The latest poll out of Nevada, where Senate Majority Harry Reid is in a tough reelection battle against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle for the state's U.S. Senate seat, contradicts the conventional wisdom that Reid is emerging as a favorite in the race.
According to a new survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Angle has essentially pulled even with Reid in what has become one of the most closely watched contests this election season. Angle now trails Reid by a slim 43 to 42 percent margin, according to the poll.
These results come just weeks after a poll conducted earlier this month showed Angle trailing Reid by seven points. It should be noted, however, that the earlier poll sampled likely voters, while the one released today sampled only registered voters.
The new poll also shows that both candidates remain largely unpopular in the state. 51 percent of voters said they hold an unfavorable impression of Reid, while 47 percent said the same of Angle. Only 38 percent had favorable impressions of Reid and Angle, respectively.
The poll comes after an aggressivefrom the Reid camp labeling Angle both "extreme" and "dangerous," which could explain Angle's numbers. Reid's ads have spotlighted Angle's earlier campaign promises to "phase-out" Social Security and Medicare.
Reid has been plagued by his state's high unemployment numbers and the increasingly high rate of home foreclosures. Angle recently released her own ads calling attention to these problems and noting that unemployment has risen from 4.4 percent to 14.2 percent while Reid has been in the Senate.
Brad Corker of Mason Dixon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that this may help Angle. He argued that while Reid may have hurt Angle's reputation temporarily, he has been unable to boost his own image due to the state's poor economy.
"Reid had the airwaves to himself for a while, and he drove her numbers down with the advertising," he said. "But that didn't necessarily drive his numbers up. There hasn't been a lot of good news to hang his hat on."
Corker added: "The independents are the most volatile and are the ones who are going to decide this race. I still see this as an anti-incumbent and anti-Democrat cycle."