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AARP poll focusing on older voters shows slight lead for Cortez Masto, Sisolak


by Michael Lyle, Nevada Current

A newly released poll from AARP shows Nevada Democrats hold a narrow lead in the races for U.S. Senate and governor.

The results, which focused on voters older than 50, showed Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto has a 4 point lead over her opponent, Republican former attorney general Adam Laxalt, while incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisilak has a 3 point lead over Republican Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

The results also indicated that all of the candidates have an unfavorable rating among likely voters.

“Both (races) are incredibly close and will be among the most competitive races in the country this year,” said Bob Ward, a pollster with Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research, during a press call Thursday.  

While President Joe Biden has a 58% disapproval rating in Nevada according to the results, the pollster said those ratings aren’t translating into an overwhelming Republican lead. 

Efforts to contend with rising costs of inflation will factor in both races.

However, 24% of people said inflation was the most important factor deciding their vote in the governor’s race, compared to 15% of people in the race for Senate, a somewhat counterintuitive finding given that inflation is a global problem, driven in large part by global factors that are far beyond the ability of governors to manage.

Other issues poll respondents ranked as important in the Senate race include taxes and government spending as well as Social Security and Medicare, garnering 13% and 12% respectively. 

Candidate’s positions on Medicare cuts and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices will influence voters in the Senate race, especially among undecided voters, according to the survey.

The poll was conducted between Aug. 16 and 24, around the same time the Inflation Reduction Act, which included reforms to prescription drug pricing and insulin copay caps for Medicare recipients, was signed into law. 

The poll showed 63% of Nevada voters, regardless of party, who are older than 50 “would be more likely to support a candidate for governor who supported fixing the nursing shortage by allowing licensed nurses from other states to work in Nevada.”

Maria Moore, the Nevada state director for AARP, said the population, which made up more than 60% of the electorate in 2018, is expected to make up a larger percentage in the midterm election. 

“We know that voters 50 plus are the largest voting bloc in Nevada and in the country,” she said. “They are a crucial voting demographic consistently showing up at polls and making a key difference in election outcomes.” 

The poll oversampled Hispanic voters over aged 50, and found Sisolak and Cortez  Masto  both with a 9 point lead over their Democratic challengers among those voters.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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