Sabatos Crystal Ball

New polls: Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin

Republicans lead in Nevada, Democrats in Wisconsin; Cruz ahead in high-profile Texas Senate race

UVA Center for Politics October 24th, 2018

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New Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics polls show Republicans ahead in key races in Nevada and Texas, while Democrats lead in the Wisconsin Senate race and both parties are locked in a close race for the Badger State’s governorship.

These are the second polls that Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics has released of these states. The results in each states are as follows, with results from the previous polls in parentheses (* indicates incumbent):

Nevada Senate: Dean Heller* (R) 47%, Jacky Rosen (D) 41% (September: Heller 46%-43%)

Nevada Governor: Adam Laxalt (R) 46%, Steve Sisolak (D) 41% (September: Laxalt 43%-40%)

Texas Senate:  Ted Cruz* (R) 49%, Beto O’Rourke (D) 44% (September: O’Rourke 47%-45%)

Texas Governor: Greg Abbott* (R) 53%, Lupe Valdez (D) 38% (September: Abbott 50%-41%)

Wisconsin Senate: Tammy Baldwin* (D) 54%, Leah Vukmir (R) 39% (September: Baldwin 52%-39%)

Wisconsin Governor: Tony Evers (D) 48%, Scott Walker* (R) 45% (September: Evers 50%-43%)

The three polls were conducted online in English from Oct. 12 to Oct. 18 (Texas and Wisconsin) and Oct. 12 to Oct. 19 (Nevada). They feature 1,137 likely voter respondents from Nevada, 1,298 likely voter respondents from Texas, and 1,193 likely voter respondents from Wisconsin. More details, including tables, crosstabs, and methodological information, for all of these polls is available at:

Nevada: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/laxalt-leads-rosen-in-nevada-gubernatorial-race

Texas: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/cruz-leading-texas-senate-race

Wisconsin: https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/news-polls/wisconsin-gubernatorial-race-tied

Of the three polls, probably the best results for Republicans are in Nevada, where GOP candidates lead both the race for governor and Senate by slightly larger amounts compared to last month’s poll. If Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) holds on, it would all but eliminate any hope Democrats have of winning the Senate (or, realistically, of preventing a net loss), but polls do sometimes underestimate Democrats in Nevada. While early voting can be overrated as an electoral predictor, it is often useful in Nevada, and we recommend readers follow the daily updates from the Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston on early voting there. The Crystal Ball rates both Nevada statewide races as Toss-ups.

In Texas, a previous Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics poll was a rare survey that showed Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D, TX-16) with more support than Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). This poll is more in line with others by showing Cruz with a five-point lead, although some other recent surveys have shown him with a larger lead. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), meanwhile, has a larger lead than before and appears very well-positioned. The Crystal Ball rates the Texas Senate race as Leans Republican and the governor’s race as Safe Republican.

Finally, in Wisconsin, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) continues to lead state Sen. Leah Vukmir (R) by double digits, reinforcing incumbent Senate Democratic strength in the Midwest. The gubernatorial race, however, is tighter this time, with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers (D) holding a nominal three-point lead on Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who is seeking a third term. Evers was up by seven points in the last poll. These polls also generally reflect others: Baldwin has been clearly leading Vukmir while the governor’s race is close with perhaps a small edge to Evers. The Crystal Ball rates the Wisconsin Senate race as Likely Democratic and the governor’s race as a Toss-up.

President Trump’s approval rating among likely voters is significantly lower in Wisconsin (43% approve, 55% disapprove) than it is in Nevada and Texas, where his approval/disapproval split is 50%-49% in each state.

Reuters, Ipsos, and the UVA Center for Politics are collaborating this fall on several state-level polls. This is the third batch that has been released so far. Previously, this group released polls of five states in the Sun Belt, five mostly Midwestern states, Illinois and Missouri, and Georgia and Tennessee. More releases are planned in advance of the November general election. These individual state-level polls also will help supplement the data presented on the UVA Center for Politics/Ipsos Political Atlas, a new website that uses Crystal Ball ratings, poll-based modeling, and social media data to present the state of play in this cycle’s Senate, House, and gubernatorial elections. A holistic approach is also what we at the Crystal Ball apply to polling, and we try to take many different surveys into account as we formulate our ratings.