WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama will join Sen. Harry Reid in Las Vegas on Monday for a final campaign push that Democrats hope will provide a last- minute spark to potential voters.
Obama is expected to encourage Nevadans to return Reid for a fifth term to help her husband continue to move his agenda forward in Congress.
Political analysts say the popular first lady could provide a push needed to get unenthused Democrats to the polls.
“It’s not about persuasion, it is about mobilization,” said Danny Gonzales, political science professor at Great Basin College in Elko.
By delivering a positive message at the close of what has been a largely negative campaign, Obama could provide the breath of fresh air that will draw undecided voters to Reid.
“That is what is going to appeal to the 3 percent of undecided voters. If the negative ads haven’t, the personal touch may,” Gonzales said.
The “get-out-the-vote” rally is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Canyon Springs High School in North Las Vegas. Obama will end the day at a similar rally in Philadelphia.
Michelle Obama has been on the campaign trail since mid-October attending fundraising events and rallies where she has refrained from attacking Republicans and instead focused on the positive work that Democrats have done or have yet to accomplish.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during a recent briefing that would be her approach.
“She will go out and have a very affirmative case for coming out and participating in this very important election. I think she’s — like I said, she’s an invaluable asset, and my guess is we’ll get good response out there on the campaign trail,” he said.
Eric Herzik, a professor of politics at the University of Nevada, Reno, said Obama is a “headliner” and could help Reid relieve pressure to get his supporters excited enough to vote.
“She is very well liked by all parts of the Democratic base,” Herzik said. “She may be a better voice to have right before the election than even (President) Barack Obama — particularly among women and liberals.”
Jennifer Duffy, a Senate campaign analyst for the Cook Political Report, said Reid is likely counting on Obama to draw women to the polls.
“The participation of women tends to drop in midterm elections. So, she is trying to make sure that turnout is up,” Duffy said. “Michelle Obama talks as a mom and talks about issues that moms care about.”
Nathan Gonzales, political editor of The Rothenberg Political Report, said that despite her star power Obama would not likely have a meaningful impact on the Nevada contest.
“In a close race anything could matter but I don’t think it is a game changer,” he said. “She is a draw but I’m not sure how many people are waiting around undecided until Michelle Obama shows up.”
Gonzales said the campaign is a “pure tossup” at this point.
“Voters don’t really like either one of them,” he said of Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle. “I guess we will see who they dislike the least on Tuesday.”
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban at email@example.com or 202-783-1760.