Don't count Harry Reid out yet

Discussion in 'Politics' started by .........., May 28, 2010.


    For the first time in the better part of the last year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has reason for optimism as he looks toward his re-election prospects this fall.

    A new poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Media Research for the Las Vegas Journal shows Reid has pulled into a statistical dead heat with his two most likely Republican challengers this fall: former state party chairwoman Sue Lowden and former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle.

    Reid takes 42 percent to 39 percent for Angle while Lowden stands at 42 percent to 39 percent for Reid. Back in an April Mason-Dixon survey, Lowden held a 47 percent to 37 percent edge over Reid.

    Reid's image in the state has also improved over the last six weeks. Back in April, 33 percent of Nevada voters had a favorable impression of him while 54 percent saw him in an unfavorable light. In this poll, Reid's favorable score stood at 37 percent while his unfavorable rating was at 49 percent.

    While Democrats are certain to seize on these results to suggest that Reid is on the comeback trail, there are plenty of reasons to take such analysis cum grano salis.

    The main one is that Reid appears to be benefiting from the increasingly nasty primary fight between Angle, Lowden and, to a lesser extent, businessman Danny Tarkanian.

    Lowden, the one-time clear frontrunner, has struggled mightily to get out from under a self-inflicted wound caused by comments about a health care system based on bartering -- with chickens. (Yes, chickens.)

    Combine that gaffe with an increased focus on her brief record as a state legislator -- courtesy of a tough ad from the Club for Growth, which is supporting Angle -- and it's no surprise that the polling shows a genuine drop off for Lowden not just in her head to head matchup with Reid but also in her own favorability ratings.

    While Republicans are bashing each other on the television airwaves, Reid is running a trio of ads touting the benefits for Nevadans of the health care bill -- a nice politics vs. policy contrast that is likely accruing to his benefit as well.

    At issue for Reid is what we have taken to calling the "Corzine conundrum". That is, how does an incumbent who is universally known in his or her state -- not even one percent of Nevada voters said they didn't recognize Reid's name -- and pulling between 37 percent and 43 percent support in hypothetical general election matchups win?

    Thanks to a great poll archive on the Review Journal site, we can look at where Reid has stood in polls over the last six months (or so). Here's his BEST showing in any of the possible general election matchups by month:

    May 2010: 42 percent
    April 2010: 37 percent
    February 2010: 42 percent
    January 2010: 41 percent
    December 2009: 42 percent

    Given those numbers, what is Reid's path to 50 percent plus one? There's really only one: disqualify the Republican nominee.

    Reid will certainly have the financial resources to do just that. He ended April with $9.4 million in the bank as compared to $289,000 for Lowden and $120,000 for Angle.

    But, disqualifying an opponent is easier said than done -- particularly when there is real skepticism about the messenger. Given that, the most important time in the race may be the first month of the general election. Can Reid define either Lowden, Angle (or maybe even Tarkanian) in such a negative light that they can't recover? And, if not, what does he do next?

    By Chris Cillizza | May 28, 2010; 4:19 PM ET
    Categories: Senate
  2. Obama at 48 % on Rasmussen :)
  3. Reid is almost a 3-1 underdog on Intrade.
  4. I might take that bet
  5. Even the really old people, died-in-the-wool conservatives that I know here are suspect of Sue"chickens for payment" Lowden.