances of winning depending on who their nominee is. The only other state where there was greater than a 5 point difference between how one Republican did and the rest of them was Michigan, where Romney came to within 4 points of Obama with Huckabee the next closest at 12 points.

Given the direction the state is headed in, it may be a long time before a Republican wins Nevada in a race that's competitive nationally- it may go red only in instances where it's a GOP landslide across the country. The Senate race this year showed that Republicans have to be very careful about who they nominate if they want to win in Nevada and recent history doesn't suggest that's something they're particularly inclined to do.

Full results here

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Considering that public polls universally underestimated Democratic support in Nevada in both 2010 and 2008 by a pretty uniform 5-10 point margin, have you instituted any changes in your polling model to try and compensate for this problem? At the least, did you poll on how the sample voted in 2008/2010?

DBL said...

Mormons vote

NRH said...

For this particular poll, I wish there was a religious preference question as well. Nevada has a significant Mormon population that might be noncommittal about the other candidates but would definitely be behind Romney. It's very noticeable that Romney doesn't do any better than Huckabee (or really any of the pack) with black or Hispanic Nevadans; Obama wins about 2/3 of Hispanic Nevadans and 86% of black votes regardless of opponent, but Romney gets a lot more white votes than the others. Similarly, Romney massively cuts into Obama's lead in the youth vote, while none of the other candidates sees anything like that. Romney more or less matches the others with the over-65 vote, but beats all the others by larger and larger margins the further down the age range he goes.

Given the demographics of the Mormon population in the Mountain West (largely white, with a high birthrate), and that Romney's advantage over the other Republicans appears to be correlated with age among white voters, it looks like Romney gets otherwise-disengaged younger Mormon voters.

Anonymous said...

Where is Ron Paul?

Anonymous said...

The final PPP poll in the Nevada Senate race had Angle up by one. The one before that had Reid up by two. Reid won by 5.7%. This is lower than the average bias (Angle was up 2.7% in the most recent set of polls) but still present.

Polls: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2010/senate/nv/nevada_senate_angle_vs_reid-1517.html

Dustin Ingalls said...

We don't test Paul in the general election. It's always these four except when we do a bonus fifth Republican in the national poll or when we test some of the other candidates in their home states (Santorum in PA, for example).

Anonymous said...

"Where is Ron Paul?"

Probably in D.C. voting "no" on legislation.

JCordes said...

Could that be related to Nevada's large Mormon population? I wonder if Nevadan Mormons are less conservative than the median Mormon.

Anonymous said...

^no, it's just the Californians who wrecked their own state moving away from the mess they created and bringing their liberalism with them, despite the fact that everywhere they go, ruin follows.

Anonymous said...

The Mormon population in Nevada is only about 5%. They do vote better than average but blaming Romney's big win in 08 caucuses on a high mormon population was a really good PR job by the other candidates.
Romney just had a better organization in Nevada so the others quit trying.
Nevadans like Romney because we have the worst economy in the country and realize we need someone with experience at the helm.

Stephen Monteith said...

I'd keep an eye on the Hispanic vote in Nevada. Brian Sandoval, one of the few Hispanic governors in the country, is certain to campaign for Romney there. He might even be able to count on a visit from neighboring Governor Martinez, whom he helped get elected. That would certainly boost his numbers with them.

NRH said...

Sandoval's support from the Hispanic community doesn't cross over to other Republicans. Sandoval was actively on the ballot and trying to get Hispanic Nevadans to vote for Republicans, and Sharron Angle was destroyed among Hispanic voters. Nobody will be able to win the Republican presidential primary without giving a loud nod of approval to the racist Arizona law, and that's the touch of death among Hispanic voters.

Kelly Anderson Wright said...

No surprise here, frankly. Republicans nominated Romney in the Primary and were forced to settle for McCain when Romney dropped out. Nevada won't choose Palin, as they just couldn't bring themselves to elect Angle either. Nevadans don't care about religion, a la the biggest Morman we have, Harry Reid. Romney against Obama? I'd vote for Mitt in a nanosecond. I'd like to see a successful business man steering this country in the right directly, literally and figuratively! Conservative Kelly Wright in Reno

Anonymous said...

The campaign has yet to begin and methinks Romney, as was the case in 2008, still has a glass jaw. I actually won't be surprised if he doesn't become the nominee, but even if he does, he won't fare any better than Palin or Huckabee.

Have you forgotten the 2008 GOP primaries? Romney was tapping out early in the mid 30s and the more he campaigned, the less attractive he was to the base. He's just a phony and worse, comes off such and that is before we even talk about healthcare or the rebound in the economy. By the time they've run ads saying "Obamacare is Romneycare by a Democrat", Romney would be lucky to win UT by single digits.

The GOP needs a brand new face and an experienced pol to even stand a chance against Obama next year and nominating any of the names being bandied about pretty much ensures Obama's second term w/o him breaking a sweat.

 
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