New numbers in the race for Senate in Nevada show that one of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D) primary arguments — the notion that his standing in Washington benefits Nevada — closely divides voters.
While 51 percent said Reid's clout in Washington isn't important enough to keep him in office, 45 percent said the state can't afford to lose his influence, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Reid's campaign has used a series of spots to hammer home that argument, aided by the slogan "No one can do more."
Overall, the poll gives Reid 46 percent of the vote to Republican Sharron Angle's 44. Just 5 percent of voters said they are undecided, while 2 percent wanted another candidate and another 3 percent selected "none of these."
It marks a slight increase in support for both candidates from a Mason-Dixon poll two weeks ago, which had Reid leading 43-42.
Still, both candidates have high negatives and Reid is simply unable to shake Angle, who despite being hit relentlessly as "too extreme" by state and national Democrats is keeping the race tight.
More from the LVRJ:
Pollster Brad Coker said the clout question could be key to the outcome of the tight race as the four-term senator and his backers contend Nevada can't afford to lose Reid's power, an argument that may win some support even from those who don't like the unpopular incumbent in an anti-incumbent election year.
A majority of voters say they are willing to sacrifice the Senate majority leader's power. But, for now, fewer seem ready to try a freshman senator who has vowed to block the Democratic Party agenda and who argues Reid hasn't done enough to revive Nevada's worst-in-the-nation economy and record high jobless and home foreclosure rates.
"More people are saying we don't need him there" in Washington, Coker said, adding it tracks with Reid's high negatives. "That's the kind of number that may foreshadow what the vote might look like when we get to the end. I think this race is more a referendum on Harry Reid than about Sharron Angle."
The clout question breaks down largely by party lines with 76 percent of Democrats saying Nevada needs to return Reid to the Senate and 83 percent of Republicans saying his power isn't worth it. Among swing nonpartisan voters, 54 percent said Reid's position isn't too valuable and 43 percent disagree.