POLL: Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto Neck And Neck With GOP Challenger

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Democratic Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is leading her likely 2022 opponent by only four percentage points, according to a poll released Sunday.

The poll, commissioned by the left-leaning Mellman Group for The Nevada Independent, shows Cortez Masto with 45.5% support and Republican former State Attorney General Adam Laxalt with 41.2% support.

The Mellman Group polled 600 likely Nevada voters between Sept. 15-22, and it has a margin of error of four percent. This was the first independent poll conducted for the Nevada Senate race, according to Inside Elections analyst Jacob Rubashkin.

Cortez Masto was viewed favorably by 42% of Nevadans in the poll, including 40% of Independents, and unfavorably by 37% of Nevadans. Laxalt held a 28% approval rating among Nevadans, including 22.5% of Independents, and a 31% disapproval rating. More than 20% of likely voters did not have an opinion of Cortez Masto, and more than 40% did not have an opinion of Laxalt. (RELATED: Senate Democrats Throw Cold Water On Court-Packing Bill)

Laxalt, who was attorney general of Nevada from 2015-2019, ran for governor against Democrat Steve Sisolak in 2018, losing by five percentage points. He declared his candidacy against Cortez Masto in August, taking aim at “the radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia and the media” in his announcement video.

Cortez Masto served as state attorney general before she was elected to replace retiring Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2016. She oversaw the Democrats’ recapture of the Senate in 2020 as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Nevada is considered a key swing state, with President Joe Biden winning it by only two points in 2020. Before Sisolak’s election, Republicans had held the state’s governorship since 1994. Cortez Masto won her election in 2016 against Republican Joe Heck by only 2.4%, and Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen won her 2018 election against first term Republican Sen. Dean Heller by five percent. The state’s House delegation is split three to one in favor of Democrats.