Every PPP poll of the Nevada Senate race tells pretty much the same story- an extremely close race with Dean Heller ever so slightly ahead. It's a 44-43 lead this month for Heller over Democratic opponent Shelley Berkley. Heller has been between 44 and 46% on all 4 PPP polls of this race over the last year. Berkley has been between 43 and 45% on every poll within the same time period. Heller now has an average lead of 1.75 points over the course of PPP's surveys in the last year.
Voters are closely divided in their feelings about both Heller and Berkley. 36% of voters approve of the job Heller is doing to 39% who disapprove. Heller's statewide favorability rating in January of 2011, before he was appointed to the Senate, was 46/23. The early promotion seems to have done more harm to his image in the state than help. 38% of voters have a favorable opinion of Berkley to 37% with an unfavorable one. That's an improvement for her compared to PPP's late March survey of the race, which found her at a 33/40 spread.
Heller's slightly ahead for two main reasons. He has a 45-38 advantage with independents, and he's winning over 18% of Democrats while Berkley's getting just 16% of Republicans. That's an unusual amount of crossover support for both the candidates. One thing that may be reassuring for Berkley is that she's up only 49-40 with Hispanics and 57-23 with African Americans at this point. She seems likely to improve significantly on both those numbers by the time November comes around. Hard to classify this one as anything but a toss up.
Brian Sandoval might wish he could go ahead and run for reelection this year.
We tested Sandoval in hypothetical match ups against Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller. He leads Cortez Masto by 18 points, 51-33, and has a 22 point advantage over Miller at 50-28. Cortez Masto (47% name recognition) and Miller (36%) are relatively unknown to voters in the state. 2014 is a long ways off and it's impossible to say what the political climate or Sandoval's popularity will look like by then, but for now he's in a strong position.
Full results here