Independent swings

A poll conducted last week for the Review-Journal and shows Nevada’s independent voters, like their peers around the country, now side against the Democratic Party even though they overwhelmingly supported it only a year ago.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who will seek re-election next year, is trailing in a pair of hypothetical races against Republican challengers. Danny Tarkanian leads Sen. Reid, 48 percent to 42 percent, while Sue Lowden has a 10-point lead on Sen. Reid, 51 percent to 41 percent.

Registered Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly support their own candidates. But independent voters, who helped swing the 2008 Democratic landslide, are clearly disenchanted with Sen. Reid, the face and voice of the liberal upper chamber. In Sen. Reid’s hypothetical race against Mr. Tarkanian, the poll showed independents preferring Mr. Tarkanian, 50 percent to 37 percent. The margin widens for Ms. Lowden to 53-36.

Meanwhile, independents are equally turned off by Democrats’ plans to bog down the health insurance industry with costly new regulations and mandates. Among all Nevada voters, the poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., found 53 percent against President Obama’s demands for “reform,” with only 39 percent in favor. Among independents, the spread was slightly wider, with 55 percent against and 33 percent in favor. (The poll’s margin of error was 4 percentage points.)

Although Democrats made huge gains in registering voters last year, it was the support of registered independents that allowed the party to claim so many offices. Without the support of independent voters, Democrats will sustain losses in 2010.

But that’s a year away. And a year ago, who would have thought the opinions of so many voters would take a 180-degree turn only 12 months later?

Democrats must cling to one hopeful thought as they try to ram through their economically destructive, far-left agenda: that independent voter sentiments will change as much in 2010 as they have in 2009.

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