Nevada Democrats gambled when they drew the state’s house map to favor them and a new poll suggests they may come away empty-handed. The survey, conducted by Emerson College for KLAS-TV and the Hill, finds that all of the Democrats whom Nevada sends to D.C. are at risk of being swept away by a building red wave.
In congressional redistricting after the 2020 election, Nevada Democrats sought to shore up the three congressional districts held by them in the state by shifting parts of the solidly Democratic 1st District into the more competitive 3rd and 4th Districts. Rep. Dina Titus, the Democrat who represents the 1st District, publicly voiced her displeasure with the plan, saying that she “totally got f***ed by the legislature.” The resulting map split the city of Las Vegas between the three districts, all of which would have voted for President Joe Biden by margins between 7 and 9 percentage points in the 2020 election. Only the rural 2nd District in the northern part of the state would have voted for then-President Donald Trump.
Titus continued by saying, “you read that the Republicans are using gerrymandering to cut out Democratic seats, but they didn’t have to in this state.… We did it to ourselves.” The poll shows she has good reason to worry. All three Democratic seats are within the 4.3 percent margin of error, while the Republican-held 2nd District is expected to hold firm.
Titus leads her opponent, Mark Robertson, by 4 percentage points, 41 percent to 37 percent. In Nevada’s 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Susie Lee leads April Becker 40 percent to 38 percent. Rep. Steven Horsford, who has faced a slew of negative headlines for an affair and a messy divorce, leads Republican Sam Peters 42 percent to 39 percent. In the Republican 2nd District held by Rep. Mark Amodei, the incumbent leads Democratic challenger Elizabeth Krause 46 percent to 36 percent.
In Nevada’s senatorial and gubernatorial races, the poll also finds close contests. Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto leads Republican Adam Laxalt by 3 percentage points, 44 percent to 41 percent. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak leads Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo by a similar 44 percent to 40 percent margin. However, only 40 percent of respondents said they approved of how Sisolak is handling his job, while 48 percent disapproved, suggesting that the governor may have a difficult time convincing undecided voters to back him.
Nevada voters were even less pleased with Biden’s job performance. Only one third, 33 percent, said they approved of how he was handling his position, while 57 percent disapproved. This has the potential to hamstring all of Nevada’s Democrats, since the voters who say they are undecided in how they will vote overwhelmingly give the president negative marks.
In a hypothetical 2024 matchup, both Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lead Biden. Trump would defeat the incumbent 43 percent to 40 percent, while DeSantis would win by a slightly larger margin, 43 percent to 38 percent. Both Trump and DeSantis lead with Hispanic voters and independent voters, although Trump does better with Hispanics and DeSantis does better with independents. Nevada voted for Biden and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by about 2 percentage points each.
In Las Vegas, risky wagers are made every day. For Nevada’s Democrats, though, the consequences of rolling snake eyes are unusually high.
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