Suffolk University/Reno Gazette-Journal Poll Shows Nevada’s U.S. Senate and Governor’s Races Too Close to Call

68 percent want enforcement of gun background checks & 61 percent say keep legal brothels

A Suffolk University/Reno Gazette-Journal poll of likely midterm voters in Nevada shows both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races too close to call.

In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Dean Heller (41 percent), the incumbent, leads Democratic Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (40 percent) by 1 point, well within the poll’s margin of error. Libertarian Tim Hagan is favored by 2 percent and independents Kamau Bakari and Barry Michaels trail with less than 2 percent. Five percent respond “none of these candidates,” a Nevada ballot option, and 9 percent are undecided.

In the governor’s race, Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt (42 percent) leads Democrat Steve Sisolak (41 percent), with third-party candidates Russell Best, Ryan Bundy and Jared Lord each hovering in the area of 2 percent. Four percent respond “none of these candidates,” and 7 percent are undecided.

This is the first public poll listing all candidates certified for the Nevada ballot.

“With Democratic and Republican voters deadlocked, the outcome of these elections rests with the least connected voters,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “The people who can swing this election are third-party voters, undecideds and those who are saying today that they will go to the polls and select ‘none of these candidates.’”

In the 2016 presidential election 2.56 percent (28,863 voters) chose “none of these candidates” despite having five choices for president listed on the Nevada ballot. The “none of these candidates” vote total exceeded the margin between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Views of Trump

Voters are split on President Trump’s job performance (48 percent disapprove–47 percent approve), while 48 percent say that Trump has kept his promises to Nevada, and 39 percent say he has not.

Gun background checks & brothels

Nevada voters believe the next governor should move to enforce universal gun background checks, which were first approved by Nevada voters in 2016. By a better than 3-to-1 margin (68 percent to 22 percent) voters support this, with 10 percent undecided.

By a better than 2-to-1 margin (61 percent to 29 percent), voters said that legalized prostitution in brothels should not be prohibited. Nevada state law now allows prostitution in licensed brothels located in counties with fewer than 400,000 residents.


In the 2010 Nevada midterm, which also included gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, the Suffolk poll was the only poll that predicted Democrat Harry Reid would prevail over Republican Sharron Angle, among the final nine public polls taken that year. In the governor’s race, the final Suffolk poll predicted an 11-point win for Republican Brian Sandoval over Democrat Rory Reid. Sandoval won by 11.8 points, according to the Nevada Secretary of State.


The statewide survey of 500 Nevada likely voters was conducted July 25–July 29. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent 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,

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