Goodman versus Giunchigliani. Screw polls! Just get out and vote

Chris Giunchigliani and Carolyn Goodman shake hands while Katherine Duncan and Larry Brown leave the dais after a Las Vegas mayoral debate sponsored by various neighborhood associations Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.
Photo: Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

The race for Las Vegas’ next mayor is either very close or a done deal, depending on who you ask—or, in this case, what polls you read. A poll conducted by candidate Chris Giunchigliani last week had her at 43 percent, while her opponent, Carolyn Goodman, was at 45 percent. Goodman’s camp, meanwhile, released its own poll, showing Goodman with 53.4 percent and Giunchigliani with 31 percent.

What does this mean? Well, again, it depends on who you ask.

It certainly seems to mean polls are notoriously unreliable, at least in Nevada. We need only go back to last year’s Harry Reid/Sharron Angle Senate race to learn that. In June 2010, polls had Reid trailing Angle 48 percent to 41 percent. By August, Reid was favored over Angle by two percentage points, and in October, a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll had Angle over Reid by the same margin. Just a week before the election, a Rasmussen poll had Angle beating Reid 49 percent to 45 percent.

The result? Reid beat Angle by six points. Get the picture?

But polls can be effective, and not always in a good way. How many C.G. (or C.G.) supporters will look at their respective candidate’s clear lead in the polls and decide they don’t need to vote? The evidence from years past—in 2009 overall turnout for Clark County elections was 10.5 percent; in 2007, it was 15 percent—seems to indicate that’s exactly what some of you are doing.

So, those of you voting in this year’s mayoral race need to do the following: 1. Stop looking at polls. 2. If you must look at polls, never assume your candidate has the edge. 3. Get your ass off the couch and get to the voting booth.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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