Bundy, Hansen, and Lord, oh my



A couple-three observations from the Reno Gazette Journal/Suffolk University poll released Tuesday…

Third party candidates are notorious for performing better in polls than in elections. People who tell pollsters they support third party candidates tend to have a gut check in the ballot booth, and end up voting for the candidate who seems to most closely reflect what they believe — or who offends them the least — and who also has a chance to win.

In Nevada, the third party candidates garnering the most support in the RGJ poll are decidedly from the right. Barring spectacular surges from the boutique candidate of their choice, many of the voters who support those candidates today will likely break in the GOP’s favor in the end.

The poll found Democrat Steve Sisolak with a narrow lead over Republican Adam Laxalt in the race for governor, 37-35, with 15 percent undecided. It also shows Ryan Bundy, of the wingnut-industrial Bundys, garnering 4 percent. Libertarian Jared Lord polled even better than Bundy, with 5 percent. And an Independent American Party candidate had 1 percent. That’s 10 percent of those polled who seem to think Adam Laxalt, who would be the most right-wing governor in Nevada’s history, is too liberal. And when — not if, but when — they peel off from their niche extremist of choice, they’ll peel toward the far-right candidate with the best chance of winning, i.e., Laxalt.

A similar scenario plays out in the race for attorney general. Democrat Aaron Ford, Republican Wes Duncan and undecided are in a statistical dead heat, at 30, 28 and 29, respectively. Independent American Party candidate Joel Hansen is polling at 10 percent. That’s a pretty stout showing and the Hansens are area IAP celebs or whatever so a fair portion of that support may stick with Hansen to the end. But some of it is also bound to drift to Duncan.

The third-party showing in the Heller-Rosen race, at least in the poll, is far less pronounced — a couple points each for the Libertarian and the IAP. But that race is, was, and will likely remain razor close to the end. Rosen’s lead is slim. And it’s today.

The poll tells us in large part what we already knew: A) Races at the top of the ballot are super close, and B) the future of civilization depends on Nevada women turning out to vote.

A couple other gleanettes from the poll:

Roberson is in third place in the race for lieutenant governor. Michael Roberson has 26 percent, Kate Marshall has 29 percent, and leading this race, at 31 percent, is Undecided. This is as it should be, because (as I’ve contended over and over for a long time) no elected office in this or any other state is as inconsequential and pointless as the part-time job with no inbox that is Nevada lieutenant governor, and people are right not to give it any consideration at all.

Senior citizens hate Question 3. The apparent congealing of public opinion against this inane special interest ballot clutter — 51 percent opposed to 32 percent support — is easily the most pleasant surprise of the RGJ poll. The measure’s strongest support comes from young people, which may seem odd until one remembers that they’ve had Reagan-Thatcher neoliberalism so drilled into their noggins their entire lives, and have become so convinced that they must scrape and claw and fight to promote their brand and win(!) the market contest that is life itself, that they instinctively assume “competition” is a good thing. This does not bode well for the planet’s future. Meantime, say what you will about senior citizens, sometimes they know ballot clutter when they see it. And they see it. Sixty percent of those aged 65 to 74 oppose Question 3. Among those aged 75 & up, 78 percent(!) of those polled were opposed.

Everybody wants background checks. Even in the rurals.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.


  1. “[quote from the article about Sisolak-Laxalt, Ford-Duncan, and Rosen-Heller races being essentially tied]”

    From the Onion: “Obama Urges Young Voters To Ignore How Many Lousy Candidates Democratic Party Runs”

    “Less than one in five young Americans voted in the 2014 midterms because our party ran very few good candidates, and we implore you to go out and vote this time even though we’re doing that again.”


    • I initially c/ped the actual quote, but the system wouldn’t let me post that version of the comment because it was too long. Which was annoying in this specific instance, but is overall a good rule I think!


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