Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Is Nevada in Play This Year?

Nevada hasn't gone for a Republican in a presidential race since George W. Bush in 2004. But this year might be different. Here is the Nevada polling from reputable pollsters so far:

Nevada polling in 2024

There have been 11 polls (from six pollsters) so far in 2024 and Donald Trump has led in all of them. His lead is not due to one fluke poll from a shady pollster with a weird sample. By way of contrast, there were 12 reputable polls of the Silver State in 2020 and Joe Biden led in every one of them. Something is going on.

Nevada is a highly diverse state with a young population and strong unions. This should be easy for Biden, but it is not. There is deep frustration in the state about housing costs, inflation, and gas prices, and guess what? The buck stops you-know-where, whether or not the problems are the fault of the guy sitting there. What makes the situation especially bad for Biden is that he is doing quite well with college-educated voters, but only 27% of Nevadans have at least a bachelor's degree, way below the national average of 38%. You don't need a degree in economics to work in a casino and you don't need a degree in anything to work at the Bunny Ranch. The state does not have any industries that would attract highly educated workers, the way, say, the Research Triangle does in North Carolina.

Another problem for Biden is that young voters, who used to be staunchly Democratic, appear to be moving toward the Republicans in general and Trump in particular. They don't have a lot of historical perspective (Fascism? What's that?) and are especially sensitive to economic issues. They are not the slightest bit interested in what Franklin D. Roosevelt did for the country 90 years ago but are very interested in how much it costs to rent an apartment right now. And that is more than it was during Trump's administration.

An additional problem for Biden is that 30% of Nevadans are Latino (vs. 19% nationally) and younger Latinos (especially men) are moving toward Trump. Some polls show Trump at 50% with Latinos; if that is true and it holds, it is game over for Biden. Some young Latino men like macho men who strut their stuff by bossing other people (especially female people) around. Biden doesn't do this, but Trump certainly does. That is a big plus with this group.

Finally, Nevada's economy is highly dependent on tourism and conventions, industries that were shut down during the pandemic and are only slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate is one of the highest of any state and wages are among the lowest.

One thing the Democrats are doing to try to bail Biden out is get an initiative on the ballot to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state Constitution. That could win over many younger voters who are otherwise meh on Biden.

If Trump wins Nevada, it will not only help him get to 270 EVs, it may also doom the reelection chances of Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and cost the Democrats control of the Senate. All in all, Nevada was not supposed to be a key battleground state, but it may well become one. (V)

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