Republican Sen. Dean Heller and Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley are in a virtual tie in Nevada, a key swing-state in the battles for both the White House and control of the Senate, according to a new NBC News/Marist poll released early Thursday.
Heller leads Berkley, 46 percent to 44 percent, well within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. Ten percent of voters are undecided.
Among male voters, Heller leads by 14 points, 52 percent to 38 percent. Berkley leads among women, 50 percent to 40 percent.
Berkley holds only a narrow lead in her Clark County base, 48 percent to 42 percent. In Washoe County, Heller's home county and the key battleground in the state's northwestern corner, Heller leads by 12 points, 51 percent to 39 percent. In the sparsely-populated rest of the state, Heller leads by a wide margin.
Heller leads Berkley by 15 points among white voters, while Berkley leads by 18 points among Latino voters, 57 percent to 39 percent. But Berkley trails Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's performance among Hispanics two years ago: According to the 2010 exit poll, Reid won Hispanic voters by a much wider margin, 69 percent to just 30 percent for Sharron Angle.
Nevada is expected to be a critical presidential battleground, and the poll shows Berkley marginally lagging President Obama's performance in the state. Obama leads Mitt Romney on the presidential ballot test, 48 percent to 46 percent, a virtual tie. But Berkley wins the support of only 81 percent of Obama voters, while Heller steals 10 percent. Among Romney voters, Heller leads Berkley, 86 percent to 8 percent.
The NBC News/Marist poll was conducted May 22-24, surveying 1,040 registered voters.