Suffolk U. Poll Shows Harry Reid with 3 Point Lead in Tight Nevada Senate Race

With three weeks left in the 2010 election cycle, Democratic incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (46 percent) leads Republican Sharron Angle (43 percent) by 3 points in the Nevada race for U.S. Senator, according to the latest Suffolk University poll. The race is within the statistical margin of error. Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian has 2 percent, and just 3 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Forty-five percent of likely voters said that Republican Sharron Angle better represents the Tea Party message compared to the 13 percent who said Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian best represented that message. Another 42 percent were undecided. Furthermore, when asked if Ashjian is in the race to help split the votes in favor of Harry Reid, 28 percent of likely voters agreed with the statement, while 26 percent disagreed saying Ashjian is a true Tea Party candidate, and 46 percent remained undecided.

“Harry Reid is hanging on by a thread,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. “Both the Republican and Tea Party nominees are listed side by side on the Nevada ballot and, ironically, the difference in the race could be the handful of points secured by the Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian, at the expense of Republican Sharron Angle.”

The Nevada ballot for U.S. Senate includes eight candidates listed alphabetically as well as the “none of these candidates” ballot option, which garnered 4 percent in the poll.

In the 2010 June Republican Primary, the Suffolk University statewide survey released June 2 was the first to predict that Sharron Angle would defeat front-runner Sue Lowden, and businessman Danny Tarkanian. Suffolk’s poll recorded the Angle momentum generated late in the Nevada Republican Primary. She went on to win by double digits on June 8.

Meanwhile, in the race for governor, Republican Brian Sandoval (50 percent) comfortably leads Democrat Rory Reid (39 percent) by 11 points. Green Party candidate David Scott Curtis and Independent candidate Eugene “Gino” DiSimone both have 1 percent, while 3 percent said they will vote for none of the seven candidates listed for governor. There are only 5 percent of likely voters still undecided.

Hillary Clinton (62 percent favorable – 29 percent unfavorable) is the most popular politician of the six public figures polled. This mirrors findings in the Suffolk University polls of Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio likely voters in the last three weeks. President Barack Obama scored a 52 percent favorable – 46 percent unfavorable rating in Nevada.

In the race for lieutenant governor, incumbent Republican Brian Krolicki (42 percent) led Democrat Jessica Sferrazza (30 percent). For secretary of state, incumbent Democrat Ross Miller (40 percent) led his Republican challenger Rob Lauer (24 percent) by 16 points. In the race for state treasurer, Republican Steven Martin (38 percent) edged incumbent Democrat Kate Marshall (33 percent). Finally, in the race for state controller, incumbent Democrat Kim Wallin (31 percent) led Republican Barry Herr (26 percent) although 32 percent were undecided. Unlike the U.S. Senate and governor races, which had a low amount of undecideds, all of the constitutional offices had undecided counts ranging from 19 percent to 32 percent signaling that the last two weeks of advertising could swing the outcomes.

When asked to think about their local congressional races, 47 percent of likely voters said they would vote Democrat, while 43 percent said they would vote Republican, and 9 percent said they were undecided.
Few believe that the recession is over in Nevada. Only 5 percent indicate it is, while 92 percent say it’s not over. And when likely voters were asked if the job situation will improve in the next six months, only 33 percent indicated yes, while 60 percent said no.

Current issues in Nevada that were polled included marriage equality for same-sex couples, of which 25 percent of likely voters stated they favor absolute prohibition of any legally recognized union, while 20 percent said it should remain as it currently is, with domestic partnerships receiving some but not all the legal benefits of marriage, and 21 percent of likely voters saying the law should be changed so that domestic partnerships receive all the same legal benefits of marriage. Thirty percent of likely voters in Nevada said same-sex couples should be able to legally marry.

In the bellwether of Nye County, Angle bested Harry Reid by 1 point, 41-40 percent, while Sandoval led by 15 points, 50-35 percent. In November, 2006, Nye County was within 2.5 points of the winners’ statewide numbers in both the gubernatorial race and U.S. senatorial races.


The statewide survey of 500 Nevada likely voters was conducted Oct. 8-11, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The Nye County bellwether included 300 likely voters polled 10/10-10/11. Bellwethers are designed to predict outcomes, not margins. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted Wednesday Oct. 13 at 1p.m. EST on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.