Poll shows tight races for Senate, governor
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The first independent poll released since Nevada’s Aug. 15 primary election found dead heats in both the U.S. Senate and governor’s races.
The poll, commissioned by The Wall Street Journal and conducted by Zogby Interactive, found Democratic state Sen. Dina Titus ahead of Republican Jim Gibbons, 47 percent to 44 percent, in their race for governor. Democratic Senate candidate Jack Carter was trailing incumbent Republican Sen. John Ensign by 3 percentage points, 48 percent to 45 percent. Both results were within the poll’s 4.3 percentage point margin of error.
The poll of 540 likely Nevada voters was conducted between Aug. 15 and Aug. 21.
Zogby spokesman Fritz Wenzel said the results are evidence that both parties are rallying around their nominees.
“The winners (of the primary) have gotten a significant bump as the supporters in their parties have coalesced behind them,” he said. “This is not uncommon in races that are competitive where there’s a desire for the party to win.”
Zogby’s results put both races much closer than virtually any pre-primary poll showed. For example, a poll commissioned by the Review-Journal just before the primary put Gibbons ahead of Titus, 46 percent to 35 percent. And it put Ensign ahead of Carter by 54 percent to 33 percent.
Wenzel said such a post-primary surge is likely to subside by the time another poll is taken. Right now, poll respondents are reacting primarily to party affiliation and probably know relatively little about the differences between the individual candidates, but that will change and the numbers will change with it, he said.
Zogby Interactive’s methodology has been questioned because the firm conducts polls such as this one by e-mail. Respondents are randomly selected from a prescreened pool of likely voters’ e-mail addresses and answer the poll on a secure server that allows them to vote only once. Results are then weighted according to traditional statistical methods.
Wenzel said the polls have a proven track record compared to simultaneous telephone polls and to election results.