Republicans are really endangering their chances of making big gains in the Senate this year by continuing to nominate far, far right candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul.
In March we found that 9% of voters in the country disapproved of Barack Obama but also thought that Congressional Republicans were too conservative. At that point those folks were planning to cast almost a bloc vote for the GOP in this fall's elections, 78-11 on the generic ballot. If the GOP was nominating moderate or even just nominally conservative candidates those folks would surely stay in the party fold. But they're really putting those voters up for grabs and letting Democrats back into some of these races by nominating the most far right candidates possible.
If the Nevada Senate race was an up and down referendum on Harry Reid he'd be done. It's hard to imagine any scenario where his approval rating will be over 50% by November. But by nominating Angle instead of someone like Danny Tarkanian they've made it so these folks who don't like the Democrats but think the GOP is too extreme really have to think hard about which is the lesser of two evils.
Certainly a lot of these voters may stick with the GOP whoever its candidates are- but even a small shift toward the Democrats among these 'two evils' voters could tip some close races into the Democratic column.