Senator Harry Reid and Sharron Angle are locked in a dead heat, says a new Mason-Dixon poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Senate majority leader would win 43% and Angle 42% of likely Nevada voters if the election were held today. The margin of error is +/- 4 points on the telephone survey of 625 registered voters taken this Monday through Wednesday. This is the second poll in as many weeks weeks commissioned by the R-J. The July 12-14 Mason-Dixon poll showed Reid seven points ahead of Angle, 44-37.
Angle’s post-primary plummet — she went from up by 11 to down by seven points in five weeks — can be attributed to a failure to effectively respond to merciless daily pummeling by the Reid campaign via radio and TV ads in which she was portrayed as “extreme” and “dangerous.” Reid’s barrage has successfully driven Angle’s negatives (47%) to nearly as high as his own (51%) according to this latest poll.
It is notable and a bit unexpected that in rural Nevada Angle’s support is down slightly — 56 percent for her to 27 percent for Reid — but in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located and which would typically lean heavily toward Reid, Angle is just eight points behind, 39-47.
Among nonpartisan voters, who will ultimately determine the election, Angle now leads Reid with 43 percent to 36 percent.
This week has seen a number of staffing changes in Angle’s office. Word is trickling out that the new team is now carving out a media strategy, determining the best use of the $2.6 million she raised in the last cycle, and gearing up to raise the millions more she will need to fend off the attacks that will keep coming from now through November.
I’m told the Reid campaign has made a huge statewide ad buy — by my estimates and extrapolations, the combined media buys in Las Vegas and Reno are probably close to $2 million — for the three to four weeks leading into the November elections. That may not sound like much ad money to media buyers and political operatives in California and states back east, but in Nevada it purchases a huge amount and frequency of airtime. Team Angle may well be feeling battered and bruised, but that’s nothing in comparison to what’s coming in October. Their fundraising machine had better be finely tuned. They’re going to need it.