Sunday, June 20, 2010

Harry Reid Might Be The Luckiest Senate Candidate

It is too soon to predict what will happen in the Nevada race for U.S. Senate, but Harry Reid's challenger Sharron Angle seems determined to prove that she is not ready for primetime. Check out this video footage from, a local Las Vegas television station.

Finally, according to many websites -- including TPM -- Angle tried "to gain support for a prison drug rehabilitation program that would involve prisoners quitting drugs cold turkey, with saunas and massages as part of treatment -- an idea promoted by the Church of Scientology." During the Republican primary, Sue Lowden, Angle's opponent, ran a humorous ad criticizing the plan. Lowden, of course, ran into trouble for her own bizarre positions. Lowden suggested, for example, that healthcare reform could be accomplished if the country returned to a barter system, in which patients brought "chickens" to their physicians in exchange for medical services. Oh, Nevada!

Here is the prison massage campaign ad:


Matt P. said...

Yeah Darren. He is lucky to be 11 points down.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: If you know much about election polls, you know it is too early -- just as I said in my essay. Reid is lucky because Angle is probably the best candidate he could have faced. Whether you hate Reid or not, Angle comes across as a pure nutcase.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Evidence that it is too early -- polls all over the map: "A Mason-Dixon poll conducted a week before Angle won the primary showed her and Reid statistically tied."

Matt P. said...

I'll try and remember those words of wisdom Darren next time you cite a Crist poll. You know, those polls that are more narrow and where he dropped out of the race against Rubio because he was going to lose.

Matt P. said...

I should add that in no way am I stating an opinion on Angle. Know nothing about her. Though if she is such a nut case what does that say about your no anti-incumbency fever position? My position is anti-Democrat fever to be clear. Then anti-incumbent.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Sorry, Matt, but consistency does not bother. Sooooo, it is too early to predict the Florida race - just like the Nevada race. Still, this does not mean that Crist was not smart to abandon the Republican Party -- or that he will not win. Florida is a purple state; Meek is an unknown Democrat who probably won't win; Rubio will not attract moderates and Democrats, as will Crist.

Reid has faced very close senate races before. He is extremely unpopular among many Republicans and moderates. But, running against a flake could improve his chances. One poll showing Angle in the lead and another showing a tie suggest that the race is open -- which makes Reid fairly lucky, given the intensity of some voter opposition to him.

The Nevada contest says nothing about anti-incumbent fervor. It's anti-Reid fervor. Pelosi (the other of the 3 most-hated Democrats) will win comfortably. And as I have said in most of my articles on this subject, ideology is a more relevant factor than incumbency. Fewer incumbents have lost primaries this year than the average year:

I am not sure how this will turn out (yet again), but Reid is pretty lucky to run against a Tea Party nutcase who wants to abolish social security, the EPA, the DOE, and who supports voters using "Second Amendment" tactics to fix Congress.

Matt P. said...

Darren as usual we don't actually disagree all that much but let's be honest. Harry Reid won his last senate campaign with 61% of the damn vote. He is now currently running 11 points down to his opponent which I think may be the first poll taken since she was selected his opponent.

You can pick out every single race and choose some random issue as to why the incumbent is in trouble. Many are in trouble. The guy is the Majority Leader and he is down by 11 points with no scandal. Win with 61% to down by 11 points to a no-name alleged crackpot in one cycle without a scandal... Enough said.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Matt: not enough said. As majority leader from a state that rotates between Republican and Democratic leaders (and really leans right) Reid is a great target. Personally, I find him troublesome as the Senate Majority Leader. But, the reason he is down is not because he already occupies office. It is due to ideology and, I suspect, his weaknesses as a senator. These are not random issues; they are classic reasons why people choose candidate x or y. The anti-incumbent rhetoric, by contrast, is an unthoughtful media discourse that quickly morphed into the "year of the woman" rhetoric after incumbents performed excellently on the second major primary night.

Question: How many other incumbents have lost in Nevada? None, I believe (if any, just 1 or 2 perhaps). So, your theory lacks empirical soundness. If the anti-incumbent wave has swept Nevada (at least), then why aren't all incumbents from the state in jeopardy?

Question 2: Have you even read this article and the linked article by Sabata: Political scientists rarely join the bandwagon analysis that media pundits love. It's usually very weak.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

PS: I have not said that incumbents will not suffer this year. My point is that, thus far, the election results provide very little evidence to support the claim that "thus far," incumbents have performed miserably. Neither you nor the media can substantiate this claim - which is very different from how incumbents will perform in November. Nonetheless, the headlines continue to attribute every election to an anti-incumbent fervor, despite the lack of sound empirical data to prove the point.

Matt P. said...

So much wrong and so little time. Let me take these in order.

Darren, anti-incumbency is ALWAYS the result of some undermining reason(s). It is shorthand for people being dissatisfied with the economy (you yourself have mentioned this), fiscal irresponsibility, lack of promised change, lying, etc. Unless you can prove that Reid's ideology has changed or his constituents have changed in population makeup dramatically your argument makes no sense. He is the same guy he was 5 years ago. Him being hated nationally has little to do with the local vote.

Hey where was all this rigor when the media AND YOU were talking about Tea Party violence or racism. 700,000 people attend these events and 2 or 3 allegedly yell the N-word and it is all over the news for weeks.

Answer to #1 and #2: I don't know how many NV incumbents have gone down. Their Governor did according to the Sabato article which I read when you originally posted it. I actually commented on the fact that he isn't taking into consideration the many incumbents who have retired.

This is important Darren. Dodd, Kennedy and Bayh are 3 longstanding Democrats who no one expected to retire 2 years ago. They retired because they knew they would lose. Crist is similar. To not count the many like them is intellectually unsound. Kennedy won 68-24 a few years ago. When he announced his retirement a poll showed 35% would vote to re-elect him.

Lastly, you are choosing to only focus on the actual election results. Certainly the most important data point. However, the media narrative is taking into account the Tea Party phenomena as well as all the polls. the complete story won't be told until November.

Look at this famously right-wing NPR poll and article that is an example of the fuel that this narrative is based on:

Question to you: Do I have more evidence about this than you have of the Tea Party being racist? You could collect $100,000 if you have any audio of the N word from that DC protest. Weird how none ever surfaced with the hundreds of devices yet just one guy got Helen Thomas and two kids got Democratic Congressional violence in the form of Bob Etheridge.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

"Darren, anti-incumbency is ALWAYS the result of some undermining reason(s)."

Great -- you agree. Incumbents who lose are not losing simply because they are incumbents. Took a long time for you to admit this. Better late than never, I suppose.

Also, the fact that Reid's ideology might not have changed, does not discount ideology. Nevada voted for Bush over Kerry and Obama over McCain. Voters can accept different ideologies depending upon the immediate political context. Besides, if the Tea Party is right -- and Obama is a socialist, radical, commie Muslim -- then Reid has become a radical by pursuing Obama's agenda. Thus, they perceive him as shifting to the left. Are you saying the Tea Party's argument is flawed?

Matt P. said...

Huh! The narrative isn't that incumbents are in danger of losing in large numbers JUST because they are incumbents. How about you post several links to such articles in the mainstream press. There is virtually always reference to voter angst/disgust over economy, health care, etc. This is typical.

Nice straw man. And thanks for your non-responsiveness. I'll take that as an admission.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...


First, there is no reason to point out there is an anti-incumbent rage, if these other factors influence voting. So, for example, a "moderate" Republican who doesn't hold office, would not have beaten an incumbent rightwinger in primaries in South Carolina, etc.

Second, you STILL HAVE NOT conceded that not many incumbents have actually lost (even less than in the average primary seasons).

Third, the media has never analyzed the incumbent story in the detail that I have. So, I can give you many articles that literally say the election results prove an anti-incumbent fervor without saying anything else. So, apparently, we are supposed to believe that there are all of these other factors that the media know exist, but simply did not analyze. Either way, they engaged in sloppy writing and analysis. The anti-incumbent fervoer is not supported by the election results to date. End of story (literally).

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