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April 25, 2015

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Jon Ralston:

Atmospherics are terrible for Reid, but he will hold on

Harry Reid or Sharron Angle is dead, last in an occasional series:

It just feels as if Reid is going to lose.

Forget the enthusiasm gap — that word is too mild. There is a passion gap in this race that is palpable. You don’t find many people shivering with excitement to vote for Reid. But the feverish animation of voters hot to oust Reid is unlike anything I have experienced in nearly 25 years of covering politics. And it seems to have been building since January, evidenced by Reid’s inability to move his highly elevated disapproval rating.

It just feels as if he is going to lose.

But I don’t think he will. Why?

First, let me be clear on this tradition of predictions. It is not a wish list but a walking out on a limb, so I can either crow afterward or eat same. I base them on data I am privy to and my gut. I have had much success in the past — look it up. But if ever there were a year for my lifetime batting average to take a hit, this is the one.

So take this for what it’s worth:

Harry Reid is the most resilient figure in Nevada political history. He should not even be here. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1974, embarrassed himself in a mayoral race in 1975 and should have lost his re-election bid in 1998. But he found a way to win 12 years ago, and he will again Tuesday.

How? Let me count the ways:

Considering they were dealing with a moribund politician, and one who was sure to make their job more difficult during the year with his spontaneous effusions, Reid’s handlers have run one of the most spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy — to peel moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away from Angle — has worked.

And, perhaps equally important, Republicans managed to nominate the one person this year who could lose to Reid.

Angle is a natural retail campaigner in small political subdivisions. But that’s not what a Senate race is about. And her campaign never could find a comfortable way to reconcile her past, controversial statements — they tried massage, change and deny — and she made plenty more during the campaign (Sharia law here, Canada’s terrorist conduit, Latinos-in-ads amnesia).

In the end, if she loses, I believe the six weeks following the GOP nominee’s primary win — she had a double-digit lead in June polls — were pivotal. During that period, the Reid ad campaign defined her so starkly and turned enough people into Anglophobes to give him a chance.

One more thing: Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in early voting they should in a wave election — under 4 points. And all the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15 points or so, he will hold on.

It’s possible none of this made any difference, that Reid has been dead all along and no amount of campaign brilliance or Angle exposure could resuscitate him. The hatred is palpable, the discontent bubbling over. But I think he finds a way to survive.

The result: Reid, 47 percent; Angle, 45 percent; rest, 4 percent; none of the above, 4 percent.

Some other predictions:

Governor: When you have a 40 percent negative going into a race because of your last name, you have to either 1) Not run; or 2) Delicately distance yourself from Dad and then destroy your opponent. Rory Reid probably should have chosen 1) and he failed to execute 2).

Brian Sandoval, 51 percent; Reid the Younger, 42 percent; rest/none, 7 percent.

CD3: Rep. Dina Titus & Co. have gone out of their way to blacken Joe Heck — tying him to Angle, distorting his legislative record, airing a brutal closing spot starring a cop denied insurance coverage. But despite her money advantage, Titus simply can’t stanch the bleeding among independents — and I think that costs her the race.

Heck, 48 percent; Titus, 46 percent; rest, 6 percent.

Legislature: Democrats have a 12-9 edge in the state Senate. It will not change. Benny Yerushalmi will take Dennis Nolan’s seat, but state Sen. Joyce Woodhouse will lose. In the Assembly, Democrats have 28 seats. After Tuesday, that number will be 25.

Miscellany: I have a feeling one or two constitutional officers could lose. I fear the appointing judges question will lose. I think Shelley Berkley and Dean Heller will be re-elected — after Tuesday’s carnage clears, I may need those to boost my average.

[email protected] / 890-7997

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  1. Dear Jon
    I was waiting for someone to analyze the early voting stats and your the best .
    I have read all 3 letters to the editor as well as Brian Greenspuns thoughtful column and like most people I keep trying to understand why given all the facts there is such a large number of people who are supporting Angle.
    My take is that some of the criticisms about where we are as a nation are in fact real and a lot of voters are extremely upset as to their financial condition.Human nature being what it is some people look for someone to blame and at that point they lose the ability to make sound judgements .That's why there is only one word to sum them up,it's called Zealots.
    My take is that we have to sincerely hope that enough people who can think clearly will do the right thing on Tuesday and that we will avoid a catastrophe
    Your a strong voice for hope

  2. As usual, queue the tea-nuts to attack...

    Give me a break!

    How can one be "one big obnoxious cheerleader for the Democrat party" (Btw, it's Democratic. Learn proper grammar.) when one's predicting a sorry NV-Gov loss, losing NV-03, and losing some legislature seats? That doesn't sound like "cheerleading" to me.

    And btw, NV-03 is the one area where I veer from Ralston. I actually think Dina Titus will win along with Harry Reid, but I do think her margin will be much tighter and I think NV-03 is more likely to be "the cliffhanger of the night" (recount perhaps?) than NV-Sen (I think we'll know the winner there before midnight).

  3. "It seems all Democrats can do is smear."

    Future, the "smearing" you thought you saw was simply publicizing Angle's past positions, votes and her own words. That you think quoting her is smearing her tells us you have a perilously low opinion of Angle.

  4. Enjoyed your predictions, Jon.

    I differ with one area though. Representative Titus, who has shown nothing but superb service, will not be upseated by Joe Heck. Because everyone knows Joe Heck is just an opportunist. He looks around and tries to run for whatever race he thinks he can win. And he offers nothing. And people see this.

    I hate to see an empty suit like Sandoval, who doesn't know what his kids look like, win over Reid, but if it happens, I'll live with it. Just another knucklehead Republican who will carpet bomb education, police and fire institutions around Nevada in order to try to balance a State budget. In other words, Gibbons II. Except he probably don't know how to hide girlfriends in Reno Airport bathrooms.

  5. "Rep. Dina Titus & Co. have gone out of their way to blacken Joe Heck"

    Could we have come up with a better phrase?

  6. "Rep. Dina Titus & Co. have gone out of their way to blacken Joe Heck" should have read:

    "Rep. Dina Titus & Co. have made sure the general public knows the bleak future they can expect if they elect Joe Heck."

  7. I think Heck v. Titus will take days to resolve. Women don't like Heck. Titus wins by 100 votes.

    Reid will win by 2100 votes.

    Reid Jr. by loses by ten points.

  8. This election might be one that convinces me all polls are memes, peddled by pseudo-scientific rent-a-wonks. If the Dems hold on to both houses of Congress, we should all be calling for Rasmussen's head on a punch card.

  9. I think its hilarious that for the most part the obnoxious and insulting people are the very same who do not verify their identity.

  10. Possible, but only if Reid's fraud machine operates at its full potential. Those who rail against the massive "secret" donations from the Chamber of Commerce, while having no problem with the larger amounts unvoluntarily extracted from union members, are
    perpetuating propaganda of the worst
    kind. Many Americans don't have the
    time to research all of the claims flying
    by so repetition of lies do filter in.
    FACT: the "secret" donations are from
    domestic members of the Chamber who
    largely have a pro-business agenda, which by definition would be an anti-
    Obama agenda.
    FACT: the union donations favor card
    check, federal support (courtesy of the taxpayer) to restore the full value of mismanaged union pensions, closed shop rules, mandated union workers for public projects and higher minimum wage. Many unions and their members would be classified as marxist/socialist/communist based.
    If you are more afraid of your
    neighborhood pharmacy than you would
    be of a communist cell meeting down
    the street, by all means, fight to reverse the Supreme Court decision.
    On the other hand, if you support small
    and large business owners or if you
    believe business (non unions, not Obama) create jobs, then ignore the
    ridiculous false accusations coming from the president and his bots.
    Deliver a split Senate to D.C. for the
    sake of the country and the economy.

  11. I expect the only way Harry Reid maintains his seat is if there are a sizable number of questionable ballots cast and counted.

    With unemployment at the 15% mark there, there is no reason to even THINK you should vote for Reid. If you do, what are you hoping for, 20% and a complete meltdown of the economic system ???

    Harry Reid ran the senate and oversaw the TRIPLING of unemployment there.

    It doesn't matter what you think of the opponent, Harry Reid has to go. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. We have all seen the results of Harry Reid, insanity would be to put him back in to duplicate those same ones again !!!

  12. It seems like there are more new, or unfamiliar names posting against Reid than in favor of him, especially in the last few days. That would seem to be indicative of the "enthusiasm gap."

  13. Harry Reid in my opinion deserves to lose to Sharron Angle even though I think that Angle is extreme and out of the mainstream because Reid literally tried to rig the 2008 Democratic primary in Obama's favor from behind the scenes about like how WWE wrestling matches are rigged from behind the scenes. All of this is verified in the book "Game Change" by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin starting on page 33 and in this Podcast interview that I did:

    Solid Principles Podcast: Episode 34

    "Not So Wild About Harry: We speak to Political Analyst Mitch Dworkin on Sen. Harry Reid, and his overlooked involvement in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination of then Senator Barack Obama."

    Harry Reid secretly trying to rig a very important Presidential primary, intentionally lying about it to the country, and his picking a sincere but inexperienced Obama to be President (who I think is being eaten up alive right now by Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, and by other experienced Republican media professionals) are just "unforgivable sins" in my opinion. Reid just went too far and he could easily do something like this again if he gets a blank check for another 6 year term which is why I view Sharron Angle, who would only be 1 bad Senate vote out of 100 from my standpoint, as being the lesser of two evils in the Senate when compared to Harry Reid. However the evils of both of them are so great in my opinion that having to choose between Reid and Angle is about like having to choose between whether you would rather go blind or deaf!

    Mitch Dworkin, M.Ed.
    Objective Political Research & Analysis

  14. If Sharron Angle Wins, Then Nevada loses Big time.
    If Karl Rove Wins, then the USA loses! It is very simple, if one votes to put the GOP in power, we will become a fascist state! I don't understand why the Tea Party members are unable to see this. As poor as I am, I will try to get out of this country.
    The GOP has only one thing one their agenda: Ruin the USA!

  15. RealClear Politics:

    Even the PPP, a Democrat poll, has Angle in front by 1 point now. The RCP average has her at 2.7 points ahead.

  16. If Angle loses I hope the National Guard is called up to prevent the ditto-heads from going to their "2ND Amendment Remedies."

    Also, the FBI should monitor the hate talk radio stations in town to prevent violence to our elected leaders by fringe kooks.

  17. i concur mred. I've got a second amendment solution to their second amendment remedies, but it shouldn't come to that.

  18. Two things are going to decide what happens on Tuesday, party turnout, and how the 3rd-party and unaffiliated voters go. That's why I'm not remarking on the early voter stats, we don't have any numbers for other than the main parties.

    The Sun's non-scientific poll is useless other than to get an idea of the makeup of its readership.

  19. Big defeat for talk radio. Most of the talk radio states went into a full blown propaganda mode for Angle. Goebbels would be envious.

    What's it say about advertising on a hate talk station. If they couldn't sell Angle with all that effort, how would they sell a product or service?