Back on May 27, just before the Republican primary in Nevada, I asked the question “Can Reid get re-elected in spite of himself?” Since then the primaries have been held with Sharron Angle emerging as the Republican candidate for Reid’s seat. Following the primary she enjoyed a substantial lead that was between six points and double digits depending on the poll. No more. In the most recent Mason-Dixon Poll, Reid has overtaken Angle and holds a seven point lead 44-37. The result is outside the margin of error, and the house effect at Mason-Dixon tends to be slightly conservative. The RCP average is now Reid plus 2.3.
More significant than the head-to-head numbers may be the 18 point rise in Angle’s negatives. The poll shows that Angle’s unfavorable rating has gone from 25% to 43%, while her favorable ratings have dropped five points into the low 30’s. Shortly after the primary Angle scrubbed her website of controversial positions and adopted an approach that avoided contact with main stream media while Reid and his allies pummeled Angle with ads about positions designed to show that she was outside the political mainstream. Included were Angle’s calls to abolish (phase out) Social Security, her opposition to saving a major construction project in Las Vegas and her support for the Yucca Mountain site as a repository for nuclear waste.
Nevada does not limit its ballot to voting for candidates. The state provides a “none of the above” option for voters. With Angle’s negatives at 43% and Reid’s at 46%, political observers can now begin to ponder whether None of the Above will be the Ross Perot of Nevada’s senatorial contest, allowing a candidate to “win” without a clear majority.
In related news, Politico reported yesterday that the U. S. Chamber of Commerce was considering sitting out the Nevada race and that the NRA was rumored to be close to an endorsement of Reid. The justification behind both moves seems to involve speculation that Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or Dick Durbin (D-IL) would take over as Senate Majority Leader in Reid’s absence. Reid has long maintained a close personal friendship with the Chamber’s president. Schumer and Durbin are viewed as unfriendly to Second Amendment issues by the NRA.
Cross posted at Elijah’s Sweete Spot.