10.14.10

No Knockout Punch for Reid

The embattled Senate majority leader needed a strong showing in his debate with Sharron Angle last night. But both performed poorly, in a race too close to call. Plus, predictions from the Election Oracle.

Harry Reid and Sharron Angle finally met face-to-face Thursday night in their highly anticipated debate and the reviews were fairly weak for both— Harry Reid for his stumbling delivery and Sharron Angle for her own inarticulate style as well as her creative relationship with the truth. At one point she accused Reid of vague-yet-serious corruption charges with no corresponding evidence whatsoever.

"You came to the Senate from Searchlight with very little," Angle said. "On behalf of Nevada taxpayers, we'd like to know, how did you become so wealthy on a Senate payroll?"

Reid noted that he had been a successful lawyer before coming to the Senate.

Steve Friess: Reid’s Final Trick

Tunku Varadarajan: Why I’m Rooting for Angle
Things are close in Nevada, where the Election Oracle's survey of polling data shows Reid in a dead heat with Angle. Even the online buzz is relatively evenly divided between them—among the issues tracked, only the deficit generates slightly more positive comments on Angle, with immigration, jobs, health care, and national security tracking roughly even. All these issues got their due at one point or another. Reid addressed his 2007 comment that the war in Iraq was "lost" (he said the "surge" had indeed worked in Iraq), clashed with Angle over whether there should be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in a comprehensive reform bill, defended the Democrats' health-care bill from Angle's argument that the free market should dictate who gets health insurance, and argued over whether the Democrats' policies had created jobs.

Things are close in Nevada, where the Election Oracle's survey of polling data shows Reid in a dead heat with Angle.

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The polling is so evenly divided and both campaigns so negative that there are genuine concerns that the "none of the above" option on Nevada ballots could provide the decisive margin of victory for the winner.

Benjamin Sarlin is the Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast and edits the site's politics blog, Beltway Beast. He previously covered New York City politics for The New York Sun and has worked for talkingpointsmemo.com.