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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Reid’s Revival

Two months ago, and for a long time before that, one of the most settled propositions in American politics was that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could not win re-election this year. (Google up “Harry Reid is toast” and you get a pretty rich collection of links stretching back for a good while). The idea was that a national leader with universal name ID and his kind of negative approval ratings couldn’t possibly dig himself out of the hole he was in.
Yesterday Rasmussen–yes, Rasmussen–released a new poll showing Harry Reid in a statistical dead heat with Republican nominee Sharron Angle. True, Angle has never been gangbusters in a general election poll, but as recently as June 9 she held an eleven-point lead over Reid–and then her issue positions started drawing attention.
Aside from Angle’s rapidly eroding horse-race numbers, her approval/disapproval ratings aren’t much better than Reid’s; even though she’s had very little time to alienate voters, she’s done so very efficiently.
It’s all a reminder of a simple but oft-forgotten fact about politics: no matter how “nationalized” an election has become; no matter how tilted the “landscape” is; no matter how rigidly partisan voters seem to be–in the end, elections require a choice between candidates, and Harry Reid has drawn an opponent who has given his campaign, and perhaps his career, new life.

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