Rep. Jim Gibbons remained the front-runner in the race for Nevada governor in a new statewide poll of voters.
The survey of 625 Nevadans conducted for the Las Vegas
Review-Journal found the Republican congressman with 50 percent of
the vote in a primary or general election, while Republican state
Sen. Bob Beers drew the least support of the five gubernatorial
"Gibbons is still by far the strongest Republican, and he still
beats all the Democrats," said Brad Coker, managing partner of
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., the Washington, D.C.-based
firm that conducted the survey April 3 through Wednesday.
Respondents chose Gibbons by 50 percent to 33 percent in a
hypothetical general election matchup with state Sen. Dina Titus,
D-Las Vegas, although 17 percent remained undecided. Gibbons topped
Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson, 44 percent to 30 percent.
The poll sampled 268 Republicans, 257 Democrats and 100
nonpartisans. Four hundred interviews were done in Clark County,
125 in Washoe County and 100 in rural Nevada. Female respondents
slightly outnumbered men.
Among registered Republicans, 51 percent said they would vote
for Gibbons in the primary. Fifteen percent were for Lt. Gov.
Lorraine Hunt, and 11 percent favored Beers. Twenty-three percent
said they were undecided. The sampling error margin was 7
percentage points for primary questions.
Eric Herzik, a University of Nevada, Reno, political scientist,
said the poll results should trouble Democrats.
"For all the negative publicity Republicans have faced
recently, these numbers are pretty good," Herzik said.
But Herzik called the poll results bad for Beers.
"With four months to go, he's still barely in double digits,"
Herzik said, "and he doesn't have the money to take on Gibbons in
a media campaign."
Beers campaign manager Andy Matthews said Beers will overcome
Gibbons name recognition.
"Right now, Congressman Gibbons is riding on name
(identification)," Matthews said. "But over the next four months,
we're going to get our message out, and we'll see that gap close
and eventually disappear."
Gibbons campaign manager Robert Uithoven said the poll changed
little from a year ago, and noted that Gibbons had been able to
weather criticism from other candidates.
A Review-Journal poll in May 2005 had Gibbons with 60 percent of
the primary vote. Another poll in October gave Gibbons 53 percent.
The poll showed Gibson improving slightly against Titus since
October, and a bit better against Gibbons in a general election
The Democrats' dilemma is that although Titus is positioned to
win the primary by 10 percentage points, she wouldn't fare as well
as Gibson against Gibbons in the general election.
Titus said she could beat Gibson and said she would address
Gibbons when he was her opponent.
"Nobody has yet held Jim Gibbons accountable for his record in
Washington. He's just been coasting," Titus said. "When we start
calling him on the votes he's cast against seniors, minorities and
children, the numbers will shift."
Hunt campaign manager Frank Roberson said he doubted the
reliability of the poll.