Rasmussen released its latest polling results in Nevada, showing Harry Reid up 45-43%. The numbers are almost identical to a recent PPP poll; an earlier Mason-Dixon poll showed Reid with a larger lead.
The polls all are consistent in showing that despite the power of incumbency and huge campaign spending, Harry Reid cannot seem to raise his favorability numbers much.
Take a closer look at the Rasmussen numbers, and you will understand that this race is winnable in this year by Sharron Angle.
While unfavorable ratings are even, those who strongly dislike Reid far outnumber those who strongly dislike Angle (emphasis mine):
But 48% of the state’s voters have a Very Unfavorable view of Reid. Forty-one percent (41%) say the same of Angle. Overall, 55% have at least a somewhat unfavorable opinion of Reid and 56% view Angle at least somewhat unfavorably.
Likely voters also self-identify significantly more conservative than liberal:
Forty-five percent (45%) of Nevada’s Likely Voters consider themselves at least somewhat conservative and 24% consider themselves at least somewhat liberal. Those figures include 18% who are Very Conservative and 6% who are Very Liberal.
Yet likely voters view Reid overwhelmingly as liberal, which puts him out of touch ideologically with the electorate:
Sixty-two percent (62%) describe the longtime Democratic senator as a liberal, and 50% characterize his views as extreme. Forty-one percent (41%) put Reid in the mainstream.
Angle, who is seen as a conservative by 81% of the state’s voters, is viewed as holding extreme views by 58%. Thirty-seven percent (37%) see the GOP nominee in the mainstream.
Reid’s relentless attacks, supported by a sympathetic mainstream media and active left-wing blogosphere, have increased Angle’s negatives.
But, as the paragraph above shows, Reid still is viewed as “extreme” by half the voters. And among independents, slightly more view Reid as “extreme”:
Among voters not affiliated with either major party, 55% consider Reid’s views extreme while 52% say the same about Angle.
What these numbers show is what everyone knew. Harry Reid was able to take advantage of a superior campaign machine and deep pockets in the several weeks after the primary, but Reid remains very unpopular.
Would I prefer that Angle were up 2%? Of course.
Assuming the Angle campaign gets onto better footing and starts getting its ads on television, this race can still be won.
One big reason Reid is in trouble is that the agenda he’s working to enact in Washington is the opposite of what Nevadans want.
The Rasmussen poll, coming after the best six weeks Harry Reid ever will have, may mark the high water mark for Reid, unless he can move the 48% of likely voters who still strongly dislike him.
When you have been around for decades so everyone knows you, when you have spent several million dollars attacking your opponent almost unopposed for weeks, and when 48% of likely voters still really don’t like you, you are Harry Reid and you are beatable.
Update and Question: Similar analysis from Erick Erickson, Sharron Angle is in a Good Position Against Harry Reid, and Kathryn Jean Lopez, Sharron Angle Is in It.