Poll: Nevada Souring On Not Just Reid, But Dems In General

January 14, 2010 6:34 a.m.

The new survey of Nevada by Public Policy Polling (D) not only finds that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in trouble for his re-election. It suggests that Democrats would still have a hard time with a different nominee in most situations, with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman coming out the best.

Reid trails former state GOP chair Sue Lowden by 51%-41%, and he’s behind former UNLV basketball player Danny Tarkanian by 50%-42%. Other Democratic names in the state were tested, and most of them didn’t do well, either. Rep. Shelly Berkley trails Lowden by 46%-38% and Tarkanian by 47%-39%. Secretary of State Ross Miller trails Lowden by 44%-34% and Tarkanian by 45%-34%.

Goodman edges Lowden by 42%-40%, within the ±3.6% margin of error, and ties Tarkanian at 41%-41%. Goodman has been widely discussed in the local media as a potential independent candidate for governor, not as a Senate candidate. (He could also have plenty of material that an opponent could try to use against him statewide, such as his famous answer when a group of schoolchildren asked him what his hobbies were. His answer: “Drinking.”)In addition, President Obama’s approval rating in Nevada is only 44%, with 52% disapproval in a state that he won by 55%-43% in 2008. The poll also has Nevada’s likely voters opposing President Obama’s health care plan by 36%-54%. This issue has done a lot in recent polls to contribute to Reid’s unpopularity back home, polls have shown.

What this all suggests is that the situation in Nevada is different from the recent developments in Connecticut, where Sen. Chris Dodd’s retirement and his replacement as Democratic candidate by state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal have vastly improved Democratic chances. Connecticut did not have a problem with Democrats, it had a problem with Chris Dodd. Nevada genuinely has a Democratic problem, and might be persuaded to support Goodman.

PPP communications director Tom Jensen writes: “Goodman’s initial polling numbers are encouraging comparative to Reid, but it’s hard to say how he would hold up in a statewide campaign. One thing for sure is that Reid’s issues are not exclusive to him and reflective of a general souring on national Democrats in Nevada.”

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