Poll: GOP has huge lead in Nevada special election

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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The day before voters go to the polls in Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District, a Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll shows Republican Mark Amodei leading his Democratic opponent Kate Marshall by thirteen points.

Fifty percent of likely voters in the district say they will vote for Amodei, while 37 percent say they plan to vote for Marshall. Four percent said they would vote for the independent candidate, Helmuth Lehmann, and 4 percent for the Independent American party candidate Timothy Fasano. Five percent are undecided.

Marshall, the state’s treasurer, is unpopular in her district, with 37 percent saying they have a favorable opinion of her and 50 percent saying they have an unfavorable opinion of her. On the other hand, 45 percent hold a favorable opinion of Amodei and 36 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

The figures are unsurprising. The district has gone Republican since its inception, and President Obama is also unpopular, with 59 percent saying they disapprove of his job performance and just 33 percent saying they approve. Harry Reid also has a low approval rating, with 34 percent approving and 61 percent disapproving. Republicans have worked hard to link Marshall to Obama and Reid, portraying her as a “rubber stamp” for their policies.

The National Republican Congressional Committee and American Crossroads have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the race to help spread that message and support Amodei. Democrats, on the other hand, opted not to compete.

Moreover, Marshall staked a lot of her message on her support for Medicare, attacking Amodei for wanting to end Medicare and hurt seniors. However, in the poll, 59 percent of respondents over age 65 said they would vote for Amodei, while just 34 percent said they would vote for Marshall, suggesting that her message did not resonate.

The exception to the 2nd District’s preference for Republicans is Sharron Angle. 63 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the former candidate for United States Senate, and had she been the Republican nominee in this House of Representatives race, Marshall would be in much better shape — she leads Angle with 47 percent of the vote to Angle’s 40 percent.

PPP surveyed 629 likely voters using robo-calls from September 9 through September 11. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Amodei and Marshall are running to fill the seat vacated by Dean Heller, who Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed to the Senate when former Sen. John Ensign resigned facing ethics investigations.

At the close of early voting on Friday, 15,000 more Republicans than Democrats had cast votes. The election is Tuesday.