“More people in Nevada dislike these candidates than like them”

The knock on the front door elicited the annoyed yapping of an unseen dog, followed by the appearance of a gray-haired man busily eating chips from a bag. His callers were two union workers, canvassing the neighborhood on behalf of Democrats, especially Senator Harry Reid.

The man said that he knew Mr. Reid, and that Mr. Reid was an idiot. So was his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. In fact, said the man, a retired steelworker named Mario Mari, he might very well choose a third option here in Nevada: the phantom candidate known as None of the Above.

“This country is going down,” Mr. Mari said, before closing the door to a bleak Nevada landscape, where jobs are few and foreclosures many.