Gaffe May Sink Reid in Nevada

Majority leader can't afford to lose any black voters in 2010
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2010 12:06 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)

(Newser) – Harry Reid’s already shaky reelection prospects just got a whole lot shakier, thanks to his observations on Barack Obama’s skin color. Reid isn’t facing a strong Republican opponent, but he’s been behind in the polls for a while now anyway, notes Nate Silver of He’d been relying on a strong money advantage and turnout machine would help him eke out a win, but any erosion in his black support could sink him.

African Americans, who make up 10% of Nevada’s electorate, have been a bedrock of support for Reid. In one September poll, for example, he lead political neophyte Danny Tarkanian 74-5 among black voters, while trailing him 40-45 overall. If, hypothetically, 10% of those black voters switched sides, and another 20% didn’t vote, Tarkanian’s lead stretches to 47-38. Even before the gaffe, Reid was imperiled. Now, Silver concludes, he needs to at least consider retirement.

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