Reid Camp Explains Why ‘None Of The Above’ Option Will Help At Polls

Ron Sachs - Pool via CNP/Newscom

The re-election campaign of Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) this week pushed back against a Las Vegas Review-Journal poll which showed him lagging behind potential Republican challengers. The campaign argued that the poll is misleading because it doesn’t have all nine options voters will see on the ballot, including third-party candidates and a “none of the above” option.

Reid’s people further explained their argument against the poll, which showed Reid trailing one potential Republican challenger by eight points, to TPMDC today.

The campaign is expecting a lot of anti-incumbent votes this year, but they don’t expect those votes to necessarily go the Republican challenger. Instead, because the polling numbers are bad for the Republicans as well, the Reid campaign expects more voters to check off the “none of the above” box.

And because those voters wouldn’t have gone for Reid to begin with, that means fewer votes for the Republican candidate and, ultimately, a win for Reid.“In the past, if you were to cast an anti-incumbent vote, you would cast that vote for the Republican,” said Reid communications director Kelly Steele. “To a certain extent that seems less likely this time because both parties’ numbers are upside down.”

The anti-incumbent vote, Steele said, is more likely to go to an independent, like the Tea Party candidate, or to “none of these candidates.”

Every cycle, “none of these candidates” appears as an option on the Nevada ballot. In 2004, for example, that option got nearly 13,000 votes, according to the secretary of state. In 1998, the option received more than 8,000 votes — more than the difference between Reid and then-congressman John Ensign.

Steele also said the Libertarian Party is urging people to vote “none of the above.” But the state chair of the party, Joe Silvestri, tells TPMDC that’s not true. According to Silvestri, the party voted in February not to put up a candidate for the Senate race, but is not pushing people to vote the “none” option.

Reid’s campaign also claims the poll was biased to begin with, as the Review-Journal‘s editorial page is consistently critical of Reid.