A vast majority of Nevadans are still undecided about whether they'll vote to re-elect George Bush president next year, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.
Just 23 percent of those surveyed statewide said they will vote for Bush regardless of his Democratic opponent, and 37 percent of Republicans in Clark County said they'd do the same.
The telephone poll of 601 Nevadans was conducted Oct. 24-28 by Magellan Research of Las Vegas for the newspaper. The poll had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Democrats were surprised by the numbers and suggested the president was losing his support base.
"I'm stunned," said Lindsey Jydstrup, director of the Legislative Democratic Caucus. "It's going to make it a lot easier to go to work on Monday."
But Republican pollster Marvin Longabaugh, owner of Magellan Research, said the survey does not show a wavering of support for Bush, who won Nevada in 2000.
"This poll indicates to me that he's the odds-on favorite to win it," he said.
Respondents could choose to definitely vote for Bush or the Democratic nominee, or likely vote for either given the performance of the economy and developments in the war.
Respondents were also given a choice to "evaluate all candidates, including those from third parties, and choose the candidate that best represents my views."
In Clark County, 41 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans chose that option. Statewide, 44 percent of the Nevadans polled said they would continue to evaluate the candidates.
The survey did not ask respondents whether they would vote for any of the nine specific Democratic candidates.
Statewide, 20 percent of respondents said they would vote for whichever Democrat ran against Bush. In Clark County, 35 percent of Democrats said they would vote for the Democratic nominee.
In Washoe County, 37 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Bush. In rural Nevada, the number was 32 percent.
About 13 percent of Clark County Republicans surveyed agreed with the statement, "I will probably vote for President Bush, but a lot depends on what happens with the war and the economy."
Approximately 7 percent of Clark County Democrats surveyed said they would probably vote for the Democratic candidate, depending on the same national developments.
"Clearly the president is hemorrhaging in Nevada which may explain why he plans to visit Nevada for the first time during his administration," said Rebecca Lambe, executive director of the Nevada Democratic Party.
"Nevada knows this administration is not serving its interests."
But Gov. Kenny Guinn suggested Bush's numbers probably don't reflect his actual support in the state because of the media attention being lavished on the Democratic candidates.
"It's also very early," Guinn said.