Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Berkley pulling closer to Heller

Dean Heller continues to hold the early lead in the Nevada Senate race, but Shelley Berkley's gained on him over the four months since PPP last polled the match up. Heller is now up only 47-43 on Berkley. That represents a 9 point swing in her direction since Heller led 51-38 in early January.

The main thing fueling Berkley's gain is that Democratic voters have soured on Heller since he launched his Senate campaign, significantly cutting into his crossover support. In January Heller posted a pretty decent 22/31 favorability spread with Democrats, allowing him a 46/23 breakdown overall. Now just 16% of Democrats express a positive view of him and 48% have a negative one. That's caused his net favorability to drop 9 points from +23 to now +14 at 43/29.

Given that Democratic voters don't like him as much anymore it's no surprise that they're also not as inclined to vote for Heller as they were earlier this year. In January Berkley had only a 44 point lead over Heller with Democratic voters at 64-20. Now it's a 63 point lead at 76-13 and that 19 point shift in her direction within her own party is the main reason she now has the race within the margin of error.

One thing that may end up actually hurting Heller in the long run is being appointed to the Senate vacancy created by the early resignation of John Ensign. 53% of voters think that Ensign's seat should be filled by a special election, compared to only 44% who think Brian Sandoval should appoint Ensign's replacement. Democrats will certainly try to make a Heller appointment smell bad and these numbers suggest that they have the public behind them in their opposition to Sandoval giving Heller a head start.

Heller continues to lead Berkley for two main reasons. The biggest is his overwhelming support with independent voters. He's extremely popular with them, at a 51/21 favorability breakdown, and his advantage over Berkley with them is 56-29. The other key for Heller is that even though Berkley has gained ground with Democrats, he still has his party more unified around him than her. 86% of Republicans right now say they will vote for Heller, compared to 76% of Democrats who are already committed to Berkley.

The Heller/Berkley race is starting to look like something close to a toss up. One contest that would not be a toss up is if Byron Georgiou somehow snagged the Democratic nomination. Heller would lead him by 24 points at 52/28, winning independents by a whooping 42 points.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Was Giffords polled?

joel said...

After the Reid election seems like all pollsters underestimated the democratic vote. If I was a republican I wouldn't get comfortable until you have a 5 point lead.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Was Giffords polled?"

In Nevada?

Anonymous said...

Sample is only +5 Obama '08 vs ~+12 actual.

Did you change anything to your Nevada polling template since 2010?

Smooth Jazz said...

Of course, Berkley is pulling closer - I suspect by next week she'll surge past Heller according to your rigged polls. Your polls are not credible; They are sponsored by the zealots and idealogues at DailyKOS/SEIU for goodness sakes.

The only people that take your polls seriously are Dem KoolAid drinkers whose spirits you guys need engaged. Everybody else knows you guys are editorializing and agenda pushing with your bogus, Dem slanted polls.

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