It just feels as if [Reid] is going to lose. But I don’t think he will. Why?
First, let me be clear on this tradition of predictions. It is not a wish list but a walking out on a limb, so I can either crow afterward or eat same. I base them on data I am privy to and my gut. I have had much success in the past — look it up. But if ever there were a year for my lifetime batting average to take a hit, this is the one.
So take this for what it’s worth:
Harry Reid is the most resilient figure in Nevada political history. He should not even be here. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1974, embarrassed himself in a mayoral race in 1975 and should have lost his re-election bid in 1998. But he found a way to win 12 years ago, and he will again Tuesday.
Reid’s handlers have run one of the most spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy — to peel moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away from Angle — has worked.
And, perhaps equally important, Republicans managed to nominate the one person this year who could lose to Reid.
Angle is a natural retail campaigner in small political subdivisions. But that’s not what a Senate race is about. And her campaign never could find a comfortable way to reconcile her past, controversial statements — they tried massage, change and deny — and she made plenty more during the campaign (Sharia law here, Canada’s terrorist conduit, Latinos-in-ads amnesia).
In the end, if she loses, I believe the six weeks following the GOP nominee’s primary win — she had a double-digit lead in June polls — were pivotal. During that period, the Reid ad campaign defined her so starkly and turned enough people into Anglophobes to give him a chance.
One more thing: Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in early voting they should in a wave election — under 4 points. And all the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15 points or so, he will hold on.