Swing state analysis: Top issues for Nevada voters in the 2024 presidential election

Nevada has played a key role in the last several elections, and it appears 2024 will be no different. Experts say Nevada is a battleground state thanks to issues like immigration, abortion, and marijuana.

Nevada only has six electoral college votes but UNLV Associate Professor Rebecca Gill explains why the region is still important as a swing state in November.

"One of the reasons Nevada tends to be so important is that we have close margins in terms of Republicans and Democrats performing in these statewide elections and a lot of it depends on each camp's ability to determine who comes out to vote, so it’s really a mobilization game," she explained.

"There are a lot of cycles where if people in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, come out to vote, then the Democrat wins. And if they don’t come out to vote in large numbers, then the Republican wins," she continued. "And so my thinking is Nevada is always in play and it’s not that expensive to change the outcome here based on your ability to turn out the voters you need to shift things."  

Nevada fast facts

  • Population: 2,890,845
  • Registered Democrats: 709,758
  • Registered Republicans: 657,185
  • Registered voters: 2,339,496
  • Governor:Joe Lombardo
  • Electoral college votes: 6 (out of 270 needed to win)

How Nevada voted in 2020

Nevada voted Democrat and selected Joe Biden in 2020

How Nevada voted in 2016

Nevada voted Democrat and selected Hillary Clinton in 2016

File: The Reno Rodeo Cattle Drive, seen June 14, 2018. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

What are the top issues for Nevada voters in 2024? 

The two issues Nevada constituents are focused on for the 2024 election are the economy and immigration.

Issue: Economy

What Biden has said

One of the staples of President Joe Biden’s economic plan is housing. He wants to make housing affordable for Americans by enabling the construction and improvement of over 1 million affordable houses to enhance the nation’s housing supply while lowering prices for renters and homeowners, per WhiteHouse.gov

"If you look at the young voters, the things that they are concerned about are that they can’t afford to buy a house, they might have trouble even affording their rent so economics are a big issue," Gill said. 

Biden has also released some preliminary information about his tax plan where he wants to extend tax cuts but not for companies and wealthy people. Instead, the president would let tax cuts for wealthy people expire while preserving the reductions for people making under $400,000, FOX Business reported. 

He also wants to levy targeted tariffs to protect U.S. industries and workers. In May, Biden rolled out tariffs on Chinese exports of electric vehicles, solar panels, and solar panels. 

The commander-in-chief also has addressed making child care affordable, canceling even more student loan debt for borrowers, providing free college tuition, and lowering prescription drug prices. 

What Trump has said 

The Republican presidential frontrunner is touting a plan for a 60% tariff on all Chinese imports while imposing a 10% tariff on all U.S. imports to protect the nation’s manufacturing workers while improving the trade gap in the U.S. 

"Some of the ideas coming from Trump like replacing income taxes with tariffs might help Biden gain more ground, but that will take a lot of voter education to help people understand why those policies would be completely catastrophic if implemented," Gills explains. 

Trump has also touted cutting energy and electricity costs in the U.S. by increasing the production of fossil fuels.

During his first presidential term, Trump passed the Tax Cut and Jobs Act in 2017, but it expires in 2025. The law slashed corporate tax rates and changed how the nation taxes businesses in the U.S. while temporarily cutting personal income and estate taxes, changes that benefitted wealthy people and businesses.

Trump wants the tax law to be permanent if he is reelected for another term in the White House. 

FOX Business noted that Trump discussed lowering the corporate tax rate to 15% and eliminating taxes on tips for customer service workers.

Issue: Immigration

What Biden has said

Biden issued an executive order on border security on June 4 that included shutting down asylum processing along the U.S.-Mexico border if illegal crossings average 2,500 daily, the Associated Press reported.

"Biden has also made some moves with the border (immigration policy) and he has been hammering the Trump camp for scuttling the bipartisan border bill earlier this year.  But will it move numbers? Maybe," Gill says. It won’t take much since this is probably going to be another close race, barring the inevitable October surprises or other chaos before November."

When the order takes effect, migrants coming to the border who do not express fear of returning to their home countries will be removed from the U.S., and these migrants could face punishments, including a five-year ban from reentering the U.S. and possible criminal prosecution.

RELATED: Biden issues executive order on border security

The president wants to allow people coming to the U.S. to apply for legal status and citizenship and wants an improved visa process, particularly for foreign graduates of American universities. 

What Trump has said 

Donald Trump wants to end illegal immigration in a plan calling for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to undertake the largest deportation operation in U.S. history.

Trump wants to move troops and federal agents to immigration enforcement and wants to complete the construction of a border wall.

The former president is pushing to expand a travel ban to other countries. The original ban, launched during his first presidential term, targeted seven Muslim countries. He also wants to hinder government agencies from granting citizenship to the children of migrants in the U.S. illegally, requiring one parent to be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, so the kids can receive benefits like passports and Social Security numbers, the Associated Press reported. 

FILE-Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at the Desert Breeze Community Center polling place on November 08, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Wild card: Voter fatigue

A rematch between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the upcoming election has some voters . feeling weary and this could influence voter turnout among constituents in Nevada this fall. 

"I think we may be seeing that already even though neither of these two people (Biden and Trump) is on the ballot for the Nevada primary happening right now.  There’s some indication that the voter turnout may be underperforming so far in that Nevada primary election and I think there’s a lot of sentiment that people aren’t really paying that much attention just yet on the account of this fatigue and and this perhaps mistaken notion that we already know these two folks (Biden and Trump). I think that voters in Nevada may not have kept up as much about what has changed with these men since the last time they faced off in the presidential election."

Wild Card: Young voters in Nevada 

Voter turnout for younger voters will be critical in November’s election including in Nevada.

"Young voters will be very important just as they are everywhere.  There won’t be a huge difference in terms of how many votes separate the two candidates in the end. My guess is that Nevada will be pretty close so everybody’s vote really counts," Gill says.  "There’s a lot of buzz right now about young voters being disaffected with Biden particularly with issues related to Gaza (Israel-Hamas conflict). Most of the survey data I’ve seen nationwide has shown that this is sort of more a function of what the media is focusing on, and if you look at the young voters the things that they are concerned about that they can’t afford to buy a house, they might have trouble even affording their rent so economics are a big issue."

2024 swing states: Read more

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.