A small plurality of Nevadans believe Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen would make a better senator than incumbent Dean Heller and that the Republican senator should reject Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to a new poll from a pro-Affordable Care Act advocacy group.
The poll, which was conducted by the Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling for Protect Our Care, found that 48 percent of respondents would support Rosen if the election was held today, compared to 43 percent for Heller, a 5 percent margin that is slightly bigger than the poll's margin of error, 4.3 percent. It also found that 47 percent of respondents believe that Heller should oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination, while 42 percent think that he should vote to confirm him.
The poll was released Thursday by Protect Our Care minus the Heller-Rosen matchup question, which The Nevada Independent obtained a copy of on Friday.
When told that Kavanaugh will likely support the Trump administration’s position in a lawsuit that could strike down the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions, 52 percent of respondents said they were less likely to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation, while 16 percent said it made them more likely to support him.
Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C., was nominated by President Donald Trump in July to take the place of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The poll surveyed 528 Nevada voters between August 20 and 21. Of those respondents, 40 percent were Democrats, 35 percent were Republicans and 25 percent were Independents. (The actual voter registration break down in the state is 38 percent Democrats, 34 percent Republicans and 21 percent nonpartisan.)
The poll also sampled 45 percent Trump voters and 48 percent Hillary Clinton voters. Nevada swung for Clinton over Trump, 47.9 percent to 45.5 percent.
Respondents to the poll were also told that approving Kavanaugh would change the balance on the Supreme Court and allow it to overturn the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. After hearing that, 52 percent of respondents said they’d be less likely to support Kavanaugh while 25 percent said they would be more likely to support Kavanaugh.
Respondents also largely agreed that Heller should not consider voting for Kavanaugh until the Senate is able to complete a thorough review of his background. Fifty-two percent of respondents said that they agreed with that statement, while 36 percent disagreed.
After asked the prior questions, 47 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to support Heller if he voted to confirm Kavanaugh, while 36 percent said they would be more likely and 14 percent said it didn’t make a difference. If Heller voted to confirm Kavanaugh and then the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, 55 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to support Heller, while 17 percent said they would be more likely.
The poll also found that 52 percent of Nevadans disapprove of Heller’s job performance, while 34 percent approve of it. Trump had a higher approval rating, 43 percent, with a similar disapproval rating, 53 percent.
Updated 8-24-18 at 12:58 p.m. to include the results of a Heller-Rosen matchup question from the poll that was not previously released with the version of the poll The Nevada Independent obtained from Protect Our Care on Thursday.