Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid's chances for six more years in Washington may be like tossing dice in a casino, even if he has made headway against Republican challenger Sharron Angle in a state with the nation's highest rate of joblessness.
The four-term Reid holds a slight lead over Angle in the latest polling, thanks in part to her unsteady performance since winning the June primary and to Democratic ads portraying her as an extremist. Video of Angle scurrying away from reporters has mixed with television commercials of older voters upset about her call to phase out Social Security and Medicare.
But an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press says Reid has a "a serious problem" with voters frustrated with the economy. The July 15 memo is based on polling research conducted for a union-funded group that is running TV ads against Angle.
The race is wide open, the memo concludes, despite Reid's improved standing and voters' alarm over some of Angle's positions.
The winner in November will be the candidate "who makes the more persuasive case that he, or she, is more dependable and can be counted on to deliver for Nevada in these tough economic times," the memo says.
When asked about his standing in the race, Reid on Saturday said he didn't pay attention to fluctuating polls.
"The No. 1 problem we have in Nevada is jobs," he said.
Nevada's unemployment rate of 14.2 percent is the highest on record in the once-booming Silver State and well above the national average of 9.5 percent. A record number of home foreclosures also has rocked the state.
Angle is trying to recover from a rocky, sometimes embarrassing stretch in which she's attempted to transform her mom-and-pop primary campaign into a multimillion-dollar general election operation.
She no longer talks about phasing out Social Security and Medicare; she says they should be "personalized."
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