RENO, Nevada — Despite efforts by Republicans to make inroads with Nevada’s Latino voters, early CNN exit polls show that outreach was largely unsuccessful.
The CNN exit polls, which compared more than 2,900 voter responses in the U.S. Senate race and the governor’s race, showed 62 percent of respondents who identified as Latino voted for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto over her opponent, former attorney general Adam Laxalt. In the governor’s race, Gov. Steve Sisolak received 62% of the Latino vote, compared to Republican Joe Lombardo’s 37%.
Still, it may be a sign that Latinos are increasingly breaking from the Democratic Party. Latino voters, who made up nearly 20% of the voters in Nevada in 2020 according to Pew Research Center, have historically voted Democratic. But some reports have suggested that support is narrowing, and an October Washington Post-Ipsos poll showed that although Democrats had a 27-point advantage with Hispanic voters, that number was down from nearly 40 points in 2018.
Latino respondents made up 12% of the sample in the CNN Senate race poll and 13% in the poll for the governor’s race. White respondents made up 67% of participants in both polls, while Black respondents made up 11% and Asian respondents made up 4%. “Other racial/ethnic groups,” made up the remaining 5% of respondents.
In both the governor and Senate race, 58% of white voters cast their ballot for the Republican, while 83% of Black voters chose their Democratic challengers. A majority of voters who identified as Asian voted for Cortez Masto, at 57%, and for Sisolak, at 54%. Respondents who chose “other racial/ethnic groups” voted for the incumbent Democratic senator with 48%, and the incumbent Democratic governor with 47%.
Exit polls have limitations, such as large margins of error, and are better used as a preliminary look at trends in the voting population rather than solid data, said Christina Ladam, a professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“You’re going to likely get people who are more to the extremes than the general voting population because these are the people who are comfortable with sharing their views,” she said.
But exit polls, despite their limits, can provide real time analysis, said University of Nevada, Las Vegas political science professor Dan Lee.
“It’s showing us a preliminary snapshot of what happened, and it kind of gives us a sense of what might have been going on,” he said.
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