New poll drops Reid further

As if recent poll numbers were not troubling enough for him already, a new snapshot out today shows public support in Nevada for Sen. Harry Reid has fallen further following the controversy over his latest verbal miscue.

Rasmussen Reports says a survey that was taken on Monday shows Reid getting just 36 percent of the vote in matchups against either of two likely Republican opponents, businessman Danny Tarkanian and former state GOP chairwoman Sue Lowden, if the election were held today.

A Rasmussen poll last month had Reid at 43 percent against either challenger, meaning he has dropped seven points in that time. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted Jan. 5-7 for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and showed Reid with 40 percent support in matchups with either Republican.

The Rasmussen poll shows Reid losing to a third Republican, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, by 44 percent to 40 percent.

The survey was of 500 likely voters contacted by automated telephone calls. The error margin was 4.5 percentage points.

The poll details can be found here.

The Rasmussen analysis can be found here.

Reid campaign manager Brandon Hall said, “While there will be many polls reported on throughout the year, the only one that matters is on Election Day. Sen. Reid’s track record delivering for Nevada is reflected time and again in our own internal polling.  Sen. Reid’s work creating jobs and ensuring quality, affordable health care will ultimately be the deciding factor next November.”

According to the poll, a large percentage (79 percent) of Nevadans followed news reports over the weekend of a new book, "Game Change," in which Reid was quoted making an inartful race observation about Barack Obama’s skin color and way of speaking.

According to what Rasmussen posted to its public website, the poll did not delve further into how the controversy may have affected voters’ views of Reid.

Zachary Petkanas, a Reid campaign spokesman, said Reid is not polling on the controversy.

The Nevadan immediately apologized after his remarks were reported late Friday, and he obtained supportive statements from Obama, fellow Democrats and African American leaders. By late Monday, after Reid addressed the matter at a Las Vegas appearance, the immediate furor appeared to have died down.

Aside from the race controversy, Reid’s "bigger problem" remains his championing of health care reform that remains unpopular in Nevada as in other states, Rasmussen said.

More than 20 percent of voters don’t know the Republican challengers enough to have an opinion, which means the race continues to be a referendum on the veteran senator, 70, who is seeking his fifth term in office, Rasmussen said.

According to the Rasmussen poll, 41 percent of Nevadans had a favorable impression of Reid, while more than half, 55 percent, view him unfavorably. Only 4 percent were unsure.

In the Review-Journal poll Reid was viewed favorably by 33 percent and unfavorably by 52 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

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