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Republican Adam Laxalt Is Still Favored in Nevada's Crucial Senate Race

AP Photo/John Locher, File

The Nevada Senate race between Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Republican Adam Laxalt has been one to watch from the start. Cortez Masto is a particularly vulnerable incumbent, and Laxalt is a particularly strong opponent. The polls and forecasters have reflected as much. Decision Desk HQ, which had already moved this race to the "Toss Up" category last month, gave Laxalt a higher percentage of winning for the first time in the race on Wednesday. It's worth noting that this forecaster places a heavy importance on incumbency. 


In a video update from that day, forebodingly titled "Democrats Senate Chances Crumble," Dr. Liberty Vittert made note of this specific race. At such a point, "Nevada remains the GOP's best chance of a pick-up," Vittert shared. 

She had begun the video by noting "we've seen a significant shift in the environment towards the GOP." While Decision Desk HQ still believes there will be a 50-50 Senate, the chances are much lower, with the forecast going below 60 percent for the first time when it comes to Democrats retaining their majority through Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote. 

Vittert referred to the 53.9 percent chance from Wednesday as "tiny" and noted it was "the Democrats' worst showing in our model since July 25." As a result, this is "huge news" for the Republicans, with the trend having moved in their direction, Vittert explained. 

As to why the momentum, Vittert pointed to polling, fundraising, and "really an increased strength in the generic ballot."

Decision Desk HQ also highlighted the change on Twitter earlier this week as well.


Since Wednesday's update, though, Laxalt's chances have seemingly plummeted, going from a 51.3 percent chance of winning to 39.7 percent chance. The race is still consider a "Toss Up," though. 

What changed? It appears that would be the addition of a few highly suspect polls, especially from University of Nevada, which showed Cortez Masto with a lead of 13 percentage points, 52 percent to Laxalt's 39 percent. 

Phillips Academy also had Cortez Masto up, by only 1.7 percentage points though, with 48.9 percent to Laxalt's 47.9 percent. It's worth highlighting that the poll of 1,052 likely voters was conducted by a high school via text message. 


RealClearPolitics (RCP) which included neither of those polls, has Laxalt with a +1.2 lead. They too consider the race to be a "Toss Up" and project a "GOP Pick Up."

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