An internal poll conducted for the campaign of Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee shows the newly-minted senator with a slight lead over his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Shelley Berkley.
Heller leads Berkley among likely voters in the survey, 48 percent to 44 percent. Heller's lead is within the margin of error for the poll. Eight percent of voters were undecided.
The Republican poll counters a Democratic survey released last month that showed Berkley leading Heller by five points.
According to a memorandum composed by Republican pollster Dave Sackett, Heller sports a positive, "two-to-one job approval rating." The memo, however, does not provide the respective percentages of voters who approve and disapprove of Heller, so it is unclear how familiar Silver State voters are with their new Senator. Heller was appointed to replace former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., taking office just ten weeks ago.
The poll also shows that fully half of likely voters disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, and 51 percent disapprove of the job Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is doing. In a generic congressional ballot, a Republican has a slight, statistically-insignificant lead over a Democrat -- further emphasizing the degree to which Nevada is likely to be a key electoral battleground for all three different levels of federal office: president, Senate and House (though the later depends on the results of congressional redistricting, an issue now before the courts in Carson City).
The poll was conducted July 12-13 by the Alexandria, Va.-based Tarrance Group. The pollster surveyed 501 likely voters; the margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent.
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