Until recently, most polls of the Nevada Senate race showed Republican Joe Heck with a small but consistent lead over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. But last week, two Democratic surveys gave Cortez Masto a small edge, though a GOP poll had Heck up 47-44. Over the last few days three more polls have dropped, and they show the contest no worse than tied for Team Blue.
A CBS/YouGov poll has the Senate contest deadlocked 39-39, while Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 46-40 in the Silver State. However, YouGov says that the undecideds in the Senate race favor Clinton 47-30, so Cortez Masto could have more room to grow. A poll from the GOP group JMC Analytics for Las Vegas’s CBS affiliate has Cortez Masto up 41-36, while Clinton leads 43-41. Very few polls have shown Cortez Masto running ahead of Clinton, but a CNN/ORC finds a similar result as JMC. Their poll has her up 52-45, while Clinton leads just 46-44 with likely voters.
It’s very possible that Trump’s problems have cost Heck some support, both from people who are now backing Clinton and from Trump voters. Like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Heck was in The Donald’s corner until the 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released. Ayotte’s decision to unendorse Trump doesn’t appear to have helped or hurt her in the polls, but Nevada Republicans may be taking their anger out on Heck. Indeed, Heck recognizes that he’s not in a great spot. On Monday, CNN released audio from a Heck fundraiser where he admitted that his “worst fear” was that Trump’s problems would depress GOP turnout.
Heck also was recorded saying of Trump, “I want to support him, I really do. But he has got to change his tone and he's got to be—I don't want to make him into a politician or make him into the same thing he is running against—but he has got to realize he is not going to win this race by appealing to the 20 percent or 30 percent of the Republican base.” With Democratic Senate candidates relentlessly tying their opponents to Trump, there’s a good chance that Heck’s “I want to support him, I really do” line will make it into an ad.
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