Polling for the U.S. Senate seat held by Catherine Cortez Masto has been pretty sparse, but a new poll out late this week shows that not only is the seat in play, but it’s currently trending toward Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.
The poll, done by the Republican-leaning Trafalgar Group, has Laxalt up nearly two and a half points over incumbent Cortez Masto (46.7 percent to 44.3). It also has Republican candidate Joe Lombardo over Steve Sisolak by nearly the same amount (46.2 percent to 43.6).
Earlier, we noted that Cortez Masto has been running away from the question of whether or not she would be campaigning with Joe Biden. Here’s what my colleague Brittany Sheehan wrote:
Cortez Masto may be avoiding aligning with the President on the campaign trail because of his devastatingly low approval rating in the state, at just 30 percent. Or, it could be the recent headlines about how the Senator’s husband had business dealings with the Biden campaign… and ended up in a cozy email on the Hunter Biden laptop from hell…
Along with all that, there’s the fact that Cortez Masto has been running an abysmally negative campaign that has drawn little but criticism. The most recent of these is a Succession-themed ad that seems more targeted toward East Coast liberals than the people of Nevada.
First, it seems unlikely that many Nevadans will get the reference, as the number of registered voters in Nevada (2.12 million people) is almost double Succession’s entire audience (1.7 million people viewed the season-three finale). And according to my calculations, a sizable portion of those 1.7 million viewers are people who work in media.
Second, the ad is 60 seconds, which is too long for TV but just right for web-based journalists in need of a distraction on a late summer afternoon.
Third, Cortez Masto’s campaign first shared the spot with NBC News. The accompanying write-up says it’s “set to be broadcast in both Spanish and English” but offers no further details about when or where it may be shown on television.
On that last point, it’s pretty clear what Cortez Masto wants: She wants liberal writers to cover the ad wants the headlines about the ad to drive the discourse on it, rather than have the people of Nevada actually see the ad. If your first move for an ad is to release it to news outlets rather than the people of your state, chances are you know it won’t land with them.
She is also even getting called out by Glenn Kessler for her attacks on his record, earning three Pinocchios.
Cortez Masto is struggling to connect with her voters, and the media isn’t giving her a whole lot of help. She’s campaigning very poorly right now as a result, and Laxalt is picking up more momentum.
So, even in a poll that had 2 percent more Democratic voters than Republican ones, Laxalt is up nearly 3 points and probably growing. In the states where Senate races are close, we’ve seen a common theme: It looks like the low 40s are the ceiling for Democrats and the floor for Republicans.
Laxalt is a good candidate and one hopes he wins the Senate race in Nevada. Not just because of how tight the race for control of the Senate is, but because the people of Nevada deserve someone good to represent them, and not someone who will just rubber-stamp anything and everything someone like Chuck Schumer puts forward.