The McCain campaign acknowledges it's up against a "big union force" in the state. But spokesman Rick Gorka argues that's countered by a stronger economic message from McCain.
Nevada has been hit harder than many states by the tumbling economy. Its foreclosure rate leads the nation, according to RealtyTrac.
Stalled construction projects mark the Las Vegas Strip, and unemployment has soared above the national average to 7.3%, according to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.
"Obama wants to punish hardworking men and women for their success by raising taxes, as opposed to saying that's your money," Gorka says. "That's such a backward way of looking at government."
It's a message that resonates with some of the same blue-collar workers that labor unions are seeking to coax to Obama's side.
"I don't want to be taxed," says April Haas, a press operator who owns a small shop in Reno. "If taxes are raised any more, it'll put me out of business."
She acknowledges she doesn't earn more than $250,000, Obama's target income for a tax increase. "But that doesn't mean I won't one day," she adds.
Damon reports for the Reno Gazette-Journal