Hotline: Lowden Leads, But GOP Wary Of Tea Party

Lowden Leads, But GOP Wary Of Tea Party

Ex-state Sen./ex-NV GOP chair Sue Lowden (R) has a clear lead over her GOP primary rivals, according to a new independent survey, but GOPers should be worried about the presence of a third-party candidate running with the Tea Party label.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal poll of 625 likely voters, conducted by Mason-Dixon between Feb. 22-24, had a margin of error of +/- 4%. An oversample of 300 GOP LVs had a margin of error of +/- 3%. Lowden, businessman/’06 Sec/State nom. Danny Tarkanian (R), ex-Assemb.Sharron Angle (R), investment banker John Chachas (R) and Marine vet. Bill Parson (R) were tested. General election matchups posed Lowden, Tarkanian and Angle against Sen.Harry Reid (D).

Primary Election Matchup
Lowden        47
Tarkanian     29
Angle          8
Chachas        1
Parson        --

General Election Matchups
Reid          36     Lowden        52
Generic GOPer 32     Reid          39
Tea Party nom 18

Tarkanian     51     Angle         44
Reid          40     Reid          42

Reid’s electoral future remains uncertain, but businessman Jon Ashjian‘s ballot access as a Tea Party candidate will complicate matters for the GOP. The poll shows a generic Tea Party candidate would attract 22% of GOP voters versus just 12% of Dems. Matched up head-to-head, Lowden’s 13-point lead is 3 points higher than the Jan. 5-7 survey, and Tarkanian’s 11-point edge is up 3 points from Jan.

Reid’s ratings are still dismal, at just 33% fav/51% unfav. And though Pres. Obama has gone to bat for Reid more than for any other candidate, those visits are having little impact. Thepoll showed just 7% of voters said they are more likely to vote for Reid after Obama’s latest visit.

Lowden is the frontrunner to oust Reid, as we wrote last week. And while Reid can’t buy a break, this race, more than any in the country, is where the Tea Party could make a difference that hurts the GOP.