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Poll: Incumbent senator continues to lead Carter

RENO (AP) – Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., continues to hold a double-digit lead over Democrat Jack Carter, according to a statewide poll released Sunday.

The poll conducted for the Reno Gazette-Journal and KRNV-TV last week found Republican Dean Heller had 48 percent to Democrat Jill Derby’s 40 percent in the race for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

Republicans hold a 48,000 voter registration edge in the sprawling district, where 12 percent of respondents said they were still undecided.

Ensign, who’s seeking a second term, leads Carter, son of the former president, 55 percent to 41 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

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The telephone poll of 600 likely voters was conducted Oct. 23 through Wednesday by Research 2000 of Washington, D.C. It has a four-point margin of error either way.

The poll shows rural Nevada remains a Republican stronghold, said Michael Slanker of Las Vegas, Ensign’s campaign manager and Heller’s campaign spokesman.

Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District covers most of the state except for the Las Vegas area. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Jim Gibbons, who’s running for governor.

“Rural Nevada will be there for Dean Heller and John Ensign, as they were for John Ensign six years ago and as they were for Jim Gibbons cycle after cycle,” Slanker said.

“That is conservative country, and our guys will be fine there. Unfortunately for the Derby campaign, if they are counting on places like Elko, Ely and Winnemucca to bring them across the finish line, they are mistaken,” he said.

Derby questions the latest poll results, said spokeswoman Jennifer Crowe, citing a Derby campaign poll conducted by the Mellman Group of Washington, D.C., and released Oct. 23 that showed Derby and Heller at 40 percent each.

“This poll is inconsistent with every other poll out there,” Crowe said. “There is not another poll out there that has been done in the last month that shows this kind of spread. I don’t think the poll is reflective of what is happening in the district.”

Carter also questioned the latest poll.

“This is not what we are seeing out there on the street, and we are out there campaigning all the time,” Carter said. “Again, that is anecdotal evidence, but I’m sure we’ll be much closer than that.”

The last poll conducted for the Gazette-Journal and KRNV, released Sept. 15, found Ensign leading Carter 56 percent to 35 percent, with 9 percent undecided.

That same poll also found Heller had 45 percent to Derby’s 37 percent, with 18 percent undecided.


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