LAS VEGAS -- Republican Danny Tarkanian holds a 45 percent to 42 percent edge over Democrat Steven Horsford among likely voters in Nevada's newly drawn 4th Congressional District despite the fact the district leans Democratic, according to an 8NewsNow/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll released early Friday morning.
But the telephone poll of 646 likely voters conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by SurveyUSA of Clifton, N.J. contains a 3.9 percent margin of error, meaning the contest that will be settled Nov. 6 could go either way. The poll also found that 6 percent of the respondents opted for other candidates and 8 percent were undecided.
Respondents in the district also said they favored President Barack Obama, a Democrat, over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney 52 percent to 43 percent. Those same voters in 2008 favored Obama over Republican rival John McCain 55 percent to 37 percent,
The congressional district, apportioned as a result of the state's rapid growth over the past decade, includes the northern valley, northern Clark County and portions of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties.
Tarkanian maintains a lead despite the fact 45 percent of those polled are registered Democrats, compared to 33 percent Republicans and 21 percent independents. There are roughly 37,000 more registered Democrats than Republican in the portion of the district that covers Clark County and a 29,000 Democratic edge in the district overall. But the poll found Tarkanian edging Horsford 44 percent to 43 percent in Clark County and carrying an overwhelming 49 percent to 33 percent lead in the other counties.
The poll also found that Tarkanian leads Horsford 50 percent to 40 percent in urban areas and 62 percent to 30 percent in rural areas, with Horsford holding a 44 percent to 39 percent advantage in the suburbs. Those areas are based on U.S. Census Bureau definitions for census tracts, including factors such as population density and land use.
Tarkanian leads Horsford in these demographics: men, 52 to 39 percent; 18- to 49-year-olds, 41 to 39 percent; 50- to 64-year-olds, 54 to 36 percent; whites, 53 to 37 percent; Hispanics, 42 to 34 percent; Republicans, 87 to 4 percent; independents, 53 to 32 percent; tea party members, 94 to 5 percent; conservatives, 78 to 13 percent; non-union households, 46 to 39 percent; voters who attended college, 46 to 37 percent; voters who earned college degrees, 46 to 44 percent; and those who earn more than $80,000 a year, 53 to 39 percent.
Horsford holds the advantage over Tarkanian in these demographics: women, 44 to 37 percent; voters 65 and older, 51 to 40 percent; blacks, 74 to 13 percent; Asian-Americans, 48 to 37 percent; Democrats, 73 to 11 percent; moderates, 52 to 36 percent; liberals, 70 to 8 percent; union households, 53 to 40 percent; voters whose highest education level is high school, 48 to 41 percent; and those who earn less than $40,000 a year, 47 to 39 percent.
Among other results in the poll:
* Tarkanian enjoys a somewhat greater net favorable rating, 35 to 21 percent for a difference of plus 14, than does Horsford, 33 to 25 percent for a margin of plus eight.
* When asked what one issue their congressman should focus on ahead of all others, 48 percent said jobs, followed by the federal debt, 17 percent, health care 12 percent, education 8 percent, taxes, 4 percent, other issues, 3 percent, and abortion, immigration and housing, 2 percent each.
* When asked who will fight harder to create jobs for Nevadans, 42 percent said Tarkanian and 38 percent chose Horsford. An additional 20 percent said they weren't sure.
* When asked who has more personal integrity, 38 percent indicated Tarkanian and 34 percent said Horsford. An additional 28 percent said they weren't sure.
* When asked who better understands the difference between right and wrong, 38 percent chose Tarkanian, 32 percent selected Horsford and 29 percent said they weren't sure.
* When asked which candidate thinks they are above the law, 28 percent chose Horsford, 25 percent said Tarkanian and 47 percent weren't sure.
* While likely voters chose Obama over Romney by 9 percentage points overall, women opted for Obama by a margin of 62 to 34 percent, while men preferred Romney 51 to 43 percent. Obama was preferred in every age bracket except among 50- to 64-year-olds, and he holds a substantial advantage among all racial and ethnic minorities but trails Romney among whites. Obama also holds a 61 to 33 percent advantage among moderates and is more heavily favored by liberals than Romney is among conservatives.
Also noteworthy is that Obama holds a 6 percentage point lead in non-union households as well as a 19-point advantage in households with union members. While Obama leads 58 to 31 percent among Hispanics that advantage isn't spilling over into the congressional race. Tarkanian leads Horsford among Hispanics 42 to 34 percent.