LAS VEGAS -- Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley would defeat Republican Sen. Dean Heller in a nail-biter to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate if the election were held now, according to an 8 News Now/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll conducted by UNLV's Cannon Survey Center.
The poll of 600 registered Nevada voters showed Berkley edging Heller 44.4 percent to 43.2 percent. But the contest, which will be decided in the November 2012 general election, is well within the poll's 4 percent margin of error. The telephone poll was conducted Dec. 12 through Dec. 20.
Among respondents 5.4 percent chose neither candidate and 6.9 percent were undecided.
The poll, which reflects the Democratic Party's voter registration advantage in Nevada, involved 259 registered Democrats, 224 registered Republicans and 117 independent voters. That proved to be the difference in this poll, with Berkley defeating Heller 74.9 to 11.1 among Democrats and Heller topping Berkley 77.1 to 13.8 among Republicans.
Heller also would outdraw Berkley 49.4 to 35.5 among independents but that margin wasn't enough for Heller to overcome the voter registration advantage Berkley enjoys among Democrats.