A Mason-Dixon poll published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal show’s Reid up 7 points against Angle. The last time he held any lead against his opponent was the last Mason-Dixon poll which had him up by 3 points. Another poll that was taken in late May / early June by Research 2000 showed Reid with a comfortable 6 point lead. However, an ongoing lawsuit filed by Daily Kos against R2000 has put the pollster’s credibility into question.
That May/June lead was the last lead that Reid enjoyed in 2010. Polls going back to December 2009, long before Angle held the GOP nomination, showed Reid trailing Angle by up to double digits. This poll is good news for the Reid camp when there is little else in the way of good news. Reid has not campaigned on his record as much as he and his surrogates have tried to bring up Angle’s negatives. This tactic has been wildly successful according to Mason-Dixon; the poll found that Angles negatives have gone up from 25 percent in June to 43 percent today. This while Harry Reid’s negatives went down.
Ten percent of voters polled remain undecided and 4 percent would choose neither. That leaves plenty of room for movement, but this is news that Democrats will want to tout and a strategy that many embattled incumbents will seek to duplicate.
President Obama recently visited Nevada to campaign for Reid at several invitation-only receptions. Speculation on the effect of Obama’s appearance was a major talking point in Nevada papers. President Obama’s anti-Las Vegas statements early this year riled members of the business community in the state and some thought that Reid’s association with the president would only drive his approval rating down further. In fact, Obama’s appearance in the state does not seem to have any negative impact on Reid's numbers.
Both Angle and Reid have raised comparable amounts of money in June and the disparity in their cash on hand levels is minimal. It’s how they use it that will be instructive.
Angle’s only ad running statewide is a message on fiscal responsibly that invokes imagery of the depression with the drawn faces of teaming masses of unemployed:
Reid’s most widespread ad is on Angle’s position on social security:
Reid’s focus appears to be on highlighting some of the things that Angle has said in the past that make her volatile. Reid’s website is full of video of Angle lamenting the welfare state and disparaging unemployment insurance. Reid is betting that her positions on the social safety net will make her toxic and will overpower his negatives in the fall.
There is still plenty of campaigning to do, but the early results of this campaign appear to be proving this approach effective. We will see if the rest of the country’s endangered majority representatives follow suit.
Noah Rothman is the online editor at C&E. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org