Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 8/31-9-2. Likely voters. MoE 4% (11/23-25/08 results)
Harry Reid (D) 40
Danny Tarkanian (R) 45
Harry Reid (D) 41
Sue Lowden (R) 44
Woah. When we last polled this in November of last year, we matched up Reid against Rep. Jon Porter, and Reid led 46-40. Now he's up against these no-names, and is losing. These numbers confirm recent results from Mason-Dixon.
Who are those Republicans? Tarkanian is an old UNLV basketball star who now sells real estate. Lowden is the chairwoman of the state GOP. Literally no-names. And yet Reid is lagging both. So is the health care debate hurting him at home?
Do you favor or oppose creating a government-administered health insurance option that anyone can purchase to compete with private insurance plans?
All 52 40
Dem 80 13
Rep 21 71
Ind 50 39
Nevada is solidly pro-public option, with even Independents sporting majority support. And when 1/5th of Republicans support it, that's more "bipartisanship" than you'll ever get in Congress. Yet Reid has wavered on the public option in recent days, likely under the impression that the issue is hurting him back home.
Yet if anything is hurting him, it's anemic support among Democrats in those head-to-head matchups -- barely breaking 70 percent against both challengers. It could be argued that Reid will bring those Democrats home by election day, and he likely will score dominant numbers among Democrats once the votes are cast. The problem isn't in the percentages, but in the intensity of that support. If Democrats remain unexcited about Reid and his stewardship of the Senate, they could very well stay home on election day. If that happens, we could have the second Democratic Senate leader in six years ousted by home state voters.
Personally, I wouldn't cry. Who knows, we might actually end up with an effective Democratic Senate leader as a result.
p.s. And a bonus finding! 54 percent of Nevada Republicans think Obama was born in the United States -- the first state we've polled, asking that question, in which a majority of Republicans aren't too stupid to know the right answer to the question. Of course, that still leaves 18 percent who say he wasn't, and 28 percent who think the matter is open to debate.