Support for Sen. Harry Reid has slipped since he became Senate minority leader in November 2004, according to anewspaper poll.
The percentage of Nevada voters who viewed the Democratic
senator favorably dropped by 10 percentage points since 2004 to 43
percent, while the number who viewed him unfavorably increased 14
points to 39 percent, according to a poll commissioned by the Las
Vegas Review-Journal and released Tuesday.
The poll surveyed 625 regular voters April 3-5 and has a margin
of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Analysts say Reid's prominent position in the party may have
turned off voters who viewed him as independent. As the leader of
the opposition in the Senate, Reid has been tagged by many
Republicans as "obstructionist."
"This is the problem that any national leader faces within his
state," said Eric Herzik, a political science professor at the
University of Nevada, Reno. "He has to take some positions
nationally that probably do hurt him back in Nevada, and he has to
be more outspoken."
Reid spokeswoman Sharyn Stein said the senator "is willing to
take gutsy and sometimes controversial stands in his fight for
change ... rather than following polls."
Brad Coker, a managing partner Mason-Dixon Polling & Research
Inc., which conducted the survey, said the prominent national
position can be a burden.
"Becoming Senate minority leader doesn't always help with the
folks back home. Just ask Tom Daschle," Coker said.
Daschle, a three-term senator from South Dakota and Reid's
predecessor as Senate minority leader, lost his re-election race in
an upset in 2004.