Senate GOP race tightening poll says |

Senate GOP race tightening poll says

LAS VEGAS (AP) – The race is tightening for the top three candidates seeking the Nevada Republican party nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Harry Reid in November, according to a newspaper poll released Thursday.

Former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle gained on front-runner Sue Lowden, and appeared to edge ahead of Las Vegas lawyer and businessman Danny Tarkanian in the latest Las Vegas Review-Journal poll taken in advance of the June 8 primary. Early voting begins May 22.

Lowden drew 30 percent, Angle drew 25 percent and Tarkanian drew 22 percent support in the survey of 500 likely Republican voters contacted Monday and Tuesday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C.

The survey has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, and 18 percent of respondents say they’re still undecided.

Angle gained with the backing of a national Tea Party group, while Lowden’s campaign became a target for YouTube “Chickens for Checkups” parodies after the former casino executive and state senator suggested patients could barter with doctors for medical care.

The poll showed that Angle’s name recognition increased to 85 percent, compared with 67 percent about a month ago. Just 4 percent of GOP primary voters said they didn’t know Lowden’s name, and 3 percent said they didn’t know Tarkanian, a real estate developer and former UNLV basketball player and son of former coach Jerry Tarkanian.

The poll found 3 percent support for John Chachas, a former Wall Street investment banker from Ely, and 2 percent backing for Chad Christensen, a state assemblyman who has begun advocating for Nevada to adopt an Arizona-style law to let police ask people whether they are legal U.S. residents.

In a similar Mason-Dixon survey taken April 5-7, Lowden led the crowded field of 12 Republicans with 45 percent support, compared with 27 percent for Tarkanian, 5 percent for Angle, 4 percent for Christensen and 3 percent for Chachas.

That survey was based on 300 Republicans surveyed, and had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

Reid, the Democratic majority leader, is considered vulnerable in his bid for a fifth Senate term representing a state with an unemployment rate of 13.4 percent and the highest home foreclosure rate in the nation.