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Sandoval fares well among Nevada voters following 2011 legislative session


by Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Gov. Brian Sandoval’s reluctant decision to support an extension of tax increases to balance the state budget in the 2011 legislative session does not appear to have caused him any lasting damage in the eyes of voters, according to the results of a recent survey by a GOP polling firm. 

A survey of voter attitudes conducted by The Tarrance Group on July 12 and 13 shows that 53 percent of Nevada voters approve of the job Sandoval is doing, with only 29 percent indicating they disapprove of his performance. The remainder of those polled had no opinion. 
Not surprisingly, the Republican had strong GOP support statewide at 73 percent to 10 percent disapproving. Approval among Democrats was far weaker, 37 percent to 46 percent disapproving.

Sandoval successfully bucked the trend that impacted many other governors in their budget battles, and “has maintained solid his job approval ratings among Nevada voters,” said Dave Sackett of The Tarrance Group in his analysis of the results.

“There is no gender gap in Governor Sandoval’s job approval ratings, as he stands with a 54 percent job approval rating among men and a 53 percent job approval rating among women voters,” Sackett said in a memo dated July 15.

“It is also important to note that a majority of voters in every region of the state, including Clark County, indicate that they approve of the job he is doing as governor,” he said.

Mike Slanker of November Inc., a political consulting firm that worked on Sandoval’s campaign, said the governor has a broad and deep base of support in Nevada. The numbers show that Sandoval is one of the most popular governors in the country, he said.

The findings are based on telephone interviews with 501 “likely” registered voters throughout the state. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. Democrats represented 43.1 percent of those surveyed, Republicans, 36.4 percent and independents, 20.5 percent, closely mirroring the active voter numbers reported by the Nevada Secretary of State’s office as of June.

The results show Sandoval with a 51 percent approval rating in Clark County with 30 percent disapproving. The approval rating is 59 percent in Washoe County, with 27 percent disapproving, and 58 percent in rural Nevada with 27 percent disapproving.

Among Hispanic voters, Sandoval had a 51 percent approval rating with 26 percent expressing disapproval.

Sandoval, in his first year as governor, proposed no new taxes in his original budget delivered to the Legislature in January. In late May, after the Nevada Supreme Court called into question some of the local revenues he had proposed to use to balance his state general fund budget, Republicans and Democrats agreed to extend some tax revenues that were set to expire June 30 to help balance the budget.”Governor Sandoval’s reasoned approach to the budget has won support for his efforts that extend well beyond the traditional groups of voters that would be supportive of a Republican governor,” Sackett said. “Solid majorities of both Independent voters and Hispanic voters indicate that they approve of the job that he is doing, as do a majority of self-described conservative Democrat voters in Nevada.”

The Tarrance Group describes itself as “one of the most widely respected and successful Republican strategic research and polling firms in the nation.”

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