Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Nevada Senate: Unpopular Reid Jabs Unpopular Bush — Again

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) took another opportunity Sunday to attack the unpopularity of President George W. Bush, despite his own mediocre polling numbers.

“I really do believe that President Bush is the worst president we’ve ever had,” Reid said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The Majority Leader is consistent, as he said the very same thing almost three years ago.

“I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had,” Reid told the New York Times in March 2006.

But Reid isn’t exactly the best critic of job performance, because he’s establishing his own track record of unpopularity.

For the past two years, Reid has presided over one half of an extremely unpopular Congress. According to national exit polling in the November elections, just 24 percent of Americans approved of the job Congress was doing, compared with 73 percent who disapproved. Bush was at 27 percent approve/71 percent disapprove among Nov. 4 voters.

The news for Reid isn’t any better back home in the Silver State.

A Mason-Dixon survey taken in May 2007 for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed Reid with a personal rating of 32 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable. In comparison, Nevada’s other Senator, Republican John Ensign, enjoyed 51 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable ratings in the same poll.

According to a December 2007 Review-Journal poll, 58 percent of Nevadans gave Reid a fair or poor job rating, while 41 percent said he was doing an excellent or good job. In comparison, Ensign received 57 percent excellent or good job ratings and 40 percent fair or poor, even though he was also in leadership as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Reid isn’t even particularly well-liked among some folks within his own party, particularly those on its left. Just 10 percent of Daily Kos readers who participated in an unscientific, online survey approved of Reid’s job as Majority Leader, while 81 percent did not approve. The survey was conducted in October 2007 on the prominent liberal Web site.

A more recent (and scientific) Nov. 23-25 Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos showed Reid leading then-Rep. Jon Porter (R) 46 percent to 40 percent in a hypothetical 2010 general election matchup.

Even then, Reid was upside down in both his personal rating (38 percent favorable/54 percent unfavorable) and job rating (39 percent approve/57 percent disapprove. Porter, who lost re-election in the 3rd district in November, had 40 percent favorable and 39 percent unfavorable ratings.

Only history will show whether Reid’s critique of the Bush administration is correct. But his self-appointed role of presidential historian isn’t making him many friends.

This story first appeared on on January 5, 2009. 2009 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.