Exit poll: Reid US Senate win had minority backing
LAS VEGAS (AP) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won re-election with overwhelming support from minority voters, an Associated Press analysis of exit poll results showed Tuesday night.
The Democrat bested Republican challenger Sharron Angle among all nonwhite voters surveyed, including about two-thirds of Hispanics, and nearly eight in 10 blacks and Asians.
The exit and telephone poll of early and absentee voters showed minorities made up about four in 10 Reid voters.
About seven in 10 voters overall were white, and Angle was supported by more than half of them.
Race became a visible issue in the nasty campaign after ads and gaffes by Angle generated complaints from Reid’s campaign and some voters. Angle maintained that it was Reid who was fixated on race, not her.
Chris Mendez, an 18-year-old high school senior from Las Vegas who voted early, said he wasn’t happy with Reid but thought Nevada would lose national clout with Angle in office. Plus, he didn’t like her comments on immigration and Latinos.
“I think a lot of what she has said is really anti-Hispanic,” he said. “It only makes me not want to support her even more. She turns a lot of my friends off.”
Reid retained a higher percentage of votes from voters who called themselves Democratic than Angle garnered from those who consider themselves Republican.
Angle lost despite attracting slightly more voters calling themselves independent than Reid.
Republican Brian Sandoval won the race for Nevada governor over the majority leader’s son, Democrat Rory Reid, by picking up six in 10 votes among voters who consider themselves independent or faithful to a third party.
Sandoval drew more support from Democratic crossover voters than Rory Reid did from Republicans.
Sandoval also won support from more than half the voters who called the economy the top issue.
Six in 10 Nevada voters said the nationwide tea party movement wasn’t a factor in their vote in the 2010 Senate race. Nearly four in 10 voters said they support the conservative movement. That was slightly more than the number of voters who said they oppose the movement.
Nearly one in four voters said they have neutral feelings about the tea party.
As expected, tea party backers overwhelmingly picked Angle. Reid was picked as strongly by those opposed to the movement.
More than seven in 10 voters surveyed said they were either dissatisfied or angry over the way the federal government works.
Fewer than four in 10 voters said they strongly favored the Senate candidate they voted for – just as many said they disliked the other candidates. More than one in five said they liked their candidate, but with reservations.
Robert Woolley, a 49-year-old professional poker player from Las Vegas, said he voted for Angle, but said describing himself as a supporter would be “a bit dicey.”
“I certainly don’t agree with Angle on everything – I disagree with her on a fairly substantial number of things,” he said. “But no candidate is going to agree with 100 percent of your views.”
Woolley, who said he is a libertarian, said his top issue was curbing federal spending, making his choice “crystal clear.”
The top issue for voters this election was the economy, with two-thirds of voters naming it as more important than the war in Afghanistan, health care and illegal immigration.
Those who picked the economy slightly favored Reid over Angle. More than half who said illegal immigration was the top issue backed Angle, while seven in 10 who identified health care backed Reid.
The survey of 3,827 Nevada voters was conducted for AP by Edison Research. A total of 3,027 were interviewed in a random sample of 45 precincts statewide Tuesday; approximately 800 who voted early or absentee were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 22 through Oct. 31. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.