Poll: Democrat Cortez Masto Clinging to Single-Point Lead in Race for Nevada Senate

With early voting well underway in Nevada, Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto holds a narrow lead in the pivotal midterm US Senate race on the strength of support from early voters, people of color, and union households. This support so far offsets Republican Adam Laxalt’s strong command among rural counties and independents, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY network poll of likely midterm election voters in the Silver State.

Cortez Masto (45%) leads Laxalt (44%) by one point, which is among a handful of closely watched races that could decide the balance of power in the Senate. Libertarian Neil Scott, independent Barry Lindemann, and Independent American Party candidate Barry Rubinson combined to receive 4%, while 3% chose the Nevada ballot option “none of these candidates,” and 5% were undecided.

In early October, Cortez Masto led Laxalt 46%-44%, and she has fluctuated between 45%-46% in the last three consecutive ballot tests.

“Adam Laxalt is crushing Cortez Masto in the 14 rural counties plus Carson City,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “However, she is winning Nevada’s largest county, Clark, by enough to offset her rural setbacks in central Nevada.”

Laxalt is winning the central region 67%-22%, but trails Cortez Masto 49%-40% in Clark County, as well as among Black (72%-17%) and Hispanic voters (48%-38%), union households (53%-38%), and among those who have already voted (52%-39%). This is the first midterm election in which ballots are mailed to all Nevada registered voters.

Laxalt is widening his lead among independents 43%-30%, with the three independents on the ballot receiving a combined 12%, while “none of these candidates” garnered 4%, and a very high 11% of independents are still undecided. In the early October poll, Laxalt led among independents 40%-36%.

In Nevada’s swing district, Washoe County, Cortez Masto leads 46%-43%, slightly less than her 48%-43% lead in early October.

Governor’s race a dead heat

Republican Joe Lombardo (43%) is tied with Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak (43%), followed by Independent American Party candidate Ed Bridges (3%) and Libertarian Brandon Davis (2%). Four percent of those surveyed said “none of these candidates” and 6% of voters were still undecided. In early July, Lombardo led by one point, also within the margin of error.

Nevada voters growing more pessimistic on economy

Confidence in the local economy among voters continues to wane. Currently, 48% of likely voters rate the Nevada economy as “poor,” up significantly from 38% just a few weeks ago.


The statewide survey of 500 Nevada likely voters was conducted October 24-28 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 US Senate. Each area’s quota and demographic information—including party affiliation, education, race, and age—was determined from current voter registration, 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. 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]