Scott Rasmussen’s latest poll numbers show that Sen. John Ensign, thought by many (including me) to be safe, now holds a lead of only seven points over rival Jack Carter. The poll numbers come as a surprise as Ensign, the veteran, has outspent his opponent more than two-to-one, and has consistently led in the few polls that have been taken.
The numbers are in part due to the inroads that Carter has been able to make in the state’s small but important rural population. Carter, the son of the peanut farmer turned President, manages to pull off the same kind of “aw shucks” personality that worked so well for his father. His daughter/webmaster is also making good use of the electronic resources at their disposal by, among other things, uploading the campaign’s ads onto YouTube, allowing the campaign to get its message out cheaply and efficiently.
The incumbent, Sen. John Ensign, has been one of Congress’ most reliable conservatives. He has worked to ensure that the Senate has the fortitude to see the War on Terror through. He has consistently supported tax relief, winning the praise of several taxpayer organizations. Perhaps most importantly, his name is attached to just about any piece of social conservative legislation that is proposed.
It’s not panic time yet. This is just one poll, and Ensign maintains a sizable cash on hand advantage. That said, if this race does prove to be competitive, saving Sen. John Ensign should be any conservative’s number one priority this election cycle.