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Harry Reid vs. Sharron Angle: this season's must-see political slugfest

The US Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle in Nevada is so close and the stakes are so high that the political world is riveted.

By Staff Writer / August 27, 2010

In this June 8 photo, Sharron Angle shakes hands of supporters in Las Vegas after winning the Nevada Republican Senate primary. She is now facing Senate majority leader Harry Reid in a close race.

Isaac Brekken/AP/File

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Washington

Every few election cycles a congressional contest comes along that features such high stakes, such combative opponents that it becomes a jaw-dropping political thriller that fascinates average voters and political professionals alike.

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Harry Reid versus Sharron Angle is one such race.

Republicans would love to defeat Senate majority leader Reid (D) of Nevada, and they have a good chance to do so.

Senator Reid has become very unpopular in his state, in large part due to his work pushing bank bailouts and health-care reform through the Senate. A just-released Mason-Dixon poll has Reid in front of Ms. Angle, his GOP opponent, by only 1 percentage point.

That’s a precarious spot for an incumbent with the election only months away.

But Angle’s image with Nevada voters is just awful. Here’s a tidbit from that same poll: about two-thirds of Angle’s backers said they wish someone else had won the Republican nomination. That means a large majority of her current supporters will, in essence, hold their noses at the ballot box this fall.

Wow.

The unfavorable ratings of both candidates are high, according to the new poll. Fifty-two percent have a negative opinion of Reid. Forty-three percent have an unfavorable view of Angle.

And this is all taking place in an unsettled political year in which hitting hard and hitting early maybe the key to victory. Define the other person before they define you. That seems to be the lesson from Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s surprise troubles in Alaska.

So what’s the bottom line? Reid versus Angle has become the political equivalent of two scorpions fighting in a bottle. The pair is striking at each other with sharp negative ads – Reid painting "tea party" favorite Angle as someone with extreme views and Angle depicting Reid as someone joined at the hip with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama.

Don’t believe us? Here's a new Reid spot that brings up Angle’s past statements about armed insurrections against the government:

And here's an Angle ad that talks about Reid and Speaker Pelosi:

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