Home>Feature>Heller and Lombardo Rise to the Top of the Polls with Republican Voters

Republican candidate for Nevada governor Dean Heller. (Photo: deanheller.com)

Heller and Lombardo Rise to the Top of the Polls with Republican Voters

Leading GOP candidates tie Sisolak in potential matchups

By Megan Barth, October 6, 2021 6:15 am

Joe Lombardo, Republican candidate for governor. (Photo: joelombardofornv.com)

In a recent poll conducted for the Nevada Independent, two challengers in a crowded field of contenders are polling well among likely Republican voters: Dean Heller and Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

The Poll of 400 likely Republican voters, conducted between Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, shows former US Senator Heller at 31.3% and Clark County Sheriff Lombardo 23.2%, with lawyer and former Nevada State Golden Gloves Champ Joey Gilbert at 11%.

Gov.  holds a razor-thin lead in matchups against either of the two GOP frontrunners — leading by 2 points (45.8 percent to 43.3 percent) and in an effective tie with Lombardo (44.9 percent to 44.4 percent). A majority of poll respondents rated Sisolak’s overall job performance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic negatively or as “only fair.”

A majority of those polled are against mask and vaccine mandates and support free, fair and transparent elections, yet half of the voters want another candidate or remain undecided.

Those who identified as conservatives support Heller. Heller identified, ran and legislated as a moderate Republican for years, but running for Governor as a “A Strong Conservative Leader” seems to be resonating.

Lombardo is campaigning as “The Conservative Choice.” Yet, conservatives have expressed their concerns regarding his stance on gun control laws and universal background checks. Voters who identify as moderate Republicans and have more liberal views on abortion, choose Lombardo over Heller.

Not surprisingly, Lombardo and Heller will have to up their ground game in opposite sides of the state to gain name recognition.

“Lombardo saw more support in Clark County, where voters elected him to the nonpartisan position of sheriff in 2014 and 2018. Among likely voters living in Clark County, Lombardo led Heller by 6 points (32.9 percent to 26.9 percent); however, Heller carried significant advantages over Lombardo in Washoe County (25 point difference) and the rest of the state (23 percent difference).”

Heller has a higher disapproval rating than Lombardo, and that rating could result in Republicans choosing “other” or not voting at all.

“Poll respondents were more likely to view Heller favorably than other Republican gubernatorial candidates.

When asked, 54 percent of respondents expressed a favorable opinion of Heller, compared with 19 percent who expressed an unfavorable view. Lombardo was also received favorably (48 percent favorable to 12 percent unfavorable) and his job performance was also rated positively — 57 percent.”

Dean Heller (Facebook)

Over the past year, Sisolak has been using emergency powers to enact mask and vaccine mandates.

These actions may unite Republicans and Non Partisans and help the Republican contenders, as many feel that emergency powers should never be limitless or without expiration. Yet, a bill proposed in the last legislative session by Assm. Jim Wheeler to limit a governor’s emergency powers to 15 days was shelved by the Democratic majority.

Another issue that unites all voters is election integrity. A majority of Democrats and Republicans want the assurance that their elections are secure, safe, and transparent. Whether it is Russian interference, Macedonian bot farmers, or audits, Democrats and Republicans have been questioning the outcome of elections for years. Yet, pollster Mark Mellman of the Mellman Group repeated the talking point of “the big lie”—which is also popular with his client Jon Ralston and Democrats:

“Mellman warned that pushing false messaging that the 2021 election [sic — the Independent clearly intended 2020] was riddled with fraud could be a double-edged sword for candidates.

‘To curry favor with Donald Trump, you have to support the big lie. To curry favor with the majority of voters, you have to reject the big lie,’ he said.


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Megan Barth
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