Reid and Angle are virtually tied in Nevada

Holly Bailey

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has spent nearly $2 million on TV ads attacking GOP rival Sharron Angle over the past month. But in spite of Angle's own missteps — like, say, running away from reporters at a news conference — Reid can't seem to gain much of an edge in the race. The latest Las Vegas Review-Journal poll, out Friday, has Reid leading Angle by just 1 point, 43 percent to 42 percent. By comparison, Reid led Angle by 7 points in the last poll two weeks ago.

The problem for Reid is no mystery: Nevada voters are angry over the state's dismal unemployment numbers and struggling economy. Sixty percent say the country is on the wrong track, and 51 percent have an unfavorable view of Reid. Of course, not many voters like Angle either. Her unfavorable rating is at 47 percent, an increase of more than 10 percentage points since the primary.

But here's why Reid should be worried: While Angle is almost as unpopular as he is, she's starting to gain on Reid in areas of the state where he's always done best, including Las Vegas. According to the Review-Journal, Angle was losing Clark County by 17 points two weeks ago, but now Reid leads the county by just 8 points. She's also gaining in rural parts of the state, which have been her base.

Another good sign for Angle: She's now leading among independent voters, who are likely to determine the race. Two weeks ago, Reid held a narrow lead, 37 percent to 35 percent. Now Angle has a 7-point advantage, leading Reid 43 percent to 36 percent. The poll finds independent voters in Nevada even more unhappy about the state of the country than other voting blocs.

That's more bad news for Reid, who desperately needs swing voters to win.