Poll done for Tarkanian shows him well ahead in congressional race, and it makes sense

Danny Tarkanian is dominating the GOP primary field in the race for Rep. Joe Heck's seat, an unsurprising result based on his overwhelming name recognition that has often buoyed him early in previous contests.

The survey, taken by Tarkanian campaign firm Chariot LLC, shows Tarkanian at 37 percent, followed by Assemblywoman Michele Fiore at 11 percent and state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson at 9 percent. The others candidates barely registered.

The poll also showed Donald Trump maintaining a 2-to-1 lead -- 50 percent to 25 percent -- over Ted Cruz among Republicans in the district. 

The live interview survey, taken March 21-23, has a relatively small sample -- 300 -- and a margin of error of 5.6 percent. (I have seen the entire poll, and the ballot test was taken after standard name ID and favorability rating questions about the candidates and Gov. Brian Sandoval, who remains very popular among Republicans.

The survey numbers echo a poll done last year and make intuitive sense. Tarkanian has that famous father and has been on the ballot four times. No one knows who Roberson is -- nobody knows their legislators -- and too many people, for her sake, know who Fiore is. 

Ninety-three percent of CD3 voters could identify Tarkanian while only 35 percent (that seems high, actually) knew Roberson, half as many as recognized Fiore's name. The favorability ratings tell an interesting story, too. Forty-three percent rated Tarkanian (on a 1-10 scale) from 7-10, and 50 percent from 1-6; of those who know Roberson, and the number was so small as to hardly be statistically significant, he gets 25 percent from 7-10; and Fiore gets 30 percent from 7-10 and 54 percent from 1-6, an ominous sign for her and a real opening for Tarkanian to capture the anti-Estabishment vote.

A few other observations on the poll:

►Tarkanian has been here before and before and before. He always starts high in the polls because of name recognition and then tumbles after campaigns are run against him. Will this race be different? He had $432,000 on hand at the end of the last quarter (new reports coming in two weeks), which was only $140,000 behind Roberson. He has money and talk-radio loves him.

The poll starkly outlines Roberson's challenge. He will have to spend money to get known and to damage Tarkanian (a kitchen sink soon coming to a mailbox near you). He is a fundraising machine, and he will need every last dollar to get through the primary, especially if the Democrats meddle and try to help Tarkanian and/or Fiore. Sandoval may be able to help Roberson -- 64 percent rate him 7-10 -- but not all that much, I'd guess.

Fiore, as I have said from the beginning, cannot win. She has little money and her numbers are upside down. I suppose she could hope for a miracle -- Roberson and Tarkanian destroy each other, and she's left standing amid the rubble. But that seems as unlikely as Trump becoming president.

Uh oh.