UNLV prof examines complexities of polling in Nevada

Nevada's polling oddities, including overestimating GOP support and a "newspaper's" horrible record with surveys, is explored in a post for Latino Decisions by UNLV Professor David Damore.

Damore found that polling here, as I have pointed out, has underestimated Democratic strength in surveys for the last three cycles, and he singles out Mason-Dixon, once used by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and Survey USA, now used by the "newspaper," as prime evidence of the phenomenon. Damore also explored the difficulty that pollsters have had gauging the Latino vote here, which clearly has helped exacerbate the GOP bias in many polls.

Damore's key findings:

  • Because Nevada lacks a benchmark poll such as the Field Poll in California or The Elon University Poll in North Carolina, polling done in the state is sporadic and conducted by out of state firms using a variety of methodologies.
  • During the past two decades, Nevada has been the fastest growing state in the country and the state has some of the highest rates of annual in and out migration as just 24.3% of residents were born in the state; the lowest share in the country.
  • Better than a quarter of Nevada’s population (27.4%) speaks a language other than English at home and roughly a quarter of adults in live in households that use only cell phones.
  • The state’s largest source of employment, the hospitality industry, necessitates that many Nevadans work and live non-traditional schedules.
  • The economic downturn hit Nevada particularly hard resulting in record foreclosures and significant population dislocation.
  • For statewide federal and state elections Nevada has a “none of these candidates” option and many Nevada elections feature minor party candidates; both of which are often excluded by pollsters.
  • Nevada’s voter registration is highly variable.  Between March and October statewide voter registration increased by 21% and in Clark County, home to nearly three quarters of the state’s population, registration increased by 26%.

Here's his full post.