Being the face and voice of an increasingly statist, job-killing liberal agenda has exacted a political toll for Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader.
A new Review-Journal poll finds Nevada voters would go with just about anyone other than Sen. Reid if they were casting ballots in his re-election bid today.
The poll, conducted last week by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, shows 50 percent of Nevada voters have an unfavorable view of Sen. Reid, while just 37 percent hold a favorable view of him. Both figures are devastating for a longtime incumbent.
The poll shows Sen. Reid trailing Danny Tarkanian, a Republican who has lost his only two campaigns for elected office, and GOP Rep. Dean Heller, who has announced he won't seek elevation to the Senate, by double-digit margins. Even state Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden, who hasn't been on a ballot in years, has a 5-percentage-point lead over Sen. Reid, just within the poll's 5-point margin of error.
Of course, Sen. Reid isn't up for re-election this month. His fate will be decided in about 14 months -- an eternity in politics.
Mr. Tarkanian and Ms. Lowden are hardly GOP rock stars. (Is there even one in Nevada these days?) And Sen. Reid knows how to run a campaign. He'll certainly have plenty of money in the bank to attack whichever candidate emerges from June's Republican primary.
But Sen. Reid clearly has problems. The best thing his spokesmen can say about him is he has the power to bring home the pork and protect the state's tourism industry. Yet the "stimulus" bill he backed hasn't done much to help the Nevada economy -- the state ranked last in stimulus dollars per capita -- let alone the national economy. The Las Vegas unemployment rate is 13.1 percent, and a housing market recovery might still be years away despite various federal initiatives.
Perhaps congressional Democrats, seeking to preserve their Washington majorities, will abandon the radical policy goals of President Obama and their far-left base before Christmas. Perhaps Sen. Reid will use his leadership post to recast himself as a moderate in 2010.
However, when half of the state's voters don't like you, you have a lot of work to do to preserve your political career.