The Campaign Spot

The Nevada Senate Race Remains Locked in Place: A Dead Heat

The latest Mason-Dixon poll: Harry Reid 45, Sharron Angle 44.

The polls, since the M-D poll showed Reid ahead by 7 and Angle’s big ad campaign began: Reid by 2, Reid by 2, Reid by 1, Reid by 4, Reid by 2, Angle by 2, Reid by 1.

I think this validates the advertise-big-and-advertise-early strategy of the Angle campaign, discussed here:

For a long while, everyone in Nevada politics has known Reid had one shot at reelection: Define Angle early, destroy her reputation in an onslaught of negative ads, and eke out a victory in a low-turnout matchup.

“Reid gets it, but he thinks we’re going to play by the normal challenger playbook and sit on our cash,” says Jordan Gehrke, deputy campaign manager for Angle. “Republicans across America will be there to support us if we’re still in a competitive race after Labor Day. But that means they have to see us fighting back now, and so that’s what we’re doing.”

Before the GOP primary June 9, Angle generally held a modest lead when pitted against Reid in polls. But after Angle pulled off a surprise win in the primary, Reid put his campaign fortune to work with a series of negative ads. His barrage charged that Angle “wants to wipe out Social Security,” noted that she had appeared to compare Social Security to welfare, hit her for her past interest in a controversial prison drug-treatment program, and slammed her for a campaign-trail declaration that “I’m not in the business of creating jobs.”

Sensing that Reid’s ads were starting to establish Angle’s reputation in Nevada voters’ minds, the Angle camp responded with advertising of its own, roughly a half-million dollars’ worth — like the current buy, this was a lot of expensive air time for such a slow period. These ads featured Angle speaking before an audience of senior citizens, articulating widespread voter worries about debt and deficits, and promising the “opportunity to change the direction of our country: Government is not the solution to the problem; government is the problem.” A follow-up showed her taking on Reid’s slogan that “no one had done more”; she said that considering the results, fed-up voters wish he would “please stop.” The goal was simple: to show Nevadans that she was a normal woman who shared their concerns, nothing like the monster depicted in her rival’s commercials.

Shortly after Angle’s campaign began its counteroffensive, the Mason-Dixon poll showed her rebounding, from trailing Reid by six to trailing him by a single point. Then Reid, and supposedly independent groups that were in reality aligned with the Democratic candidate, spent another couple million, upping the ante. The plan is for the Angle campaign to maintain this current 1,600 points–per–week pace for the remainder of the election, with an increase after Labor Day.


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