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Sen. Dean Heller and Gov. Brian Sandoval at the groundbreaking for the Northern Nevada Veterans Home in Sparks on July 17, 2017. Photo Courtesy Shannon Litz / Nevada Governor's Office.

Rep. Dina Titus is in a dead heat with Sen. Dean Heller and would win a primary against Rep. Jacky Rosen, according to a poll taken for Titus last month.

The survey, conducted by the respected Democratic firm, Anzalone Liszt Grove, showed Heller at 47 percent and Titus at 45 percent. The survey of 600 likely voters has a margin of error of 4.0 percent. Titus declined to release the entire instrument or the primary results, but said she is "confident I could win" after seeing the numbers.

Both of those results make intuitive sense: Titus is much better known than the rookie Rosen, who already has announced a bid against Heller, and has established Democratic bonafides. My guess: Titus, should she decide not to run, would not want a poll out there showing Rosen being slaughtered in a primary.

My guess is Heller's people might be happy, considering that he has been pummeled with nearly $9 million of TV ads in the last six months, that 44 percent of voters view him favorably. But this poll indicates he is very vulnerable, which we knew from other surveys.

The poll also shows that Titus runs much better than might have been expected in Northern Nevada. This is the key part of the polling memo, which I have obtained:

Heller is also below a majority vote (47%) and Titus keeps it a 2-point race. In a potential 2018 Senate match-up, Titus is within the margin of error of Heller (45% Titus / 47% Heller). Titus does especially well for a Democrat in Northern Nevada, trailing Heller by just 1-point in Washoe County (45% Titus / 46% Heller), despite him defeating Shelley Berkeley in the county by 12 points in 2012 (39% Berkeley / 51% Heller). After positive and negative messages from both candidates, Titus takes a 1-point lead in the race (48% Titus / 47% Heller).

So what does this mean?

Quite simply: She could win.

But does she want to risk losing a safe House and being in the majority sooner than she would be in the Senate, where she would be a backbencher in the minority?

"I'm torn," she repeated Tuesday, adding that she would like to be in the Senate and could win, as the poll shows. "This (the survey) just shows that this will be a personal decision."

 

Here's the polling memo:

 

July 24, 2017

 

To: Interested Parties

From: ALG Research

Re:  NV Poll: Heller Vulnerable and Titus very competitive in Senate Matchup

A recent poll of 2018 voters in Nevada finds Dean Heller vulnerable in his race for re-election and Dina Titus in a statistical tie with him in a potential 2018 Senate match-up.

Heller’s job and popularity rating are both below 50%. The share of voters approving of Heller’s job performance (47%) and the share rating him favorably (44%) both fall short of a majority, a troubling sign for any incumbent.
Heller is also below a majority vote (47%) and Titus keeps it a 2-point race. In a potential 2018 Senate match-up, Titus is within the margin of error of Heller (45% Titus / 47% Heller). Titus does especially well for a Democrat in Northern Nevada, trailing Heller by just 1-point in Washoe County (45% Titus / 46% Heller), despite him defeatingShelley Berkeley in the county by 12 points in 2012 (39% Berkeley / 51% Heller). After positive and negative messages from both candidates, Titus takes a 1-point lead in the race (48% Titus / 47% Heller).
Titus net job and popularity ratings exceed Heller’s. Titus’ positive job rating in Congress is even with Heller’s positive rating (47%), and her negative rating is much lower than his (29% Titus vs. 41% Heller). As a result, Titus’ net job rating is +18 compared to just +6 for Heller. Titus also holds an advantage when it comes to popularity ratings, as she enjoys a net favorable rating of +12 (43% favorable / 31% unfavorable) vs. +5 for Heller (44% favorable / 39% unfavorable).
Democrats hold an advantage on the generic ballot, creating headwinds for Heller. In addition to the challenges posed by his middling support ratings and Titus’ net +18 job rating, Heller faces a structural challenge as well, with voters favoring Democrats on the generic congressional ballot by a 3-point margin (43% Democrat / 40% Republican).

These results demonstrate that Nevada is a strong pickup opportunity for Democrats in the Senate, and Dina Titus is a competitive challenger with real strengths.

This memo is based on the results of a telephone poll of 600 likely 2018 voters in Nevada conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research June 23-29, 2017. The survey used a mix of landline and cellphone dialing, bilingual dialing and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0%.

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