LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Election day is Nov. 8 and people have been voting using early and mail-in methods for weeks. As the hours are counted down until votes are tallied and Nevadans start to receive a picture of the results, Dr. Rebecca Gill from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas weighs in on what to expect.
On the U.S. Senate race
“These two are playing essentially on two different fields in some ways and it’s sort of an attempt to try to frame things on the issues that work best for them,” Dr. Gill says. “In terms of policy popularity, the stance for the Democrats on abortion tends to be more popular, but if that’s not your top issue and if your top issue is something about crime or inflation, the polls show that people tend to trust Republicans on that, and so it’s just a matter of trying to steer attention to the topics that is most beneficial to the candidate.”
On polls showing voters prioritizing the economy over abortion
“I think that voters are actually a little bit more sophisticated than a lot of candidates and a lot of the designers of the advertisements tend to think,” Dr. Gill says. “I think that people can hold a whole bunch of different ideas in their heads at the same time, and sort of weigh them based on, not only what’s most important to them in their daily lives, but also about how different the policy positions are on the issue of abortion versus on the issue of inflation. So, if a voter thinks that no matter who they put in things probably aren’t going to change that much on inflation, then they may move to their second or third topic to make that real distinction between the candidate.”
On polling data going into election day
“We’re going to want to see kind of what the distribution is if the people who decide to come out on that day,” says Dr. Gill. We also don’t necessarily know exactly what the distribution of the mail-in ballots will be, because those will continue to be counted for a few days afterward. I think, especially lately, the polls have been very difficult to interpret, and have had a history of being kind of off.”
On the volatile Attorney General race
“I do think that voters don’t tend to like negative campaigning, for the sake of negative campaigning. However, it does get eyeballs — it gets attention. And so it can make a big difference,” Dr. Gill says. “I think that in this race some of these negative ads really have brought up some relevant information that I think voters will appreciate having.”
On tight races for the U.S. House of Representatives
“It’s really going to come down to where the non-partisan voters lean and how many of them turn out. I think that you have probably a little bit more enthusiasm among Republicans,” Dr. Gill says. “We have such an enormous number of nonpartisan registered voters in the state and so where they lean it’s going to be driven a lot by the kind of general winds of things. […] The vote is the snapshot in time.”
On mail-in voting reducing lines at polling sites
“I certainly hope so,” says Dr. Gill. “Nevada has a really great election system with a lot of early voting and mail voting options, so hopefully the lines won’t be too long.”
According to her biography on the UNLV website, “Dr. Rebecca Gill is the Director of the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She earned her doctorate in political science at Michigan State University in 2008.”
“Dr. Gill’s recent research focuses on gender, politics, and courts,” her bio states.