-Last fall Harry Reid got reelected despite being unpopular because Nevada voters disliked Sharron Angle. 'Dislike' no longer describes how voters in the state feel about Angle. 'Hate' would be a better word. 17% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of her to 70% with an unfavorable one. Right after Game Change came out 15% of North Carolina voters rated John Edwards favorably to 72% with a negative opinion. That's the only time I can remember polling someone and finding numbers comparable to these ones for Angle. (Edwards is even more unpopular than that now.)
It's a given that Angle gets horrid reviews from Democrats (5/86) and independents (19/71) but what's plunged her numbers down to near record levels in our polling is that even among Republicans only 31% now rate her favorably to 52% with a negative opinion. She is not going to be a factor in any future Nevada political race.
Harry Reid's numbers are about where they always are. 44% of voters approve of him while 51% disapprove. Independents split against him 52/42 and Republicans (88%) are more unified in their disapproval of him than Democrats (75%) are in their approval. But despite his less than stellar numbers he would now defeat Angle 53-40 in a hypothetical rematch, building on his margin of victory from last fall. He'd take independents by 20 points. Reid's continued presence in the Senate is a living symbol of the Tea Party's ability to poke the eyes out of the Republican Party.
-Brian Sandoval is continuing to hold up much better than most of his first term Republican Governor peers across the country. We find him with a 46% approval rating to 36% of voters disapproving of him. Those numbers are a slight improvement from our last poll of the state when he was at 44/38. Sandoval continues to be popular with independents (47/34) and his 25% approval rating with Democrats is a healthy amount of crossover support in a strongly polarized political climate. In a hypothetical rematch Sandoval would defeat Rory Reid 53-42, that 11 point margin identical to the one that he won by in November.
Although Sandoval is doing well our numbers don't suggest that putting him on the ticket would deliver Nevada for the Republican Presidential candidate next year. 46% of voters say Sandoval as the VP choice wouldn't sway their vote one way or the other. And with the ones who say it would make a difference 34% say it would make them less likely to vote GOP to only 20% who say they would consider it a plus.
That's consistent with what we've found in Virginia polling about Bob McDonnell- 31% less likely and 24% more likely- and in Florida polling about Marco Rubio- 35% less likely and 31% more likely. Just because voters like a home state politician doesn't mean they want them to be the Vice Presidential candidate or that it would make them more likely to support that person's party.
-On our last Nevada poll before he resigned we found John Ensign with a 35% approval rating and 50% of voters disapproving of him. Now with him out of office the bottom has dropped out. Only 22% say they have a favorable opinion of him with 58% rating him negatively. Democrats (10/74) and independents (17/61) give him horrid marks but that's nothing new and has been the case all along. What's dropped him further is that Republicans no longer feel the need to say they care for him. In January they approved of him by a 59/29 margin. But now more- 39%- rate him unfavorably than the 37% who give him good marks. Safe to say with those numbers there's not going to be an Ensign comeback somewhere further down the line.
-Nevada voters are split almost evenly in their views on gay marriage with 45% thinking it should be legal and 44% illegal. You see the standard generational divide in the state- every age group under 65 supports it, including a 59/28 margin with those under 30. But senior citizens are very strongly opposed, 35/57, and that makes the overall numbers pretty even.
If you expand the discussion to civil unions 77% of voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples with only 22% opposed. That 77% breaks down 39% for marriage and 38% for civil unions. Even 61% of Republicans are in favor of recognizing gay couples if civil unions are one of the options.
-56% of Nevada voters think prostitution should be legal to 32% who are opposed. Whats most interesting on this issue is that there's majority support across party lines- 65% of independents, 56% of Democrats, and 51% of Republicans think it should be legal. It is not too often these days we find an issue that Democrats and Republicans agree on and I can't say I thought this would be the one, even in Nevada.
-And finally voters in the state are almost evenly divided on the legalization of online poker. 40% support it with 42% opposed.
Full results here