Rasmussen just released its latest poll of the Nevada Senate race, and Sharron Angle is leading 48% to 41%, a small drop from the immediate post-primary poll.
What is amazing is that for the past two weeks Harry Reid has been pouring on the attacks against Angle, both through his own advertising, astroturfing, and through friends in the mainstream media and left-wing blogosphere.
Reid has been trying to define Angle, but in many ways the attack-dog mentality of the Reid campaign defines Reid himself.
Reid reportedly wants to portray himself as the ultimate Washington insider — figuring that people will value his ability to bring home the bacon — but this is a risky electoral gamble in a year in which consummate Washington insiders of both parties are being shown the door.
The fact that Angle continues to lead reflects, as Rasmussen points out, that the race is about Reid, not his challenger:
This returns the contest to where it’s been in surveys for months where Angle, a Christian conservative, ran weakest of the three Republicans seeking their party’s Senate nomination in match-ups with Reid.
Prior to the findings two weeks ago, Angle’s support in surveys stretching back to December has ranged from 44% to 48%, while Reid has earned 38% to 43% of the vote. In April, Angle held a 48% to 40% lead over the Democrat.
Reid‘s campaign and national Democrats are already pounding away at Angle’s views as unacceptable to the state. But at this early stage, the race continues to be about Reid, who earned 61% of the vote when he was reelected in 2004 but whose support in this election cycle against any Republican candidate has never risen above the low 40s. Any incumbent at this point in a campaign who is earning less than 50% support is considered vulnerable.
The race is winnable for Angle, because as much as Reid may attack Angle, Reid cannot change his own dismal and unpopular record.
Update: More at The Other McCain.