Trump and Clinton in Close Race for Swing State Nevada
Trump and Clinton in Close Race for Swing State Nevada

The general election is in full swing, and one of the closest races in the country is in the state of Nevada, where Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by a slim 2 percent margin, according to the latest poll released by Suffolk University

Clinton has 44 percent support in a three-way race, while Trump took 42 percent, with 5 percent preferring Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. 

A combined 2 percent chose Independent American Party candidate Darrell Castle and unaffiliated candidate Rocky De La Fuente, 3 percent chose the Nevada-specific “none of these” ballot option, and 5 percent were undecided.

Nevada has chosen the winner in each presidential election since 1980. The state was a shoe-in for Ronald Reagan who won the state by over 35 percent in 1980, but in 1992 and 1996, the state swung narrowly in favor of Bill Clinton.

President Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012, but problems in the state, such as continued high unemployment and a strong gambling industry sector—one of the industries Trump is most familiar with—the state seems like a prime location for his populist message to resonate. 

Nevada also has one of the fastest growing Latino populations, who tend to vote Democrat, but also suffers from low voter turnout and registration. The keys to winning the state, for Clinton, is getting a high Latino turnout in Clark county, which contains the Las Vegas metropolitan area and three of the four largest cities in the state.

Current Polling

A consistent distinction in most polls across the country is that support for Clinton and Trump are separated by a gender gap. It’s the case in Nevada too where Clinton leads among women, 44 percent to 39 percent; Trump leads among men, 54 percent to 43 percent.

Clinton also leads Trump among voters aged 18-34 (49 percent to 32 percent) and aged 35-49 (46 percent to 39 percent). The candidates are tied among voters 50-64 at 44 percent, and Trump leads among those 65 and older—49 percent to 36 percent.

The slight margin of Clinton’s lead is consistent with previous polls taken in the state. Earlier this month, a poll by CBS gave the Democratic candidate a 2-point margin, and Clinton maintains a 2.3 percent average lead in the Real Clear Politics polls. 

The tightening race is complicated by the Senate race to replace Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set to retire at the end of this term, which Republicans are eyeing as one of the possible Senate seats to pick up in November. 

Republican Joe Heck and Democratic former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto are the two candidates running in November, and the latest polls show they’re in an even closer race than the one for the White House, with Heck having the slightest advantage in the Real Clear Politics average polls.

Another poll released on Aug. 18 by Pew Research Center also shows a tight national race, putting Clinton ahead of Trump by 4 points (41 percent to 37 percent) in a four-way race including Libertarian Johnson (10 percent) and Green Party candidate Jill Stein (4 percent).

Johnson’s 10 percent is an important number for the campaign because if either Stein or he reaches 15 percent in a selection of significant national polls, then they solidify a spot on the debate stage in September.  

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