A new Suffolk University poll of Nevada voters shows a statistical dead heat in the presidential race, with Democrat Hillary Clinton leading Republican Donald Trump 44 percent to 42 percent.

Clinton’s strong suit appears to be Las Vegas.

“Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, accounts for nearly 70 percent of the statewide vote, and Hillary Clinton’s lead there is the reason she is winning the state,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “In this instance, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas—it affects the whole state.”

Clinton’s 13-point Clark County lead countered a 3-point deficit in Washoe county and a 46-point deficit in the smaller counties of central Nevada.

Suffolk University replicated the Nevada ballot by excluding Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who was not officially certified. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson was the choice of 5 percent of voters; Darrell Castle of the Independent American Party, 1 percent, Rocky De La Fuente, 1 percent; the Nevada ballot option “none of these candidates,” 3 percent. Five percent were undecided.

A great nation

Seventy-three percent of likely Nevada voters said that they think America is great, a perception shared among many demographics. Among registered Democrats, 85 percent said that America is great, and 66 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents agreed.

“The significant majority of Nevadans expressing pride in their nation calls into question the effectiveness of the Trump campaign slogan that says we need to make America great again,” said Paleologos.

Both Clinton and Trump struggle with trustworthiness among likely Nevada voters. Asked if they think Clinton is honest and trustworthy 38 percent said yes and 55 percent said no. Trump was viewed as honest and trustworthy by 38 percent of likely voters, while 52 percent disagreed.

Issues of concern

Nevada voters said that the number one issue facing the next president is jobs/economy (26 percent), followed by terrorism and national security (20 percent), choosing Supreme Court nominees (11 percent), health care and illegal immigration (tied at 7 percent), and reducing the national debt (5 percent). When voters were asked if they feel more or less safe living in America than they did five to 10 years ago, 53 percent said less safe, 15 percent more safe, and 29 percent indicated no change.

Ballot questions

Voters support a Nevada referendum question requiring background checks for guns (61 percent–26 percent); are split on legalizing marijuana (48 percent support–43 percent oppose), and overwhelmingly support energy deregulation (70 percent support–12 percent oppose).

U.S. Senate

In the fight to succeed Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Republican Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto were tied at 37 percent, followed by independents Tony Gumina, Tom Jones, and Thomas Sawyer, with 1 percent each. More than 6 percent indicated “none of these candidates” and 14 percent were undecided.

History

Among the nine polls taken within three weeks of the 2010 Senate general election in Nevada, only the Suffolk University poll predicted a win for Sen. Harry Reid, according to the website RealClearPolitics. The other eight polls had Republican Sharon Angle winning. The Suffolk poll predicted a 3-point Reid win, and he won by 5.6 percent.

In the 2012 presidential election, the final Suffolk poll in Nevada predicted a 2-point lead for Barack Obama, who ended up winning by 6.7 percent over Republican Mitt Romney.

Methodology

The Nevada survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Aug. 15-17 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the 2016 general election. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.