Poll: Republican Laxalt surging against Democratic Sen. Cortez Masto in Nevada battleground

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A new public opinion survey in the crucial western swing state of Nevada points to a surge in support by Republican Senate nominee Adam Laxalt with just under four weeks to go until Election Day.

According to a Suffolk University poll for USA TODAY that was released on Wednesday, the former state attorney general trails Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by just two points 46%-44% among likely voters in Nevada. That’s down from a seven-point lead for the Democratic incumbent in the previous USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in the Silver State, which was conducted in August. 

Laxalt has gained ground after his campaign and allied Republican groups have blasted Cortez Masto over the economy and inflation, and thanks in part to an increase in support among Hispanic voters.

According to the poll, the negative ads against Cortez Masto have driven up her unfavorable ratings, and her lead among Hispanics has shrunk from 18 points in August to seven points now.

WHAT A NEW POLL IN BATTLEGROUND NEVADA SHOWS IN THE SENATE RACE

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens as Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland testifies during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., listens as Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland testifies during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the Department of the Interior budget on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Suffolk University Political Research Center director David Paleologos noted that Laxalt’s economic message may be resonating with Latino voters, as he pointed out that” 48% of Hispanics named the economy/inflation as the number one issue, higher than whites (43%) and Blacks (23%).”

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The Iraq War veteran and grandson of the late Nevada governor and senator Paul Laxalt, and Cortez Masto, a former two-term state attorney general who made history in 2016 as the first Latina elected to the Senate, are facing off in a race that’s among a handful across the country that will likely determine if the GOP wins back the chamber’s majority in November’s midterm elections.

Nevada Republican Sente nominee Adam Laxalt greets former President Donald Trump on stage during a campaign rally at Minden-Tahoe Airport on October 08, 2022 in Minden, Nevada.  

Nevada Republican Sente nominee Adam Laxalt greets former President Donald Trump on stage during a campaign rally at Minden-Tahoe Airport on October 08, 2022 in Minden, Nevada.  
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Until the new Suffolk University poll Laxalt held the edge over Cortez Masto in seven previous surveys. And an average of all the latest polls in the race compiled by Real Clear Politics indicates the GOP challenger with a 1.7-point edge over the Democratic incumbent.

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The new poll, conducted by telephone Oct. 4-7, also indicates a tight race for Nevada governor, with Republican nominee Joe Lombardo, the Clark County sheriff, at 44% and Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak at 43%.

The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 points.

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