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May 6, 2015

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Harry Reid inching ahead of Sharron Angle, new poll finds

But turnout remains key to either candidate’s win

Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Sharron Angle

Sharron Angle

For weeks, public polling in the U.S. Senate race has told the story of a neck-and-neck fight between Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican rival Sharron Angle.

But on Friday, a survey by a noted Republican pollster showed Reid pulling ahead for the first time since the early days of the general election campaign.

According to the results, the Democrat leads Angle 45 percent to 40 percent. The 5-point advantage is just barely above the margin of error, meaning the statistical tie might have been broken.

The poll could also indicate Democratic voters, who have been dispirited, are starting to engage as Election Day nears and that Reid’s unrelenting barrage of attacks against Angle is motivating them.

But it could also be a reflection of one of the most difficult tasks a pollster has: designing a sample universe that represents the electorate that will actually make it to voting booths.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, used a sample that almost exactly reflects the partisan breakdown in the state: 42 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican and 18 percent nonpartisan. The poll was conducted for the Retail Association of Nevada.

Voters, of course, don’t always show up at the polls on Election Day in the same proportions as they’re registered.

Other recent polls in the campaign put the race even. In those surveys, pollsters assumed Republicans will vote in greater proportional numbers than Democrats and made up 40 percent to 41 percent of the sample.

These are the key questions for pollsters: Will an invigorated base drive higher GOP turnout? Or will Democrats’ well-organized, well-financed get-out-the-vote machine ensure that their base votes?

“In this case, the sample was equivalent to registration,” said Republican strategist Robert Uithoven, who has used Public Opinion Strategies and found it to be accurate in Nevada. “It would have to assume that turnout would identically model registration and that seems very unlikely in this cycle.”

If turnout matches registration, Uithoven said, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket will be swept into office.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that will occur,” he said.

Glen Bolger, principal pollster at Public Opinion Strategies, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

National polls have shown Republicans more energized this election than Democrats, typical for the party that doesn’t control the White House between presidential races.

But Reid spent the past week focused heavily on giving his base a reason to come out. He pushed for a repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military and tried to pass a portion of immigration reform. Both efforts failed after being opposed by Republicans.

Next week, Reid will be joined by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, to highlight the benefits of health care legislation passed this year. Almost all Democrats have shied away from that controversial, and generally unpopular, piece of legislation. But Reid could believe that he needs to remind Democrats of some legislative successes he’s helped the party attain this year.

The new poll could also be an indication that the base is starting to congeal.

Sig Rogich, a Republican and adviser to Reid, noted that Republican governors Kenny Guinn and Jim Gibbons have used Public Opinion Strategies.

He said Democrats are starting to pay attention, and Reid’s organization has been identifying supporters. “I think Harry Reid will have an exceptionally good turnout model,” he said.

Sig Rogich

Sig Rogich

Reid has helped build the Democrats’ heavily funded turnout organization, which Republicans lack. Their ability to identify and persuade their supporters to get to the polls could justify the over-sample in the new poll.

But Uithoven argues turnout depends on voters actually making the decision to vote.

“They do have superb organization, but elections still require action by the voter,” he said. “You could have the best organization in the world, but if the voters themselves are not motivated to take it upon themselves to go vote, it doesn’t matter.”

The poll also showed encouraging news for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rory Reid, who has trailed his Republican rival Brian Sandoval by double digits in most publicly released polls. The poll had him trailing by just 6 points. That news could give Democrats a burst of much-needed energy as well.

Harry Reid’s spokesman Kelly Steele said the poll shows Angle’s campaign is flailing.

Despite Angle’s attacks and help from outside groups, her “campaign has continually failed to move the needle,” Steele said.

Angle’s campaign did not return calls for comment.

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  1. The only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.

  2. The poll is a giant conspiracy by acorn, George Soros and Sal Alinsky. When are Palin and Rush Limpbaugh and Sean Insannity going to come out and campaign for Angle?

    I noticed Hannity won't have Reid Hit Piece author "Daxton Brown" on his shows. The book also slanders attorney Jay Brown.

  3. As the election gets closer, and people start to realize the realities of voting for a particular candidate, OR NOT, the picture becomes clearer.

    Every day Sharron Angle has to stay on the campaign trail is another opportunity for her to turn off voters with her vitriol.

    The latest Brian Sandoval ad is hilarious, and just
    exactly what I'd expected;
    "LOOKY! Our guy is HANDSOME! Now look at their guy; He looks like a pencil-necked geek!"
    Like it's a "Beauty Pageant".

  4. You know sharron lost this race herself all she had to do was shut up and say look at reid and she prob would have won but nooooo she has to say lots of really crazy ideas (non of which make sence or can she even get passed threw)

    She had her chance but messed up by going way to far to the right if she would have been middle of the road she would have blew him out the water!

    Im gonna vote for harry just becuse he is a sane person and gets things done (for better or worse)

  5. Comment removed by moderator. Name calling.

  6. The only reason the Republicants are out to get Pelosi and Reid is that they will not let them have their way anymore. We are all experiencing the wonderful results of the Bush Administration. So it is full blown attack on everything that the Democrats try to do. They have repeatedly twisted the facts to make the Republicants look good. Republicant obstructionists want to halt the Democrats progress, take control of Congress and Senate and set President Obama up for failure. Even if it means the failure of this country. They want a return to the Bush era policies, which is documented to the Republicant pledge to America.
    The financial downturn is a result of failed Republicant policy and they cannot distort this no matter how hard they try and they have really tried hard this election season. I cannot wait until the 2012 elections to hear the BS these people put out.

  7. I expect to see Angle's campaign start hammering Reid on immigration policy in the next 2 weeks. Reid has made some comments recently that at the very least show he is out of touch with Nevada.

    This one in particular can come back to bite him:

    "But a Pew Hispanic Center study shows 17-percent of all construction workers are in the United States illegally. Reid says not in Nevada. 'That may be some place, but it's not here in Nevada.'"

    Combine that with his effort to tack the DREAM Act onto a military spending bill and many independents and moderates will be pushed into the "None of these candidates" camp when it comes time to vote.

  8. It's interesting to note that the poll "used a sample that almost exactly reflects the partisan breakdown in the state: 42 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican and 18 percent nonpartisan".

    In my particular case (and I swear this is true), I am a registered Republican, and I am most definitely voting for Harry Reid. One more vote for Harry that the polling methodology might have missed (or misinterpreted)!

  9. Even Ann Coulter is saying the Republicans won't win the Senate. People like Hannity care more about their careers (ratings down) than whether Angle is elected.

    In fact, now that Newscorp is headquartered in the Perisan Gulf (Sheik Alalweed bin tala now a 17% owner), Hannity has been reined in. "Search engine" how Hannity was stopped by FOX from attending a Teaparty Fundraiser in Cincinnati after spending weeks promoting the event.

    Therefore, Hannity has probably been told by FOX the a book that slanders half of Nevada in order to promote Angle is not a good idea. It is easy to make an allegation that someone was "giving grocery bags of cash" to someone, where is the video?

  10. Anyone that has lived in Vegas long knows that Mr. Reid always runs behind or close but always wins.

    This is really nothing new for him. He never polls well in an election.

  11. You NutJobs that contend that "Harry Reid, Pelosi, & Obama are in conspiracy to ruin the country, and
    are inherently EVIL" lose every scintilla of credibility you may have had.
    It just plain moronic.
    It is just plain ridiculous.
    It is just plain NUTS.

    Can ya think for yourself?
    Can ya put it into words?
    Can ya TRY for RATIONAL?

    This is why you are going to lose in November.
    You talk crazy. People think "they're crazy".
    Therefore, you must be wrong.
    This is EXACTLY WHY Sharron Angle will lose.