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New Poll Reveals Reid's Vulnerability



New polling indicates that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could be a big target for Republicans in 2010. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg News)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in a precarious position as he seeks a fifth term in 2010 -- viewed unfavorably by half of the Nevada electorate with a similar number saying they will vote to replace him next fall, according to a new independent poll released today.

Just 38 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of Reid as compared to 50 percent who had an unfavorable opinion in a Mason-Dixon poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Asked whether they were planning to vote to reelect Reid next fall or would vote to replace him, 35 percent said they would cast a vote for Reid while 45 percent said they planned to replace him. Another 17 percent said they would consider replacing Reid.

More (potentially) troubling for the Democratic leader was the fact that just 61 percent of self-identified Democrats said they planned to vote to reelect Reid. Looked at one way, that means Reid has room to grow among base voters. Looked at another, the very people among whom Reid should be strongest are pretty strongly divided in their attitudes toward him.

Reid allies argue that the Review-Journal's polling have consistently undersold Democratic performance in recent races, noting that the final survey conducted for the paper in 2008 showed President Obama leading Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) 47 percent to 43 percent even though the Democrat ultimately won by 12 points.

Maybe, but the reality is that the Review Journal poll is far from the only survey that has shown Reid in serious trouble in his reelection race. A poll done late last year for the liberal Daily Kos blog, which makes no secret of its animus toward Reid, echoed the job approval and reelect numbers of the Review Journal data.

Given Reid's shaky standing, it's somewhat remarkable that no prominent Republican has stepped forward yet to challenge him. National Republicans have focused their recruiting on Rep. Dean Heller who was elected to the 2nd district in 2006. In the Review Journal poll, Heller is not widely known statewide with 30 percent of voters viewing him favorably and 15 percent seeing him in an unfavorable light.

Combine Reid's poll numbers with the fact that taking out a leader of the opposing party has become a major priority in recent years -- Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) was defeated in 2004, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came close to losing last fall -- and it's hard to imagine that Republicans won't find someone credible to take on the top Democrat in the Senate.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 19, 2009; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

You underestimate the Republican ability to blow this too. See NY race to replace the appointee to the Senate. SEE Minnesota incumbent beaten by a comedian.????
How much is the Rep party willing to spend to win? How will they muzzle the likes of Rush and friends?
How will they counter the efforts of the Pres. and the rest of the Senate?

Posted by: rdimberio | May 20, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Given Reid's incoherent cowardice on the Gitmo issue, inter alia, I don't really much care if he stays or goes. There pros and cons of either scenario are more or less in balance.

Posted by: nodebris | May 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Campaigns are like wars.. you don't fight this one based on your success in the last one... every war is different..

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 20, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

bradcpa writes
"Remember Reid did survive 2004 and he did not get elected five times by being stupid. He is a tough cookie…"

Along those lines, I was somewhat surprised that the Fix didn't add to this post the same qualifier he used to add to posts on Specter's political future... i.e. that other forecasts of his demise have been premature...

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 20, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

F Blade..
Read Mother Jones' article about Reid and the Gold/Silver mine lobbies..

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 20, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

No doubt Reid has some concerns but I would not over play them. Obviously the Mason-Dixon poll has not figured out that Republicans are only 21% of the electorate and that will really skew a poll. Reid needs to do some polling and figure out what is going on. Remember Reid did survive 2004 and he did not get elected five times by being stupid. He is a tough cookie… he is the only Senator who boxed professionally.

Posted by: bradcpa | May 20, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

At least no one is talking about the thread topic.

Posted by: JakeD | May 20, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

"I mean, Alan Keyes went to Cornell and Harvard. Bush went to Yale and Harvard. Such a degree only entitles you to a *presumption* of intelligence, which presumption your own words and actions are entirely sufficient to nullify. As is the case with jaked."

I had a professor who had a sister who went to law school with Clarence Thomas. Apparently the guy spent a lot of time in his room watching porn.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 20, 2009 4:24 AM | Report abuse

jaked? Plagiarism?

Lord, the guy spews unattributed Limbaugh talking points like he's reciting the catechism. But is such garbage really entitled to copyright protection? I guess in theory, but as a practical matter, do you really care who originally authored vomit or how many stomachs it has been through?

If he's a plagiarist, it's the least of his vices.

Posted by: nodebris | May 20, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I totally believe jaked has a law degree from Stanford. I've known a sufficient number of very successful idiots to make this seem totally plausible.

His mistake is in thinking this credential gives him sufficient credibility to cover the obvious idiocy of his expressed ideas. What he fails to grasp, I think it that his association with Stanford does not elevate one's opinion of his blog posts, but rather debases one's opinion of a Stanford law degree.

I mean, Alan Keyes went to Cornell and Harvard. Bush went to Yale and Harvard. Such a degree only entitles you to a *presumption* of intelligence, which presumption your own words and actions are entirely sufficient to nullify. As is the case with jaked.

Posted by: nodebris | May 20, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Wrong, Jake. The claim of authorship is implicit in the absence of attribution. Underneath it reads "Posted by JakeD." But only part of it was. You can't weasel out of this any more than you can back up your claim of having a law degree (or any kind of degree).

My guess? You're on psychiatric disability, sitting at home with nothing to do.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 19, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? As I already told you on that thread: "There's no plagerism because there's no false claim of authorship. Just as there's no copyright violation because of the 'fair use' doctrine." CITE: JakeD (May 19, 2009) http://voices.washingtonpost.com

Again, nice try. Maybe next time ...

Posted by: JakeD | May 19, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 19, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

I don't have a dog in the GOP hunt -- but they have a better chance than "no hope for recovery" that's for sure -- the youth vote for Obama is going to become very disillusioned very quickly.

Posted by: JakeD | May 19, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

"As was pointed out on the other thread, party id is not necessarily indicative of electoral success. In 1980 & 1984, people voted for the man, not the party. Note, for instance, that the GOP did not take over Congress for another 10 years after Reagan's 49 state win, in 1994."

Yup. This time Democrats have the higher party identification, one of the most charismatic incumbents ever, AND being the one to fix the mess of the opposition party. In 1984, the Republicans had the advantage on the last two points.

Plus partisanship is a lot higher now than it was 25 years ago. People are less apt to vote for the opposite party.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 19, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"The GOP had a lower number of self-identifying party members in the fall of 1983 -- so, the reports of their death are greatly exaggerated -- please look up the 1984 Electoral Map when you get a chance."


As was pointed out on the other thread, party id is not necessarily indicative of electoral success. In 1980 & 1984, people voted for the man, not the party. Note, for instance, that the GOP did not take over Congress for another 10 years after Reagan's 49 state win, in 1994.

More troubling for the GOP are the cross-tabs. The youth vote is swinging significantly for the Dems, while the GOP base is aging. This does not bode well for the future of the GOP - instead implying continued electoral frustration for that party.

There is a logical disconnect somewhere in the party if they can lose two election cycles in a row, score a 26 year low for party affiliation and say to themselves "hooray! Last time we scored this low we won the next year!"

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 19, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

newbeeboy - It's you.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Is it only me.. or does Reid act more like a GOP than a Dem?

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 19, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The instant thread is about Reid's Vulnerability.

Posted by: JakeD | May 19, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The GOP had a lower number of self-identifying party members in the fall of 1983 -- so, the reports of their death are greatly exaggerated -- please look up the 1984 Electoral Map when you get a chance.

Anyone who actually answers simple questions and wants to debate the overall trends:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/parsing-the-polls/gallup-poll-gop-boat-springs-l.html

Posted by: JakeD | May 19, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 - I agree that there's an occasional win for a Democrat in Idaho, but I think you overstate the case. Take a look at the legislature (please--apologies to Groucho Marx). 50 Republicans and 20 Democrats.

Admittedly, the West does have significant pockets of Democratic strength. Colorado has definitely gone purple. Idaho and Utah? I don't think so.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

real americans are not wussies afraid of big bad terrorists...

"A frequent attack on the closure of Guantanamo is the claim that no one in the U.S. wants detainees housed in their backyard. Last Sunday, Dick Cheney remarked, “I don’t know a single congressional district in this country that is going to say, gee, great, they’re sending us 20 Al Qaida terrorists.” But Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports that the town of Hardin, MT requesting that 100 detainees be sent to its empty prison:

Earlier this month, Hardin’s town council voted unanimously to offer the US government a deal: Send Hardin the detainees that most foreign countries and other cities the US are afraid to take.

“Why not us?” [Greg Smith, Hardin's economic development director] asks. “They’ve got to go somewhere.” He dismisses security concerns over housing inmates former Bush administration officials famously described as “the worst of the worst”. “We have some very hardened criminals in our own country that have committed some heinous crimes, and they are in communities all across this country,” Smith argues. [...]

He estimates at least 100 new jobs would come from filling the prison, a real boost to this small, beleaguered community. Smith describes the town’s quest to become a new penal colony as “a piece of the American dream.” “Like anything in America, we’re looking for opportunities,” he says."

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse


"The decline in Republican Party affiliation among Americans in recent years is well documented, but a Gallup analysis now shows that this movement away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup. Since the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline."

Even old people are leaving the party. And 'frequent churchgoers' are declining in the US as well, soooo---

this party's dead, Jim.

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"it's hard to imagine that Republicans won't find someone credible to take on the top Democrat in the Senate."

Actually, it's not hard at all. "credible republican' is now an oxymoron -- an extinct species.

Posted by: drindl | May 19, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

BB you are talking about history, we are talking about the future. I am here, not ten miles from the Oregon Idaho border.
Things are changing very fast, Idaho is still red, but it is turning purple fast.
No one out here in the desert thought Gordon Smith could be beaten, until it happened. Mind you, I am making no claims about Wyoming, Montana or the Dakotas, but Idaho is moving.


Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Talk about not understanding the west! Idaho's been a Republican lock ever since Steve Symms took down Frank Church in 1980."


Could he have typed Idaho, but meant Montana?

Posted by: bsimon1 | May 19, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

SENATOR REID: BE A REAL LEADER.

Take down the Bush-Cheney- spawned vigilante Gestapo that CONTINUES to make a mockery of the rule of law in EVERY community of the nation.


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener


Posted by: scrivener50 | May 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 - Talk about not understanding the west! Idaho's been a Republican lock ever since Steve Symms took down Frank Church in 1980.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Mark - The problem is that his caucus is a lot more liberal than his state. The obligation to represent his party conflicts with the duty to represent his state.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Chris does not know anything about the West. If Gordon Smith could not beat the ludicrous hack Jeff Merkely (whose sole qualification for the US Senate was his party affiliation) in a State on Nevada's border...there will be no Republican who will emerge to beat Reid. Oregon, Nevada, now even Idaho are going the way of California as a D Party lock, but for local exceptions and the occasional RINO Governor.

The Republican party sells fear of the future to its bigots and fact fuzzy nostalgia to its conservatives.

The GOP really wants to go backwards and America won't, it literally can not buy that possibility, not anymore.


Posted by: shrink2 | May 19, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Party leaders are often attacked by their base because their leadership positions require them to be pragmatic and agents of compromise. Reid's pro-life stance and other moderate positions further hurt him with the left base.

He's in a tough position and appears weak while Pelosi continues to emasculate him with her haphazard and highly partisan rhetoric. I doubt she realizes or would even care what damage she does to her distinguished colleague in the Senate.

Posted by: RambleOn | May 19, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

If you are going to be a vulnerable Democrat, now is the time to be one. The Republicans have a horrid brand name and as leader of the Senate he can direct some pork to Nevada next year - when it really counts. His fund raising will be solid and it is one thing to tell a pollster you don't like Reid and another thing to vote for the eventual Republican nominee.

Posted by: caribis | May 19, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has a neither $$ nor a candidate.
There are plenty of other races that are going to be competing for the same $$$. Bunning, Toomey, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio.

Reid's ouster is the GOP's wet dream, but that's all it is.

Posted by: rhinsker | May 19, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Reid proved to be weak in the face of Whitehouse crimes against the constitution.

Time for Reid AND Pelosi to retire and let the new generation lead.

They are BOTH compromised.

Posted by: onestring | May 19, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Reid's trouble in NV relate to his perceived shortchanging of NV's statewide interests? And if the perception is not consistent with the reality, won't Reid cure his problem during his campaign? And if the perception is the reality, won't he lose?

My point: I doubt whether his shortcomings as SML play into NV voters' decisions. They are not electing a SML, and they should sense their delegation will lose power without him. Unless he has failed the delegation...

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 19, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"Either way, leading a liberal regime like the Democratic party in the senate hurts Reid's chances of reelection in Nevada."

Not really; Obama won here by 12%.

Reid was looking vulnerable before, but the fact that no credible challenger has yet emerged makes it look like he'll win, albeit expensively. Porter lost his seat and then took a lobbying job, Krolicki got indicted, the only question-mark is Heller.

Posted by: SeanC1 | May 19, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Zouk is back. I wondered what happened to that nattering nabob of negativism.

Not even competent to use Google. Reid beat his opponent 61% to 35% last time. That's a lot of acorns for one tree!

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 19, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

this is not new. didn't he win his last election by 2 or 300 votes. If it wasn't for Obambi's cheating ACORN, he would not be there now. good riddance to spineless fools.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 19, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't care whether or not Nevada re-elects Reid. I just hope Reid gets replaced as leader of the Democrats in the Senate because he is ineffective.

Why on earth would he cave to the republicans on ANY issue with his Senate majority? He should be able to get whatever he wants but he is easily intimidated by Mitch "no mouth" McConnell.

Posted by: Heerman532 | May 19, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Time to "Daschle" Dingy Harry.

Posted by: JakeD | May 19, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

He's disappointing, all right, far too acquiescent to the remaing GOP. He should be leading the charge for prosecutions of crimes committed under the previous administration, not bending like a reed (!) to every gooper threat.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | May 19, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

It would be no loss to the Senate or the American people if he were gone. Just as long as they elect another Democrat. Reid is useless, he has absolutely no backbone. He caves to the republican every chance he gets. Who needs him? He's supposed to lead, not collapse every time they "threaten" a filibuster. Let 'em really filibuster. Make them demonstrate even more than they are doing now what imbeciles they are.

Posted by: mtravali | May 19, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Dean Heller should run hard against Reid! It will be better for Republicans if Joe Heck can beat out Gov. Gibbons in a Republican primary. Heck would likely be able to keep the governor's seat & give Dean Heller a great shot to beat Reid. A key to all of this will be US Senator John Ensign. Ensign should endorse Heck against Gibbons. Ensign may feel to be in an unwanted position, as he looks to be preparing for a 2012 GOP nomination run. Endorsing a losing candidate for governor in his home state may hurt that a bit more if he does plan to run. Either way, leading a liberal regime like the Democratic party in the senate hurts Reid's chances of reelection in Nevada.

Posted by: reason5 | May 19, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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