The 2024 Election Could Hinge On The ‘Silver State’ Turning Red

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Former President Donald Trump has led President Joe Biden in nearly every poll this cycle in Nevada — a state that hasn’t gone Republican in 20 years. A Nevada victory would net Trump six electoral votes in November, a margin that could prove decisive in handing the former president a second term.

Trump boasts his largest lead of any battleground state in Nevada, where he is currently ahead by 6.2 points, while Biden has only led in three polls there all cycle, according to the RealClearPolitics (RCP) averages. Several political operatives and pollsters told the Daily Caller News Foundation that Trump’s leads in Nevada are likely attributable to the poor economic conditions in the state, as well as Hispanic voters shifting toward the GOP. (RELATED: Biden Is Running Out Of Time To Boost Dismal Poll Numbers In Crucial Battleground States)

“The Nevada results are really striking. I think the big issue for President Biden there is the economy,” Jon McHenry, GOP polling analyst and vice president at North Star Opinion Research, told the DCNF. “Hispanic voters are around 20% of the electorate in Nevada, and there is no practical way Joe Biden can lose among Hispanic voters and still win the state.”

Nevada’s economy depends heavily on the tourism industry, and is still recovering from the pandemic-era shutdowns. The battleground state holds one of the country’s worst unemployment rates, and has some of the highest gas and grocery; home prices in Nevada also continue to rise after hitting a record in 2022.

“Nevada always is hit the hardest — when America’s economy gets a cold, Nevada gets the flu. And so I don’t doubt that voters in Nevada are very grumpy and upset about the economy in Nevada right now,” Kristian Ramos, a Democratic political operative with years of experience working in Nevada, told the DCNF. “Joe Biden has an opportunity to tell his story about how he’s helped provide people with tools to create a better life in the state with Latino voters. I think he has a lot of room to grow given where he is in the polls. I don’t know that I can say the same thing about Donald Trump.”

A New York Times/Siena College survey released Monday found Trump 12 points ahead of Biden among registered voters in Nevada, with 13% remaining undecided. However, a plurality of Hispanic voters at 22% named the economy as their “main reason” for casting a ballot in November. The demographic also overwhelmingly trusts Trump to handle the economy over Biden at 70% to 24%, respectively.

Nevada is home to roughly 353,000 Latino voters, and are more likely to be registered as a Democrat than a Republican, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. CNN exit polling for the Silver State shows Biden won the demographic by 26 points against Trump in 2020.

Ramos said that Biden “has to close the margin on the economy” with Latinos to win the Silver State.

Jeremy Hughes, a Republican strategist based in Nevada who worked on the Trump campaign in 2020, also told the DCNF that Hispanic voters are coming around to the former president due to the local economic factors.

“I think some of them are seeing the, ‘oh, these guys were right.’ We told them how great President Trump was on the economy, and now they’re seeing it,” said Hughes. “Like they’re seeing President Biden, how terrible he is, and they’re just [juxtaposing] that to Trump on the economy, and they’re getting a total total view of how it would be with either one of them as president, and they’re picking Donald Trump.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 19: US President Joe Biden speaks at Stupak Community Center. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)

Jim DeGraffenreid, national committeeman for the state GOP, argued the polling trend likely also stems from immigration being a top issue to Nevadans.

Immigration placed second at 10% behind only the economy when Nevadans were asked which “issue is most important in deciding your vote this November” in the NYT/Siena College poll. Other polling has shown Trump also leading Biden by double digits when voters are asked who they trust more to handle the issue.

DeGraffenreid also added that “we are slowly but surely closing the voter registration gap that the Democrats have enjoyed.”

Democrats currently have roughly 54,000 more registered voters in Nevada than Republicans do compared to the 109,000-voter gap in November 2020, according to the Secretary of State’s website. The state has also seen an increase in nonpartisan and third-party voter registration.

Karoline Leavitt, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, attributed success in Nevada to Biden’s record in a statement to the DCNF.

“Joe Biden’s campaign is failing because his terrible policies are failing our country, and no amount of money, staff, or fake ads can make up for the damage that Biden has done over the past four years,” said Leavitt. “While Biden refuses to commit to a debate to defend his horrible record, President Trump continues to crush him in every poll, and Team Trump is building a robust ground operation to bring our winning message of making America strong, safe, and prosperous again to Nevada and every corner of our country.”

“All across America, millions of people in so-called ‘Blue States’ are joining our movement based on LOVE, INTELLIGENCE, and, above all, COMMON SENSE,” Trump said in a statement.

Biden hasn’t led in the RCP average nationally since September 2023. Trump also leads anywhere from 0.6 to 5.4 points in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

“Thinking ahead to November, there are probably too many twists and turns to make a good prediction, but it certainly looks good for Donald Trump now, both in Nevada and nationally,” said McHenry.

Conversely, Amy Tarkanian, former chair of the Nevada Republican Party, told the DCNF that she doesn’t see how Trump could win in November given his previous losses in the state.

“He didn’t lose Nevada once, he lost twice,” said Tarkanian. “People are just upset and disappointed with the Biden administration. But once again, when it’s time to go in and make that decision, I just don’t see enough people saying, ‘oh, you know, I’m gonna vote for Trump.’ I just don’t see it happening.”

Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the 2016 Nevada election by 47.9% to 45.5%, and the former president lost the state to Biden by less than 34,000 votes last cycle. Clinton led in the RCP average for a majority of the 2016 election, while Biden was ahead of Trump for the entire cycle.

Former Republican President George W. Bush was the last Republican to win Nevada when he beat Democrat John Kerry by 50.5% to 47.9% in 2004.

Tarkanian also believes independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could hurt Trump in the state, which currently has 877,000 registered Independent American Party, nonpartisan and libertarian voters compared to 619,000 in November 2020

However, the RCP average suggests that Trump’s lead grows to 8.8 points in Nevada when Kennedy and other third-party candidates are included.

Biden’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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