LAS VEGAS (AP) — A barrage of attack ads from both sides has done zilch to yield a front-runner in Nevada's heated Senate race, according to a new poll that shows voters remain evenly split between Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican challenger Sharron Angle.
In the first survey to question voters about all the Senate candidates, the poll published Friday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and KLAS-TV shows Reid and Angle tied with 43 percent support.
Reid and Angle continued to draw support from their bases — 82 percent for Reid from Democrats and 79 percent for Angle from Republicans, the poll shows.
Four percent in the telephone survey of 625 likely voters said they want none of the candidates. Eight percent were undecided.
Despite the deadlock, the poll charts a small victory trail for Angle, who could win if she is able to exploit a strong advantage over Reid among nonpartisan voters.
The poll, conducted this week by Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
The Senate race has been in a virtual dead heat for most of the general election.
In a poll published two weeks ago, Reid was ahead of Angle 46-44, but that was within the margin of error and voters were not asked about other candidates. Undecideds were at 6 percent.
The campaign has played out in a fit of fierce ads since June, when Angle captured the Republican nomination in a surprise finish.
Reid unleashed the first attack and has charged forward with an unrelenting campaign to cast Angle as an extreme conservative who would dismantle Social Security, Medicare and multiple federal agencies.
In turn, Angle has painted Reid as the villain behind the state's wounded economy and, most recently, as a close ally of illegal immigrants.
Nevada leads the nation in joblessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
As usual, both campaigns greeted the poll numbers with an optimistic front.
Angle's campaign celebrated her growing support among independents.
"That stat may put some perspective on why Harry was so worried about our ad on illegal immigration," spokesman Jarrod Agen said in a statement. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kelly Steele, a Reid campaign spokesman, said the numbers show Angle's campaign has stalled.
"They have put millions of dollars into these ads and they haven't been able to move the dial," he said in a telephone interview.
But, Reid's numbers remain locked, too.
Tea Party of Nevada candidate Scott Ashjian and the Independent American Party's Tim Fasano each garnered 1 percent support.
Conservative groups feared Ashjian would depress turnout for Angle and had tried to remove him from the ballot. Angle has been endorsed by the national Tea Party Express.
Voters showed no love for the four nonpartisan candidates named in the survey: Michael Haines, Jesse Holland, Jeffrey Reeves and Wil Stand.
Information from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com