Reid Predicts Clinton, Cortez Masto Will Carry Nevada

Minority leader rejects polls showing Democratic Senate candidate behind

Sen. Harry Reid reminded reporters that he emerged with a clear victory in Nevada's 2010 Senate race, despite the polls. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)
Sen. Harry Reid reminded reporters that he emerged with a clear victory in Nevada's 2010 Senate race, despite the polls. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 6, 2016 at 2:45pm

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid thinks the polls in Nevada are underestimating Latino voters again.

“We’re doing well with Hispanics. We’re going to do better the next 32 days,” the retiring Nevada Democrat told reporters Thursday. “Clinton’s going to win Nevada. Cortez Masto’s going to win Nevada, and one of the main reasons is we’ll have a very, very strong Hispanic vote.”

Former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat and Reid’s preferred successor, is running against Republican Rep. Joe Heck. The race is rated a Tossup by The Rothenberg & Gomzales Political Report/Roll Call.

[Can Joe Heck Really Win in Nevada?]

When asked by a reporter for RealClearPolitics about that organization’s aggregation of Nevada Senate race polls, Reid ripped poll averages, alluding to faults in the underlying methodology.

“You average out all these bad polls,” Reid said. “Six years ago I never led in a poll, a public poll, never, but I wound up winning by 6 points. And Catherine’s going to win by a nice margin.”

In that 2010 Nevada Senate race, Reid was regularly shown trailing Republican challenger Sharron Angle, and even the exit polls missed the result.

The most likely source of the problem was in oversampling English speakers among the Silver State’s Latino population. Bilingual polling conducted by Latino Decisions showed that 90 percent of Latinos were likely Reid voters, as opposed to the 68 percent in the exit poll.

“The first ad they ran against me? Harry Reid, the best friend illegal immigrants ever had. The Hispanic community didn’t think that was funny. They took it very seriously, and they were outraged that somebody who had been trying over the couple of decades to be involved in the Hispanic community was insulted as they were,” Reid said, describing the opposition attacks in his 2010 race. “They turned out in droves, and it’s only going to get better this time.”

[Fear and Loathing Among Latinos in the 2016 Campaign]

Reid joined the Nevada State Democratic Party conference call Thursday afternoon as part of his ongoing criticism of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Unlike in some Senate races, Nevada Democrats are actively trying to hook Heck to Trump.)

“I have news for Donald: it’s pronounced Nev-AD-a and Yucca Mountain is dead,” Reid responded in a statement Wednesday evening after Trump drew ridicule for telling a crowd in Reno how to pronounce the name of the Silver State, in a way that does not match the pronunciation favored by locals.

Trump also ducked on providing a direct answer on whether Yucca Mountain, a volcanic ridge in the Nevada desert, should be used as a repository for nuclear waste.  Reid has used his considerable influence to stymie that effort at every turn, whether through helping push critics on to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or through the appropriations process.

[Reid: ‘Donald Trump is a Racist’]

But of course, just issuing a statement was not enough for Reid, who has been an active supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“He has no idea what he’s talking about most of the time,” Reid said of Trump on the news conference call Thursday. “People in the audience knew he was wrong.”

“Not aware of the Yucca Mountain issue? This has been going on for 20 years,” the minority leader said. “Isn’t that so nice that he said he would take a look at it.”

Reid reasserted that the nuclear waste site proposal will never be resuscitated, despite his impending retirement from the Senate.