Republican Senator Dean Heller’s approval rating – 20 points underwater, significantly worse than Trump’s – could be “fatal” next year and shows he’s in trouble. Adam Laxalt, the most partisan Attorney General in Nevada history who’s now ensnared in an ethics scandal with his top campaign donor, continues to be unknown and vulnerable in a general election.
BY JON RALSTON
MARCH 10TH, 2017 – 1:36PM
Nevada Democrats, who have no candidates yet for the state’s top two races next cycle, will take heart in new polling on Sen. Dean Heller and Attorney General Adam Laxalt, the presumed GOP candidate for governor.
The survey, conducted by the progressive group Project New America, shows that Heller is even more unpopular than President Trump in Nevada — something our Independent Poll also indicated in January — and that Laxalt is still a relatively amorphous political quantity. Republicans will argue that the survey was conducted for the other side (and The Indy poll also was done by a Democrat). Myers Research is a Democratic firm. But the results don’t seem out of line with what’s happening.
Heller’s job rating is 33-53 (excellent-good/fair-poor), which will be fatal if that’s what it looks like next year, and if the Democrats find a quality candidate (or maybe one with a pulse if the numbers are THAT bad.) President Trump is at 42-50, which also won’t be helpful to Heller if it sticks.
(By the way, some pollsters prefer favorable/unfavorable and think “fair” is a more neutral than negative term.)
The Indy poll found Heller’s numbers at 29-40, so he is unhealthy in two successive polls. (Trump was at 32-41).
The Laxalt findings indicate only 56 percent of voters know him, which will give Democrats sustenance. But even though they may be happy voters generally are neutral on the attorney general, he is not viewed overwhelmingly negatively in Clark County.
And from the polling memo:
Findings from our recent focus groups demonstrate that Laxalt has little top-of-mind connection among this electorate, yet among those who do know him impressions are generally poor. Some view him as a typical politician and insider, openly expressing that he is the status quo candidate as he is the Republican establishment’s pick. Others who recognize him resent his political posturing and allegiance with President Trump, while some even mention that he differed at key times with Governor Sandoval.
So what does this all mean?
- The Democrats don’t have candidates, but want everyone to know they have hope.
- Heller is in big trouble, if you believe these polls, and even a mediocre candidate might have a chance if the atmosphere remains toxic. His enduring resilience cannot be underestimated, though.
- Laxalt will win a GOP primary against almost anyone, all other things being equal. But he is not invulnerable in a general.
Oh, one more thing: It’s March 10, 2017!
By Michael McAuliff , Laura Barron-Lopez
03/10/2017 07:39 am ET
A survey her group commissioned with Myers Research delved into Nevada, where Republican Sen. Dean Heller faces a battle for re-election in 2018. First, the poll found Trump’s approval ratings are under water, at 42 percent positive versus 50 percent negative. Heller comes out even worse, at just 33 percent favorable and 53 percent unfavorable.
Rebecca Lambe, the senior Democratic strategist widely credited with engineering electoral success in Nevada under former Sen. Harry Reid, said the problem for Heller is that while voters still see Trump as someone they sent to Washington to shake up the system, Heller is part of that system.
“Nevada voters will not be giving Dean Heller that same benefit of the doubt they are offering to Trump, as they still see him as part of the problem in Washington,” Lambe said.
Hanauer pointed to findings from the survey that suggest voters will give Heller even less love if he helps carry out the repeal bid, especially if the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is replaced by the proposal currently moving through the House of Representatives.
“Overwhelmingly, Nevada voters are supportive of the specific components of the ACA, with as many as 9-in-10 saying that any replacement should not turn back the clock on coverage and put insurance companies in charge again,” the analysis accompanying the polling data says.