Pete Marovich

We’re going to have a longer feature piece on this later today. But there’s new polling out this morning that confirms how the Nevada Senate race has changed dramatically from the last winter when Harry Reid looked like he would be very hard pressed to hold on to his senate seat this fall.

Now the Chickengate fiasco and a handful of smaller and less noticed self-inflicted wounds appear to have basically killed establishment candidate Sue Lowden’s chances. The new leader is harder right candidate Sharron Angle, who’s had the aggressive support of the Club for Growth and looks poised to win the nomination in Tuesday’s primary.But Angle has a series of very hard right positions — like wanting to phase out Social Security for instance, which should provide a lot of Grist for the Reid campaign if she’s his opponent. What’s more, whereas polls as recently as a month or two ago showed Reid consistently ten or more points behind his possible Republican opponents, the latest polls show him basically in a dead heat and sometimes ahead.

It’s a very changed ball game and could perhaps become a microcosm of the 2010 cycle. Weak and unpopular Democratic incumbent running a smart campaign and put back into the thick of it by self-inflicted wounds, infighting and hard right nominees on the Republican side of the ledger. Don’t get me wrong. Reid’s still got a helluva fight on his hands. He’s by no stretch of the imagination got this wrapped up. But a couple months back he wasn’t even in it.