A rolling average of projections compiled by the election forecaster FiveThirtyEight shows that Laxalt, the former attorney general of Nevada, overtook Cortez Masto late last week for the first time since May. He remains ahead by nearly a point about a month out from Election Day.
Laxalt’s lead comes after five consecutive polls put him ahead of the incumbent Democrat by spreads between one and four percentage points. The most favorable poll for Laxalt came from The Trafalgar Group. The poll, conducted between September 17-20, showed Laxalt beating Cortez Masto 47% to 43%.
“These polls capture what we are seeing on the ground here in Nevada. Between surging inflation, rising violent crime, the effects of an open border, and record-high gas prices, Nevadans are fed up with the failed Biden/Cortez Masto agenda and are ready for change,” Laxalt said in a statement last month.
“Cortez Masto’s desperate attack ads, which continue to be fact-checked and pulled off the air, only show Nevada’s voters how weak her campaign is. We look forward to Cortez Masto’s campaign conceding defeat in November,” he added.
Laxalt’s campaign has largely focused on economic and law and order issues, such as inflation, illegal immigration, and crime. Cortez Masto has tried to rebound by emphasizing abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade in June, but her attacks have not been enough to fend off Laxalt so far.
“Adam Laxalt has spent months trying to run away from his record of attacking women’s reproductive rights and, despite his recent comments, it’s clear he is still an automatic vote for a federal abortion ban,” Cortez Masto spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said in a statement last month.
In addition to Nevada’s race for U.S. Senate, Republicans in other statewide races in the Silver State are gaining on their Democratic opponents. In Nevada’s gubernatorial race, Republican Joe Lombardo has been closing the gap with incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak. The polling average tallied by FiveThirtyEight has Lombardo down just .3% after out of the last five polls, Lombardo won three and tied two.
Lombardo, the sheriff of Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, has run a similar campaign to Laxalt, emphasizing economic and law and order issues. Like his Democratic ally in the U.S. Senate, Sisolak has highlighted abortion and attempted to paint Lombardo as an extremist. The two gubernatorial candidates held their first debate of the race on Sunday.
Republicans in several other down-ballot races have also taken leads over Democrats in recent polls. Republicans running for Nevada attorney general, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state have all edged ahead of their opponents.