The Campaign Spot

How Trailing by 1 Is a Major Improvement Over Trailing by 2

I said the last Rasmussen poll showing Sharron Angle trailing by 2 — down from ahead by 3 in early July and ahead by 11 in early June — was “abysmal” news. Today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal poll showing Angle down 1, 43 percent to 42 percent, is actually pretty good news, all things considered.

Before the inevitable “Jim, you’ve lost your mind,” I think a key factor to focus upon is the trends within each individual pollster’s results. Rasmussen suggested a steady slide. This new poll is from Mason-Dixon, one of the longest-running and best-established pollsters. In their last one, Reid led, 44 percent to 37 percent.

So in Mason-Dixon’s sense of the race, Reid still can’t break 44 percent and has slid a bit; Angle has stopped the bleeding and is actually getting back some of those supporters who were wavering. (Angle’s biggest lead in a Mason-Dixon poll was 5 percentage points, back in January.)

I’d like to see some other polls show the same trend before I declare disaster averted. And Angle’s still in a race where she has to demonstrate she’s a better option than Reid, not merely an alternative; I’m wary of Nevada’s “none of the above” being listed on the ballot. But this has got to be the most reassuring trailing-by-1 poll of this cycle.

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