A new poll by the Las Vegas Review Journal shows that Majority Leader Senator Harry Reid has opened a strong lead over his Republican/Tea Party opponent the wacky Sharron Angle. Perhaps sanity will triumph over insanity.
The Democratic incumbent's aggressive strategy of attacking Angle's staunch conservative views from the moment she won the June 8 primary has cost her support among every voter group -- from men and women to both political parties and independents -- in vote-rich Clark and Washoe counties.
The Mason-Dixon poll showed that if the general election were held now, Reid would win 44 percent to 37 percent for Angle. Ten percent were undecided, 5 percent would choose "none of these candidates," and the remaining 4 percent would pick another candidate on the ballot.
That is the best Reid has done against Angle this year in a series of Mason-Dixon polls. Previously, the two had been locked in a statistical dead heat with Angle finishing just ahead of Reid in February, 44 percent to 42 percent, and in June, 44 percent to 41 percent, and Reid finishing just ahead of Angle in May, 42 percent to 39 percent.
The phone survey, taken Monday through Wednesday of 625 likely voters in Nevada, is the first in which Reid has finished ahead of Angle outside the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
According to the poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Research for the Las Vegas Review Journal, 46 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of Reid and 37 percent have a favorable view of him now. That compares with 52 percent to 35 percent in June. Meanwhile Angle's unfavorable rating jumped by double digits -- from 25 percent in early June to 43 percent now -- while her favorable rating is now 33 percent compared with 38 percent last month.
As a result, Angle lost support across the board in July compared with early June:
■ Among men, Angle fell from 50 percent support to 41 percent now.
■ Among women, 38 percent to 33 percent.
■ Among Democrats, 12 percent to 8 percent.
■ Among Republicans, 81 percent to 70 percent.
■ Among independents, 41 percent to 35 percent.
■ Among Clark County voters, 37 percent to 32 percent.
■ And among Washoe County voters, 51 percent to 34 percent.
Reid's support ticked up a bit among all those groups except nonpartisans, with his backing holding steady at 37 percent now compared with 37 percent in the June 1-3 survey.
The Democratic incumbent, whose base of support is Southern Nevada, saw his numbers shoot up by double digits in Washoe County -- from 32 percent to 45 percent -- which should jolt Angle, whose base is Northern and rural Nevada, which remains strongly for her and against Reid.
Harry Reid is not out of the woods yet but it is nice to see him outside the margin of error because wacky Sharron Angle is just plain looney.
If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid succeeds in his bid to win re-election, he may want to send a thank you note to Jon Scott Ashjian who is running as the Tea Party of Nevada candidate. While polls in mid-February had put Ashjian, a 46 year old self-described "frustrated patriot" and independent businessman, at about 9 percent but more recent polling suggests that he is now up to around 18 percent with the gain coming at the expense of GOP hopefuls Sue Lowen or Danny Tarkanian catapulting the embattled Senator Reid into a four point lead.
Polling results for the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicate that if the election were held and with Ashjian in the race, Senator Reid would draw 36 percent of voters, while the Republican nominee would get 32 percent and the Tea Party candidate 18 percent. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points. That's pretty much the best news Harry Reid has had in a long, long time.
Over the weekend, the Las Vegas Review Journal profiled Jon Scott Ashjian who left the Republican party the day he decided to run for the Senate seat.
Ashjian says he's learning the ropes through this grass-roots movement, where he is his own communications director who answers the phone, relies heavily on family and friends for help and schedules his own TV and radio appearances, which are starting to pick up.
Don't call him a politician, though.
"I'm a frustrated patriot," Ashjian said. "I'm not a politician. I'm not savvy with radio and TV. But I believe I can make a change, and that's what I'm here for. I'm here to give people a third voice."
A campaign Web site is in the works, with a Facebook profile and a Twitter account -- all of the necessary social media to get his message to voters.
His traditionally conservative platform is simple:
■ Smaller government.
■ Fiscal responsibility by voting against future stimulus packages, big business bailouts and tax increases.
■ Cutting small-business taxes.
■ Investing in education.
■ Creating jobs.
Ashjian describes the Tea Party of Nevada as being neither Democrats nor Republicans but simply tax payers fed up with big government and high taxes.
"We're not Republican or Democrat," Ashjian said. "We won't fold into one party or the other. We're a tax-paying party that can make a difference and a party of normal people who want change. Bigger government and higher taxes is not working. Right now we're at a real crossroads to make change, and the bottom line is there's never been so much disdain for politicians."
The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that the Tea Party of Nevada has qualified as a third party in Nevada and will field its own candidate in the Senate race for the seat currently held by Senator Harry Reid, the Majority Leader.
The party has filed a Certificate of Existence but needs to get 1 percent of the electorate to vote for its candidate in November to permanently qualify, according to the report.
[Las Vegas Sun columist Jon] Ralston reported that Jon Ashjian will be the Tea Party's U.S. Senate candidate on the November ballot. Ashjian still must declare his candidacy.
According to the party's constitution, the Tea Party of Nevada will "promote this nation's founding principles of freedom, liberty and a small representative government. We believe that our government under both Democrat and Republican control has led to massive national debt, crushing deficits, increased taxes; while establishing a large and powerful federal government in a direct refutation of the founding ideals of America."
The move is likely to marginally help the embattled Harry Reid who has been trailing in most polls by a wide margin against potential GOP challengers. There are currently three Republican challengers vying to win the GOP nod: former State Senator Sue Lowden, former UNLV basketball star Danny Tarkanian and former State Assemblywoman Sharron Angle.
In addition there are six other third-party candidates going through the verification process to appear on the ballot as US Senate candidates — one Reform Party hopeful and five as independents.