LAS VEGAS -- Republican Rep. Joe Heck leads Democratic challenger John Oceguera 50 percent to 40 percent in an 8 News NOW/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll released early Thursday morning involving the race for Heck's seat in Nevada's 3rd Congressional District.
The cell phone and landline poll of 502 likely and actual voters was conducted Sunday through Tuesday by SurveyUSA of Clifton, N.J. Among respondents, 5 percent also prefer other candidates and an equal percentage remain undecided. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.
When a similar 8 News NOW/LVRJ poll was taken last month, Heck led 53 to 40 percent. The congressional district spreads across the southwest and southeast valley and includes Henderson.
Heck is viewed favorably by 44 percent of respondents and unfavorably by 33 percent for a favorability rating of plus 11, a decline from plus 22 a month ago. But Oceguera, who served as Assembly speaker, saw his favorability rating drop from plus nine last month to minus seven in the latest poll. Oceguera is now viewed unfavorably by 35 percent, versus 28 percent who like him.
Heck holds the advantage over Oceguera in these demographics: men, 54 to 36 percent; 35- to 49-year-olds, 49 to 38 percent; respondents 50 and older, 52 to 40 percent; whites, 53 to 38 percent; Hispanics, 53 to 36 percent; Republicans, 88 to 7 percent; independents, 55 to 30 percent; tea party members, 86 to 14 percent; conservatives, 84 to 12 percent; and nonunion households, 51 to 39 percent.
Heck also leads among those who did not go beyond high school, 51 to 35 percent; those with some college background, 51 to 39 percent; college degree holders, 49 to 43 percent; those who earn less than $40,000 annually, 47 to 42 percent; middle-income earners, 53 to 37 percent; and those who earn more than $80,000 a year, 51 to 43 percent.
Oceguera enjoys the edge in these demographics: respondents 18- to 34-years-old, 43 to 41 percent; blacks, 58 to 24 percent; Asian-Americans, 47 to 43 percent; Democrats, 80 to 8 percent; and liberals, 80 to 12 percent.
The race is a tie or within 1 percentage point among women, moderates and union households.
Among other results in the poll:
* When asked what one issue their congressman should focus on ahead of all others, 52 percent said jobs, followed by health care, 12 percent, federal debt, 11 percent, education, 8 percent, taxes, 6 percent, immigration and abortion, 3 percent each, and housing, 2 percent.
* When asked who will do more to protect Medicare, 46 percent said Heck and 42 percent chose Oceguera. Last month, Heck enjoyed a 13-point edge on that question.
* When asked who is more in touch with the average working person, 47 percent indicated Heck and 42 percent said Oceguera. Heck held an 11-point advantage on that question a month ago.
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