Poll: Berkley, Heller Tied in Nevada Senate Race

Poll: Berkley, Heller Tied in Nevada Senate Race

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - December 23, 2011

Nevada Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley and Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller are locked in a statistical tie in one of the most hotly contested and critical Senate contests of 2012, according to a new poll.

Berkley, a seven-term Las Vegas lawmaker representing the state's 1st Congressional District, edges Heller, 44 percent to 43 percent, among registered voters, a Las Vegas Review-Journal/8NewsNow survey shows. The lead is within the poll's margin of error but delivers good news for Democrats hoping to power an upset against Heller, a former congressman tapped by GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval in May to replace John Ensign, who resigned his Senate post earlier this year amid an ethics investigation. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray touted Berkley's recruitment at a press conference this month.

Both candidates attract about three-quarters of the support from their respective bases, but 14 percent of Republicans say they back Berkley while 11 percent of Democrats are throwing their weight behind Heller. Despite losing some of his base to his opponent, Heller leads by 50 percent to 36 percent among independents, a coveted constituency in this contest.

Berkley leads by 50 percent to 37 percent in Clark County, a highly populated area that includes Las Vegas and parts of her congressional district. Heller leads the Democrat, 56 percent to 32 percent, in the rest of the state.

For this poll, the Cannon Survey Center at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas surveyed 600 registered voters Dec. 12-20. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

RealClearPolitics rates this race as a tossup. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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