If the figures from the latest Mason-Dixon survey hold true through Tuesday, Sharron Angle is going to surf this year’s anti-incumbent wave to a win in Nevada’s senate race. Angle leads Sen. Harry Reid by four percentage points (49-45), according to the new poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8NewsNow.
Two weeks ago the same pollster had Angle beating Reid, 47 percent to 45 percent. This latest poll was taken Monday through Wednesday of this week and surveyed 625 likely voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The survey shows Reid earning 84 percent of Democrats, and Angle holding 85 percent of Republicans. But the key is the independent vote, which the poll shows Angle pulling 55-38 percent. If that is true — or even half true, i.e. if Angle is up by 8 or 9 with independents — this race could indeed be hers, provided she holds her own in other areas.
The poll shows Reid beating Angle in Clark County, 49-45 percent, which would be quite a feat if she can achieve it. Democrats hold a voter registration advantage of 13 percent in Clark. However, the survey says Angle is winning Washoe County by the same four point margin, 49 to 45 percent. It also shows Angle crushing Reid in rural counties, 64-31 percent.
The Angle campaign told Battle ‘10 late yesterday the electoral math is simple: “stay within eight points in Clark, win Washoe, and bring home the rurals for the win.”
The R-J story on the poll cites Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, who has said he believes Angle will win but that it is the hardest federal race to call:
“Of all our predictions, I’m least certain about the Senate race in Nevada,” Sabato acknowledged in an interview. “Our assumption is, independents around the country have moved solidly behind the Republicans. But the Democrats are throwing everything they’ve got at the effort to save Reid. If Reid survives, it will be an escape worthy of Houdini. If Angle wins, it’s a measure of the strong anti-Democratic trends of the 2010 mid-term elections.
The survey showed only three percent of voters are undecided ahead of Tuesday’s election, while two percent chose the “none of these candidates” option and the remaining one percent picked a third party candidate. The other candidates on the ballot — including Scott Ashjian, the controversial man running as the “Tea Party of Nevada” nominee — were not named in the poll. Previous surveys showed Ashjian getting between one and five percent of the vote.
The poll sampled Republicans at 42 percent on the assumption that they will have the turnout edge, even though GOP voters make up just 37 percent of the state’s voter rolls.
As of yesterday, Democrats led Republicans by more than 10,000 raw votes statewide. Battle ‘10 will bring you this morning’s (pending) early vote totals as soon as they are available. Today is a state holiday and the last day of early voting in Nevada, so today’s turnout numbers will be interesting as well.