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« RIP, Jean Finnegan Biden | Blog Home Page | The Week Ahead: Game Changers »

A Rough Weekend for Harry Reid

He still has 10 months before he faces re-election, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to have hit a new low this weekend, on several fronts.

The hot story involves statements attributed to Reid in "Game Change," a new book from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Reid is said to have believed that Obama would make a better nominee in the 2008 campaign because, "He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.'" The comment was reported late Friday by Marc Ambinder.

Reid apologized this morning for "using such a poor choice of words," and now the White House has issued a statement from the president accepting that apology:

"Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."

All this comes as new polling from Mason Dixon (625 RVs, 1/5-1/7, MoE +/- 4%) in today's Las Vegas Review-Journal shows him at his lowest point in matchups against potential Republican foes. You can see the full breakdown after the jump.

General Election Matchups
Lowden 50 (-1 vs last poll, 11/30-12/2)
Reid 40 (-1)
Und 10 (+2)

Tarkanian 49 (+1)
Reid 41 (-1)
Und 10 (unch)

Angle 45
Reid 40
Und 15

Tarkanian leads Reid by 6.3, and Lowden by 7, in the RCP Averages. Here's an especially troubling stat in the survey:

In each of the three Reid-GOP matchups polled, for example, the senator would get only about one-quarter of the independent vote, according to the latest Mason-Dixon poll. The three potential Republican opponents would get more than half the independent voters' support if the race against Reid were held today: Lowden (59 percent), Tarkanian (56 percent) and Angle (53 percent).

As you can see, Reid peaks at 40 even against Sharron Angle, a little-known figure statewide. Again, the only thing working in Reid's favor is the open Republican race, which the poll (300 RVs, MoE +/- 6%) shows is still largely unsettled.

Primary Election Matchup
Tarkanian 28 (+4)
Lowden 26 (-1)
Angle 13 (unch)
Amodei 1
Und 32 (-1)

Reid's favorable rating is down 5 points, and his unfavorable is up 3.

Favorable Ratings
Reid 33 / 52
Angle 21 / 11
Lowden 32 / 17
Tarkanian 33 / 16