When PPP last polled the Nevada Senate race in July Harry Reid was ahead by 2 points. Fast forward 3 months and nothing has changed. Reid leads Sharron Angle 47-45 with minor candidates and none of the above combining for 7% and only 1% of voters still undecided.
Reid continues to be unpopular with 44% of voters approving of him and 52% disapproving. Feelings toward him are pretty much completely polarized along party lines with 83% of Democrats giving him good marks and 88% of Republicans unhappy with the job he's doing. Independents split against him by a 34/61 margin.
Although Reid's approval numbers are bad he's come a long way since PPP's first Nevada poll of the cycle, back in January, which found him at a 36/58 spread. The arena of a campaign has caused Democrats to warm up to him considerably and although his 34% favor with independents is bad it's actually up 10 points from 24% at the start of the year.
Nevada voters like Angle even less than they like Reid. Her favorability is 41/53. Her numbers with independents are a lot better than her opponent's, at 50/46. But 22% of Republicans view Angle negatively, indicating a much higher degree of reservation about her within her own party than Reid sees in his.
Reid is winning over 85% of Democrats while Angle is getting just 83% of Republicans. In 90% of races across the country this year Republicans are more unified than Democrats but this is the rare exception and it's the biggest reason why Reid is still clinging to a lead. Angle is ahead 48-40 with independents but given Reid's -27 approval spread with them it ought to be a lot more and it's another reminder that Republican primary voters may have bailed out Reid.
The combination of Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian and 'none of the above' on the Nevada ballot may be one of the most overplayed political stories of 2010. Each is getting only 2% on our poll. In addition to polling the full ballot we also asked a head to head Reid/Angle question. On that measure folks who had supported someone other than Angle or Reid on the full ballot supported Angle by only a 33-32 margin. So the presence of all those other things on the ballot is basically a wash despite all the ink that has been devoted to it.
Reid's small lead comes with a projected electorate that voted for Barack Obama by only 2 points in 2008, in contrast to his actual 12 point victory in the state. That's one of the largest enthusiasm gaps we're seeing anywhere in the country and if Democratic interest in the election picks up down the stretch Reid could see his lead expand to a more comfortable margin. If that doesn't change this is bound to be one of the closest races in the country on election night.
Full results here