Democrat Jacky Rosen of Nevada is the only woman with a chance to unseat a male Republican Senate incumbent in the 2018 midterm elections Tuesday, and for Democrats to have any hope of taking control of the United States Senate, Rosen’s race is a must-win, according to an MSNBC report. Even though polls show her trailing one-term incumbent Dean Heller in a tight race, the state’s top political expert now predicts that Rosen will pull off an upset victory.
In 2012, when Heller was an underdog and had fallen well behind in early voting, journalist and Nevada politics expert Jon Ralston predicted that Heller would stage a comeback and win a narrow victory over Democrat Shelley Berkley by a single percentage point. And as Ralston wrote Sunday for the Nevada Independent, that is exactly what Heller accomplished.
With election day just two days away, Ralston now predicts that Heller will lose to Rosen, despite two new polls, likely the final polls taken in the race, that show Heller out front. Ralston’s pick also goes against a statistically-based prediction by FiveThirtyEight that Heller will eke out a hairs-breadth victory, by less than full point, over Rosen, who currently represents Nevada’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House.
“Quite simply, Heller does not deserve to win,” Ralston wrote. “He wanted to run for governor but was scared off by Adam Laxalt. He doesn’t even seem to be trying hard as a senator, sneaking away from the media in D.C. where reporters have even labeled an escape door after him.”
Ralston then offered his prediction. “Rosen, 48 percent; Heller, 46 percent; others and None of these candidates, six percent.”
The expert’s pick contradicts the Real Clear Politics polling average, that shows Heller with a lead of 1.4 points in the final 48 hours before the election that will determine his fate.
Democratic victories in Nevada Senate races are not unusual. Of 26 Senators since Nevada became a state in 1864, 13 have been Democrats and 13 have been Republicans. The junior senator from Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, is a Democrat who was elected in 2016, the same year that Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the state by 2.4 percentage points over Donald Trump, according to BallotPedia.
In five Nevada Senate race polls since the beginning of October, Heller has led in three and Rosen has led in two, with Heller’s largest lead coming in an October 12 Emerson College poll, which showed the Republican a full seven points ahead of his Democratic competitor.