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NV-Sen: Sen. Heller trails Rosen in late poll; race considered a toss-up

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) (L) and U.S. Rep Jacky Rosen (D-NV) prepare for their debate at KLAS Channel 8 Studios on October 19, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Locher-Pool/Getty Images)

A late poll released Monday shows Rep. Jacky Rosen has a four-point lead over Republican Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race, according to The Hill.

What the numbers say: The Emerson College poll showed the Democratic candidate Rosen leading Heller 49 percent to 45 percent. The poll's margin of error is +/- 3 percent, and 4 percent of voters responded that they are still undecided. Just a few weeks ago, Emerson College polling showed Heller leading Rosen by 7 points.

What is the Trump effect here? Heller has hitched his wagon to President Donald Trump after initially opposing Trump as the Republican presidential nominee and early in his first term. That doesn't seem like a bad decision so far, as Trump's favorability rating in the state is higher than either Heller's or Rosen's. Trump is viewed favorably by 47 percent of respondents, while Heller sits at 43 percent and Rosen at 42 percent favorability.

Something to watch for: Early voting numbers in Clark County favor Democrats, which some political analysts believe is significant to the final results.

What do they say about each other? Rosen has attempted to make this race about healthcare, pointing to Heller's initial opposition and eventual support of Obamacare repeal. Related to that, Rosen has tried to use the healthcare issue to show that Heller will choose to support Trump over Nevadans.

Heller's campaign has painted Rosen as a candidate who has accomplished little in her current position in the House of Representatives, and has emphasized her voting record alignment with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as her ties to "coastal elite" liberals in California and New York.

What do they say about themselves? Rosen is running as a mainstream Democratic candidate who touts her bipartisan record in the House and her own personal history of hard work (waiting tables to get through college) and building a business (a somewhat disputed claim based consulting work she has done). She takes a liberal stance on immigration issues and emphasizes the need to protect Obamacare from Republican repeal and replace efforts.

Heller's campaign is based on his familiarity with the people of Nevada, and their familiarity with him, as well as the success of the state economy and his role in drafting the Republican tax reform law. Despite his alliance with Trump, he is still regarded as something of a middle-of-the-road Republican who can appeal to independent voters.

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