LAS VEGAS -- Republican Sen. Dean Heller is extending his lead over Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley in the battle for his U.S. Senate seat, according to an 8 News NOW/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll released early Thursday morning.
Heller now leads 47 percent to 39 percent among likely voters statewide, according to the poll from SurveyUSA of Clifton, N.J. The bilingual cell phone and landline poll, which was conducted from Oct. 3 through Monday, also found 8 percent prefer other candidates and 6 percent remain undecided. The poll's margin of error is 2.9 percent and involved 1,222 respondents.
When a similar 8 News NOW/Review-Journal poll was conducted in August, Heller enjoyed a 44 to 39 percent advantage.
A highlight of the poll is that 48 percent view Berkley unfavorably versus 28 percent who see her in a positive light, producing a favorability rating of minus 20, a downgrade from minus 14 in August. Heller, though, is viewed favorably by 38 percent as opposed to 35 percent who don't like him. That's a favorability rating of plus 3, an improvement from his minus 3 in August.
Particularly telling is that Heller has a plus 7 favorability rating among independents whereas Berkley is at minus 40.
The race, featuring a heavy volume of negative television ads from both sides, is among the key contests that could help determine whether Democrats retain control of the Senate or lose it to a new Republican majority.
Heller enjoys an edge over Berkley in these demographics: men, 51 to 36 percent; women, 43 to 41 percent; 18- to 49-year-olds, 45 to 37 percent; those 50 and older, 50 to 40 percent; whites, 51 to 35 percent; Hispanics, 43 to 41 percent; Asian-Americans, 53 to 32 percent; Republicans, 88 to 6 percent; independents, 50 to 27 percent; tea party members, 80 to 13 percent; conservatives, 83 to 11 percent; union households, 47 to 44 percent; and nonunion households, 48 to 38 percent.
He also leads in these categories: households with active military members or veterans, 58 to 33 percent; those who did not go beyond high school, 43 to 38 percent; college degree holders, 47 to 42 percent; middle income earners, 48 to 36 percent; those earning more than $80,000 a year, 51 to 40 percent; urban Las Vegas residents, 46 to 41 percent; those who live elsewhere in Clark County, 43 to 40 percent; Washoe County residents, 52 to 39 percent; and individuals who live elsewhere in Nevada, 61 to 28 percent.
Berkley holds an advantage over Heller in these demographics: blacks, 69 to 14 percent; Democrats, 73 to 13 percent; moderates, 46 to 37 percent; liberals, 71 to 14 percent; households without active military members or veterans, 42 to 41 percent; and individuals who earn less than $40,000 annually, 42 to 40 percent.
Among other results in the poll:
* When asked who will do more for the middle class, respondents chose Heller over Berkley by a 43 to 38 percent margin.
* When asked who has a better plan for Medicare, those polled opted for Heller over Berkley 41 to 37 percent.
* When asked who is stronger on immigration, respondents sided with Heller by 45 to 26 percent over Berkley.
* When asked who has run a more truthful campaign, Heller was the choice over Berkley by a 41 to 30 percent margin.
* When asked who is more ethical, Heller won out by a margin of 42 to 29 percent over Berkley.
The composition of the poll includes 40 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans and 25 percent independents. Moderates account for 40 percent, conservatives are represented by 32 percent, and 19 percent are liberals. Among those polled, 8 percent are tea party members, 20 percent belong to union households, and 38 percent live in military/veteran households.
By gender, 52 percent are male and the same percentage are ages 18 to 49. The respondents are 61 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian-American and 8 percent black. Some 23 percent live in urban Las Vegas, 48 percent reside in the rest of Clark County, 16 percent call Washoe County home, and 13 percent live elsewhere in Nevada. Among respondents, 39 percent hold a college degree and 42 percent have some college experience. Some 32 percent earn less than $40,000 a year and 26 percent earn more than $80,000 annually.
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