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Sisolak gets high marks for handling of pandemic, economy in new poll

Updated July 23, 2021 - 5:36 pm

CARSON CITY — Gov. Steve Sisolak got a favorable rating from just over half of respondents in a new poll of Nevada voters, with better marks for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s economy and slightly lower marks on the topic of race relations.

The governor’s approval rating broke roughly even on the issue of immigration — not a state issue in terms of policymaking — and gun policy, according to a poll conducted and paid for by Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insights.

Sisolak earned overall favorable marks from 52 percent of poll respondents, with 20 percent giving him very favorable ratings and 39 percent overall giving him unfavorable marks. Twenty-two rated his performance as very unfavorable.

The numbers were consistent across regions, age, and race/ethnicity but predictably diverged widely by party affiliation: 77 percent of Democrats rated Sisolak favorably compared to 30 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of independents.

Still, the pollster saw the results as good news for the first-term Democrat.

“For a Democrat in a perennial swing state that hadn’t elected a Democratic governor in the 24 years before him, Steve Sisolak is doing very well,” Mike Noble, the pollster’s chief of research, said in a statement. “His next challenge will be holding onto his high rating for the next 15 months until Election Day.”

The online opt-in survey of 783 Nevada registered voters was conducted July 6-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The website FiveThirtyEight gives the non-partisan market research and public opinion firm a B/C rating whose polls skew slightly Republican.

On specific issues, 60 percent of respondents lauded Sisolak’s handling of the pandemic, including 77 percent of Democrats, 61 percent of Independents and 38 percent of Republicans. Those who said they were “extremely” or “moderately” concerned about the virus gave him a higher rating than those who were less concerned.

Voters also approved of the governor’s handling of the economy, though by a lesser margin, with 53 percent approving and 38 percent disapproving. The approval rate was the same among voters who cited jobs and the economy as the biggest issues facing Nevada, though that group’s disapproval rate was slightly higher, at 42 percent.

The governor’s approval ratings on race relations and gun policy were lower but still in the plus column. Nearly half of voters — 46 percent — approved his handling of race relations, compared to 33 percent who disapproved, and 41 percent approved his handling of gun policy, while 38 percent disapproved.

His wobbliest numbers appeared regarding immigration policy. The approve/disapprove breakdown was statistically equal, 41 percent to 40 percent, but with a stark partisan split: Republicans disapproved of the governor’s immigration stance by more than 2-1 while Democrats backed it by the same margin. Independents split roughly even.

The sample was weighted to reflect the state’s actual registered voter population by gender, region, age, party affiliation, ethnicity and education, based on data from the secretary of state’s office and most recent Census data.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Crosstabs: Sisolak poll by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

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