Heller-Berkley, Round Two: A Preview

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Political junkies may get their fill of debates tonight. Following the Vice Presidential debate, Senator Dean Heller and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley will also square off.

Their debate, staged in Las Vegas and televised throughout the state, is their second meeting.

For months now the two candidates have blasted each other in a series of mostly negative ads. And with the possible control of the U-S Senate riding in the balance, they've been joined by the national parties and outside groups, none of whom have raised the level of discourse.

Heller appears to be getting something of a coat tail effect from the post debate bump the Romney candidacy has received and appeared to have picked up a point or two from their first debate.

Berkley has been hitting Heller on his votes both as a congressman and Senator for a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program.

Heller and others have hit Berkley over ethics allegations concerning her support for medical legislation which may or may not have benefited her physician husband.

At the end of it all, we've been left with recent polls showing Heller holding onto a lead over the congresswoman. The margin has varied, but it has been consistent.

Those polls also show some movement in the favorable-unfavorable impressions voters have of the two, though the numbers for either leave little to brag about.

That and the percentage of voters who say they are inclined to vote "none of these candidates", eight percent in one recent poll, may say something about the effect of the mostly negative tenor of the campaign.

Heller appears to be getting a point or two of coat tail effect from the recent surge in the Romney campaign. It's not as clear the congresswoman has the same level of support in her party as they president.

Then there's the geographical element. Heller is much better known in the north. Berkley is a seven term congresswoman from Clark County.

It's unclear what effect the recent surge in registrations may have.

The fact that both sides are still spending heavily indicates with less than a month to go, this race is still in play.

The Heller-Berkley debate begins at 8 pm and will be carried live on KOLO 8.

We've invited three local voters to watch the debate with us and share their impressions in the special edition of KOLO 8 News Now following the debate at 9.