(Chuck Muth) – A new poll conducted for Nevada News & Views shows a third of likely Democrat voters would favor Rory Reid if the Democrat gubernatorial primary were held today, with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman pulling another third, and the remaining third favoring someone else.
The results show Reid, a Clark County commissioner and son of Sen. Harry Reid, with 34 percent; Goodman with 33 percent; and “someone else” with 33 percent according to the statewide poll conducted by P.M.I. Inc.
The automated poll, conducted Friday and Saturday, November 13-14, generated 3,630 responses from likely Democrat voters statewide. A total of 14,873 registered Democrat voters were randomly selected for the poll. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Goodman, currently a registered Democrat, has said he’d likely switch his party affiliation to “independent” if he ran for governor rather than run in a Democrat primary. These results might help persuade him that’s the best course of action if he’s truly interested in the job.
“I’d say this shows Goodman must switch and run as an independent to win this race,” said Jerry Dorchuck, chairman and CEO of PMI. “I say that because of who Rory’s dad is. You have to believe Rory will benefit from the same GOTV efforts and organization in the Democratic primary that his father will have in the general. Combined with the reported $4 million he’ll have to spend, and the problems Goodman has with some labor unions, I gotta believe Oscar would ultimately suffer the same fate that Jim Gibson suffered three years ago.”
Gibson, the former Henderson mayor, lost the Democrat gubernatorial primary to then-state Sen. Dina Titus in 2006 despite being perceived as the stronger general election candidate.
Independents haven’t had much success in U.S. elections, but when they do, it’s often because the candidate possesses a strong and unique personality – such as former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura who won the Minnesota governor’s race a few years ago. Goodman, who made his bones in Las Vegas as the “mob’s lawyer,” certainly falls into that category.
And people like him.
Not just Las Vegans, but people in general – including people who live in the rurals. What’s not to like about a guy who celebrates happy hour whenever possible, especially if it’s in the company of beautiful women? Cowboys don’t like babes and booze? Come on.
General election voters are far more likely to be swayed by a likeable personality. Primary voters in both parties are more ideologically driven. Rory Reid is charisma-challenged and moderate Brian Sandoval, the likely GOP nominee, is ideologically-challenged. Goodman would be able to pull strongly from both camps in a general election. Probably more from the D’s, but certainly a lot from the R’s, as well.
And registered “independents” are the fastest-growing voter bloc in Nevada’s electorate.
The political winds are blowing against the Democrats right now – and Rory also has to deal with what Jon Ralston calls “Reid Fatigue,” thanks to his dad’s decades of service in the political biz.
But Republicans with their own problems (scandal-plagued John Ensign, Jim Gibbons and Brian Krolicki), aren’t faring much better in public opinion.
Nevada voters next year just might take the opportunity to teach both of the major parties a lesson and roll the dice with the independent Goodman. Stranger things have happened in politics. Especially here in Nevada.