How did Sharron Angle blow an 11-point lead on Harry Reid in seven weeks?
Polls suggest Sen. Harry Reid is now ahead of GOP challenger and 'tea party' favorite Sharron Angle. The GOP is sending reinforcements to beef up Angle's campaign staff.
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“The NRSC's move to bring in Jones comes as Republicans are starting to go public with worries that Angle and her campaign team are out of their depth running against Harry Reid,” reports Ben Smith at Politico.com. “While the Senate majority leader is deeply unpopular in Nevada, his campaign has effectively seized on his GOP rival's many gaffes to establish a lead in the polls.”Skip to next paragraph
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The main reason for the turnaround?
The Reid campaign keeps hammering on Angle’s past statements, apparently making effective use of his $9 million campaign warchest (several times larger than Angle’s).
It’s archived information from Angle’s earlier website touting controversial positions on Social Security, doing away with the US Education Department and other federal agencies, and approval of nuclear waste reprocessing at Yucca Mountain (highly unpopular among Nevadans). And it’s making effective use of Nevada’s fairly small and self-contained television markets in Reno and Las Vegas, says Professor Jelen. “TV time is pretty cheap in Nevada, and Reid can saturate it easily.”
There are more than 13 weeks until the general election – several lifetimes in politics – and things could change again for Reid and Angle, particularly given the sour mood among the electorate and the unknown influence of the tea party movement. Angel is now raising money at a comparable rate with Reid.
Citing the recent shift in Nevada polls, Politics Daily’s “poll watch” feature notes this:
“Not only do majorities of voters see each candidate unfavorably, the number of those who regard them ‘very’ unfavorably is high – 48 percent for Reid and 41 percent for Angle. Fifty percent of voters say Reid's views are extreme compared to 41 percent who say they are mainstream, with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-eight percent consider Angle's views extreme while 37 percent put her in the mainstream, with 6 percent unsure.”
Some things are beyond Reid’s control – like Nevada’s 14.2 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the country. And as his party’s leader in the Senate, he is closely tied to President Obama’s agenda – including controversial issues like health care reform.
In the end, Nevada’s US Senate race may come down to which candidate has the lower “unfavorable” numbers. That, and voter turnout, says Jelen. Angle has tea parties on her side, but Reid has enjoyed the support of culinary workers and other unions in Nevada.