Interview: Where Does Nevada Stand Heading Into Election Day?

Nov 7, 2016

Nevada is shaping up to be a key battleground state that could determine the outcome of the Presidential race, as well as a key Senate seat.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick spoke with political analyst Precious Hall about where Nevada stands heading into this year’s election.

NG: Early voting have been released. Where do we stand on early voting? What have you seen so far?

PH: “Nevada is unique in that we’re one of the few states that pre-releases the early voting numbers, which some people argue is a little bit unfair. Because for states that don’t pre-release those numbers, for the few states that don’t have early voting, that can kind of sway how other people close to us in neighboring states vote. And that’s where we have the issue of it being sort of unfair.”

“With that being said, we have the numbers and the numbers show that we are leaning slightly Democratic. So it’s sort of expected at this point for Nevada to go to Hillary Clinton—but it’s going to be close.”

“That means nothing for Tuesday. If this election has taught us anything, it’s that this election defies all norms.”

The last poll I saw was within the margin of error. Do you have a sense of how close it is or how much it’s leaning Democratic as of right now?

“We have to be careful when we use and we talk about polling. However it is expected to be close. I think what we may wind up seeing is that the popular vote may be close, but there’s probably going to be an Electoral College win, hands-down undisputed win. I don’t think the Electoral College will be as close as the popular vote.”

Let’s shift gears to the other big ticket race in Nevada, and that’s the U.S. Senate race between Joe Heck and Catherine Cortez Masto. Where do we stand on that race?

“I think most people would have said up until about a month ago when the sexual harassment tape came out, and Joe Heck renounced his endorsement of Donald Trump, I think people might have said he would have actually won it.”

“I think Masto is going to take it, just because it’s been such a downhill trajectory for him for the past month. You have him renouncing his endorsement of Trump, then you have that commercial that’s been playing like crazy with him saying, ‘My voters don’t deserve to know who I’m going to support because it’s a personal decision.’ So the advertising and messaging from the Masto supporters has been sort of on point, so I think Masto is going to win. I again think it’s going to be a close race. I’m not going to say she’s going to blow him out, that it’s going to be hands-down. But I think it’s going to be close, and she’s going to win.”

“We probably will not have a final decision on the Senate race. We might actually be leading into a recount, just to make sure. I think it’s going to be close.”

So you’re actually predicting such a close race that it could actually lead to a recount?

“I’m going to say that. Now what we have to be concerned about is the down ballot voting. So you’re going to have a large group of people who just vote for the President and submit the ballot and that’s it, which is problematic for the rest of the races on the ballot.”

“So the reason I say that it might be so close is because I think there’s going to be a large group of people who just simply choose not to vote for those down ballot.”

How would you say the Presidential campaign is impacting some of these down ballot races?

“The candidates for President have been so controversial in and of themselves, that honestly I think the down ballot races haven’t had a chance to talk about themselves. They’ve only had an opportunity to defend who’s on their ticket at the top. Which I think is going to come back and haunt us in the end, because can we say we really say that we know what we’re really going to get with a Catherine Cortez Masto or a Joe Heck? Can we really say what their policy positions are? Or can we just say, ‘Well, she was a Democrat and I supported Hillary, so I’ll support her. Or, he was a Republican and I supported Trump, so I’ll support him.’”

“Because really the majority of their race has been about defending the top of their tickets, which is unfortunate for actually having substantial conversation about what you’re actually going to do.”

We’re hours away from being in the throes of elections, so anything else?

“Everything I’ve said could totally be proven wrong. You can predict, predict, predict, but that human factor, you can never accurately 100 percent predict. But hopefully we can live in peace no matter what happens.”