know about Abortion rights take center stage, Cortez Masto leads Laxalt in NV
Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, long considered one of the most threatened Democrats in an evenly divided US Senate, now appears to be on the rise less than 100 days from a crucial midterm election that could define control in the upper house of Congress.
A new Reno Gazette Journal/Suffolk University poll asked 500 likely midterm voters in early August to cast their ballots in a hypothetical matchup between the first-term senator and Republican rival Adam Laxalt, who is running as the endorsed candidate. by Donald Trump.
Cortez Masto, the nation’s first Latina senator, defeated the Republican establishment’s preferred candidate, 45 percent to 38 percent.
It’s a 10-point change in direction for Cortez Masto since April, when the RGJ and Suffolk University conducted a similar poll ahead of Nevada’s June primary.
In less than four months, the poll found, Cortez Masto widened her lead over Laxalt among women voters from 6 percentage points in April to 23 percentage points and closed the deficit among white voters. In April, Laxalt had a 24-point lead among white voters over Cortez Masto. Today, her lead over that voting bloc is just 3 percentage points.
“Cortez Masto really came through the summer, even with some poor polling in the spring, and turned a three-point deficit in April into a seven-point lead today,” said David Paleologos, director of the Center for Policy Research at Suffolk University. in Boston, he told the USA Today Network. “She has focused on the issues that are motivating not only Democrats, but are moving independents in her direction.”
How will the abortion stance affect votes?
Cortez Masto’s recovery closely follows other competitive Senate races across the country where Democrats have gained ground in the polls amid the US Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade and erase the constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years.
Sigalle Reshef, a spokesperson for the senator’s campaign, said in a statement, “His opponent, Adam Laxalt, has spent his career attacking the rights and freedoms of Nevadans, including calling Roe v. Wade a ‘joke,’ which is why which voters will reject again this fall.”
A clear majority of Democratic voters across the country say the court’s action makes them more likely to vote in November, a turnout surge that could stave off Republican hopes of a red wave this fall fueled by current economic conditions and inflation.
Abortion rights in Nevada have been written into state law since 1990. Still, abortion access is now the top issue among Nevada Democrats and the second-biggest issue Nevadans face across the board behind the economy, according to an RGJ/Suffolk survey. .
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, a clear majority of Nevada voters said a candidate’s opinion on abortions would affect their vote in November, according to the poll. Forty percent said it “would have a big impact” on their vote. But a breakdown of the polls shows a very different story among Republican voters in Nevada.
Only 3 percent of Republicans who participated in the poll ranked abortion as their top issue, and 39 percent said a candidate’s stance on abortion would “not at all” affect their vote in November.
Reproductive rights take center stage along the way
In Nevada, the death of Roe v. Wade came just 10 days after the state’s closely watched June primary election.
Shortly thereafter, reproductive rights and access to abortion became a front-line issue in Cortez Masto’s re-election campaign. Today, he continues to host statewide rallies and roundtables with reproductive rights activists, events in which he portrayed Laxalt as an extremist, anti-abortion candidate who would be an “automatic vote in the Senate for a national abortion ban.” .
“Elections are coming up,” Cortez Masto said at a rally in Las Vegas a week after the Supreme Court decision, “and whoever wins this seat will determine whether or not there will be support for that federal abortion ban.”
A Republican-controlled Congress could very well pursue a federal ban, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, previously told USA TODAY that a national abortion ban is “possible,” but that he still there aren’t enough votes in the Senate to make it happen.
Laxalt, who calls himself “pro-life,” wrote in an opinion column published by the RGJ that it is “a falsehood that would support a federal abortion ban as a US senator.”
However, he has said he would support a new referendum to restrict abortion access in Nevada from 24 weeks to 13 weeks.
“If you’re a Republican,” Paleologos said, “you’re probably hoping that attention on abortion will die down and go back to the economy.”
‘An equalizer against the bad economy’
In fact, Laxalt’s campaign told the USA Today Network that he is “confident that as voters focus on the November election they will begin to hold Cortez-Masto accountable for the Biden-Harris agenda, she has been a hallmark rubber for almost 100% of the time,” pointing to Nevada’s rate of inflation and Nevada’s average gas price of $5 per gallon, the third highest in the nation.
“From a Democratic standpoint,” Paleologos said, “the abortion issue now front and center has been an equalizer against the bad economy, so much so that the incumbents now lead.”
Like Cortez Masto, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak’s first term has brought reproductive health care to the forefront of his re-election campaign.
He also had a lead over his opponent, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, in the August poll. Like Laxalt, Lombardo has been endorsed by Trump.
But will it be enough to fend off a Republican sweep in November?
“The polls are just a snapshot in time,” Paleologos said, “so we don’t know if this Democratic rally is temporary or if it’s the start of a trajectory where Democrats really start to build public support.”
One thing is certain, according to Paleologos. Cortez Masto is closing the deficit.
“When abortion has been a central issue for three months, and you open up the kind of lead with women voters like Cortez Masto has done,” she said, “that’s a very sharp strategic move, which may not necessarily be reversed.”
Rio Lacanlale is the Las Vegas correspondent for the Reno Gazette Journal and the USA Today Network. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @riolacanlale. Support local journalism subscribe to the RGJ today.