Poll: Obamacare champion Harry Reid trails GOP challenger

By Chris Rizo | Apr 17, 2010

Harry Reid (D)

Sue Lowden (R)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Legal Newsline)-U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, a leading force behind the controversial national health care overhaul, faces a tough election fight, a poll indicates.

Released Friday, a Mason-Dixon poll of 625 Nevadans found that the Democratic leader trails his front-running Republican challenger, former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden, by 10 points.

In a hypothetical general election match-up, 47 percent of respondents said they'd vote for Lowden if the November election were held today, while 37 percent said they would reelect Reid to a fifth term as the Silver State's senor senator. Reid was first elected to the Senate in 1986.

Commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the poll showed Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian attracting 2 percent support, while Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano has 3 percent. Eight percent of respondents said they were undecided on who they support in the closely-watched race.

The poll is good news for Republicans, who are seeking to unseat the Senate's top Democrat for the second time in six years. In 2004, the GOP was able to defeat Tom Daschle of South Dakota, then the Senate minority leader, when Republicans held a majority in the chamber.

Recently, Reid has been the target of criticism over the Senate's passage of the national health care law that requires most Americans to have health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.

The law, which is partly bankrolled by federal tax increases, will expand insurance coverage to more than 32 million Americans, marking the most significant expansion of medical care since Congress created Medicare in 1965 for the nation's elderly and disabled.

President Barack Obama signed the legislation -- the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- into law last month.

The law is being challenged by 20 states that say the insurance mandate violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The multistate lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. A second lawsuit was filed in Virginia by that state's attorney general.

Reid became minority leader in 2005, after Daschle left office. He has been majority leader since 2007.

Reid's campaign has disputed the poll's findings, saying the survey was not scientifically sound because the poll relied on random telephone dialing.

The Mason-Dixon poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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