-PPP's newest Nevada Senate poll continues to find a very close race: Dean Heller leads with 47% to 45% for Shelley Berkley. A small lead for Heller is consistent with what PPP's found over the last year in this contest- our three previous polls found him with a 1 point lead, a 3 point lead, and a tie.
Heller's lead comes largely thanks to a 50-37 advantage with independent voters. He's also benefiting from a more unified party base, as 86% of Republicans are committed to voting for him compared to 81% of Democrats who are with Berkley.
Nevadans are evenly split in their feelings about Heller's job performance with 42% both approving and disapproving of him. Berkley's favorability is slightly under water with 42% rating her positively and 45% holding a negative opinion of her. That's down a net 4 points from June, but on the whole her recent publicity doesn't seem to be hurting her that badly.
More voters- 43%- consider her to be ethical than the 39% who think she's unethical. Overall 42% of voters think Heller's the more ethical candidate in the race to 37% for Berkley, a much more narrow gap than you might expect given what's been in the news lately. Berkley may be benefiting from voters setting the bar pretty low when it comes to politicians and ethics- just 21% of voters think the average one is ethical to 63% who do not.
This still looks like a very close race with just a modest advantage to Heller.
Other notes from Nevada:
-47% of Nevada voters think gay marriage should be legal to 42% who think it should be illegal. That's up from a 45/43 spread the last time PPP polled on the issue in late March. Black voters now narrowly support it, 47/41, in the wake of President Obama's announcement in May. We had found previously that they opposed it 63/21. 80% of Nevada voters support some form of legal recognition for gay couples- either marriage or civil unions- to only 17% who are completely opposed. Even among Republicans 74% at least support civil unions.
-Sheldon Adelson's favorability rating is 20%, with 31% of voters holding an unfavorable opinion of him. Democrats (10/50) dislike him a whole lot more than Republicans (28/14) like him.
-Harry Reid continues to be unpopular in his home state. Only 44% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 50% who disapprove and with independents the breakdown is a particularly atrocious 33/62.
-Nevada voters are pretty ambivalent about losing their 'none of these' voting option. 36% think voters should have that choice, while 43% think they should not. That issue plays out in a pretty partisan manner. Democrats support being able to vote 'none of these' 42/31, while Republicans oppose it 25/54.
-And Democrats lead the generic legislative ballot 45-41.
Full results here