Suffolk Poll Shows Nevada Voters Signaling Shift to GOP

State economy woes, rising inflation, and dissatisfaction with Biden hurting Democratic incumbents in battleground state

A Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal poll of likely midterm voters shows Republicans are leading in both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, signaling a shift rightward in voter sentiment.

In the U.S. Senate race, the Democratic incumbent, Catherine Cortez Masto, narrowly trails both Republicans vying for the seat, Republican Adam Laxalt 40%-43%, and Republican Sam Brown 39%-40%. The seat, which if lost by Masto in November, could threaten Democratic control of the Senate and President Biden’s agenda.

Nevada Race for U.S. Senate

Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal Poll April 2022

In the governor’s race, the Democratic incumbent, Steve Sisolak, led Republicans Guy Nohra (41%-29%) and Joey Gilbert (39%-35%), but trailed Republicans Joe Lombardo (37%-39%) and John Lee (37%-40%). Sisolak was tied with Republican Dean Heller 39%-39%. In all five ballot tests Sisolak tallied at or below 41%.

Nevada Gubernatorial Race

Suffolk University/Reno Gazette Journal Poll April 2022

Both races’ survey results are within the margin of error.

Nevada’s voters are anything but apathetic heading into the midterm elections. Nearly eight in 10 voters (78%) say they are extremely or very interested in the U.S. Senate race. 

“Because they are established brands, when an incumbent polls under 50%, he or she is deemed vulnerable,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Moreover, when incumbents poll at or below 40% it is much worse, because it is very difficult to convince undecideds to vote for you when they remain undecided despite telling us that they are very interested in voting in this election.”

A bleak outlook by voters on the Nevada economy is a chief cause of voter discontent. More than seven in 10 (72%) rated economic conditions in Nevada as fair or poor, while just 25% indicated they are excellent or good. 

And by a two-to-one margin, 40% of midterm voters say their standard of living is worse than it was four years ago, while 20% indicated better and 40% say it has stayed the same. Asked to choose from a list of the most important issues facing Nevada this year, over 25% indicated inflation, followed by jobs/economy (15%), Russia/Ukraine war (10%), climate change (10%), schools/education (9%), affordable housing (8%), and crime/guns (8%).

Biden is struggling among voters who propelled him to victory in November 2020. Just 35% approve of the job he is doing as president, while 59% disapprove. Nearly half of voters (47%) want their vote this November to change the direction Biden is leading the nation, while 27% say they want their vote to support Biden’s direction. Twenty-one percent say that their vote this November doesn’t have much to do with Biden and his policies.


The statewide survey of 500 Nevada likely voters was conducted April 2-6 using live telephone interviews of households where respondents indicated they were very or somewhat likely to vote in the November 2022 general election for governor and U.S. Senate. Each area’s quota and demographic information — including party affiliation, education, race and age — was determined from midterm exit polls and 2020 census data. The 16 Nevada counties as well as Carson City were grouped into three general regions. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is +/-4.4 percentage points. Suffolk University poll student Mikaela Linder contributed questions to this survey as part of her independent study. 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, [email protected].


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