More good news for the GOP and the Senate: Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com has moved the race in Nevada between incumbent GOP Senator Dean Heller and Democrat Jacky Rosen to Lean Republican, giving Heller a 3-in-5 chance of winning and Rosen a 2-in-5 chance. Heller’s forecasted vote share is 49.5%, while Rosen’s is 47.9%.
Of the ten polls taken since September 1 that Silver’s group mentions in their data, six favored Heller while four favored Rosen. The largest margin favoring Heller, a seven-point bulge, came from the Emerson College poll conducted from October 10 through October 12; the largest margin favoring Rosen, a four-point bulge, came from the CNN/SSRs poll conducted from September 25 through September 29.
Fivethirtyeight.com explained that the normal advantage of Heller’s incumbency had been minimized: “Dean Heller has been elected to 1 term. Congress has only an 18.7% approval rating, reducing the incumbency advantage. The incumbency advantage is largest in small states with distinctive demographic patterns. Nevada is a small state with somewhat distinctive demographics, so the incumbency advantage will be about average there.”
Vis-à-vis fundraising, the statistics site wrote, “As of Sept. 30, Jack Rosen had raised $13,642,000 in individual contributions (67% of all such contributions to the major-party candidates); Heller had raised $6,713,000 (33%). Because challenger fundraising tends to lag incumbent fundraising, we expect Rosen’s share of the money to eventually rise to 67%.”
On Wednesday, Ipsos, in partnership with Reuters and the University of Virginia Center for Politics, released the results of a poll that found Heller leading by six points, 47%-41%.
On Thursday, Jon Ralston of Ralston reports took note of the early voting that had taken place. He wrote:
If Heller and Rosen are holding 90 percent of their bases and getting 5 percent of the other’s and each are getting 45 percent of indies: Rosen is ahead by 3,000 votes, or 1.3 percent. If they are at 90-5 with the bases and Heller is ahead by 50-45 with indies: He is losing by 850 votes, or .4 percent
If they are at 90-5 with the bases and Rosen is ahead by 50-45 with indies: She is ahead by 5,000 votes, or 2.2 percent. If they are at 90-5 with the bases and Heller is ahead by 50-40 with indies: He is ahead by 1,300 votes, or .6 percent
If they are at 90-5 with the bases and Rosen is ahead by 50-40 with indies: She is ahead by 7,000 votes, or 3.1 percent. If Trump has helped Heller hold 90 percent of the base and Rosen can only hold 85 percent and they split indies, Heller is ahead by 1,800 votes, or .8 percent.
National Review noted:
Heller is the only Republican incumbent defending a Senate seat in a state that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential race — although she did so by just 2.4 points. Rosen, meanwhile, has been in Congress for only one term, elected to represent Nevada’s third congressional district in 2016 by a mere 1.2 percent margin. Six weeks ago, polling gave observers good reason to believe that Rosen was well within striking distance of Heller, making the Nevada seat perhaps the biggest pickup opportunity in the Senate for Democrats. Over the last month, that possibility has started to look far from certain, and in fact much less likely.