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Latest poll has down-ballot Republicans with small lead in Nevada

Michele Fiore

Michele Fiore

Much of this election season has focused on the top of the ballot.

That’s because Nevada’s Senate and congressional races could decide the balance of power in Washington for years to come.  

Closer to home, voters are also slated to select who will represent them across state and local government, and recent polling conducted by O-H Predictions and The Nevada Independent show Republicans with strong leads in the down-ballot races.  

Sean Golonka is a reporter with The Nevada Independent who has delved into these numbers, and he joins State of Nevada's Paul Boger with Hugh Jackson, the editor of the Nevada Current.  

The top sheet of recent polling shows Republicans with a slight lead in those top ballot races, with respondents favoring Adam Laxalt over Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, about 45 to 43% in the Senate race, and Governor Steve Sisolak trailing Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, 45 to 42%. 

Statewide races lean Republican all the way down the ballot.

“I think these really small, tight margins between these two candidates, they fall within the poll's margin of error. They basically indicate a toss-up race, that this is something that could go either way, especially when you have a small percentage of voters but still a sizable amount in terms of what could swing the election in a tight race that are undecided,” Golonka said. 

He said while Republicans have been polling better, it’ll come down to election day.

This poll also looked at how Nevadans are feeling about the issues. We've heard time and again, throughout this election cycle that the economy and concerns about inflation are top of mind, and it's hard to deny that when you go to the grocery store. What about the other issues?

“I still think the economy is definitely a top issue there. I think education is probably the second most if, in terms of just this polling, obviously, in other polls, we've seen abortion playing a key role. But it really depends on the demographics here,” Golonka said.

Abortion may be more motivating for women voters and voters in the suburbs, for example. 

Last week, Jackson published an op-ed lambasting some of the lower-ticket Republicans, in particular Jim Marchant, who is running for Secretary of State, Michele Fiore, running for treasurer and Sigal Chattah, running for attorney general.

“If Chattah, Fiore, and Marchant were only guilty of being bungling office-shoppers looking for public attention and a government paycheck, that would be unfortunate, but not all that unusual. But they’re not just woefully unqualified to adequately perform the duties of the offices they’re seeking. Their qualities, records and beliefs reflect a disdain for, and even a hostility to, those duties being properly and effectively performed. It’s not just that they can’t do the jobs. They don’t even want to.”

Jackson pointed to an ad from Fiore’s competitor, incumbent Zach Conine that says “just Google her.” 

“Yeah, do that,” he said. “Fiore’s been crafting a brand that is kind of a wild person on the fringe of politics for a long, long time. It's her schtick, it's who she is. It's part of her appeal to at least a certain segment of the base voters.”

Fiore’s running for an office “in charge of paying the state’s bills and collecting the state’s money, things like that,” but, Jackson said, “She has a long, long history of financial shenanigans.”

Marchant is a supporter of the Big Lie that the 2020 election was affected by voter fraud, even though no substantial evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found. The Nevada Legislature is the only entity that can change election laws in the state.

“The Secretary of State's office historically, in all states, really has been effectively a nonpartisan, straight shooting, upright office,” Jackson said. “I've come over the years to rely on the Secretary of State's office for reliable information, and just nonpartisan effective administration of elections. Marchant is absolutely opposed to that.”

Sean Golonka, reporter, The Nevada Independent;  Hugh Jackson, editor, The Nevada Current 

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Paul serves as KNPR's producer and reporter in Northern Nevada. Based in Reno, Paul specializes in covering state government and the legislature.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She curates content on, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.