Nevada Early Vote Update (1st Week of Early Voting)

     After the first week of early voting, the Democrats have a statewide raw vote lead of ~28 thousand with a third of the vote in. The numbers in Washoe are about even, with the Democrats having a 1040 vote lead), Clark County had a Dem lead of 38 thousand, while the rural counties had a GOP lead of 10K.  The total number of votes already cast are 25% of all active registered voters.  With an 80% total turnout, this comes to 30% of the vote.

     Unlike in 2008, Washoe County (home of Reno and 20% of state’s voters), never had a day where the GOP had more early voters than Democrats. For three of the past seven days, they did just that, with the last five days showing effectively a dead between Republican and Democrat votes.

     Also, Clark County (home to Las Vegas and 70% of state’s voters) has 211,327 early voters the first week, while in 2008 there was only 159,966. The Democrats lead is 37936, while in 2008 the lead was 44,770. While this is an improvement, early voting in ’08 was only 60% of the total votes cast, while it will probably be around 70% this year. That means it is possible for the Democrats to be in a better position with a smaller lead then in 2008, simply because there are even fewer voters left to vote. In ’08, the Democrats actually did better than the GOP on election day voters, though winning by only 3% or so.

     The Democrats lead after the first week in Clark County was about 18% (which is 3% above their voter registration of 15%).  This is down by 10% of the total early vote so far from 2008, when the Democrats advantage was about 28%.

     The Democrats have ballot lead in Clark County is 82% of what it was in 2010.  When the fact that turnout is 4/3 of what is was in 2008, the Democrats vote lead shrinks to 18% from 28%, with the reduction being 64% of what it was in 2008. This would bring the Democrats lead down to 68 thousand votes. If early voting is estimated to be 70% of the early vote, and assuming that the Democrats absentee and election day lead of over 4% is reduced by a similar 54% to just under 3%, then Democrats will only increase lead to 79 thousand votes.  With Washoe coming in even, and the rural counties given an estimated generous 25K total lead to Romney come election day, Obama will win by about 54 thousand votes, or between 5―6%. This assumes that the 2008 trends for Clark County are mirrored (as modified previously) by what we see in 2012 (which is qualitatively not a bad fit).  For comparison, here are two back-of-the-envelope calculations from both the left and the right.

     All of the above assumes that 2012 trends like in 2008 (with Democrat vote advantage shrunk to 62%, and 4/3 of the voters). The GOP is (allegedly) focusing on turning out low-propensity voters while the Democrats are turning out their high propensity voters to gain an early lead and psychological advantage, though the Republicans do seem to be emphasizing absentee voting over early voting. The polling for the independents has varied from R+18 to D+5 (or more). My back-of-the-envelope calculations have been assuming that each party keeps similar % of their voters and independents are split.

     While this may seem like a lost cause for the GOP, Sen. Heller has been polling ahead of Romney by 4-6%. This means that Heller’s seat is a toss up. With Maine gone for the GOP, and Massachusetts on the precipice, a loss in Nevada would mean the GOP must net up 6 seats just to reach 50 votes. The Heller seat is competitive, as is the race to win the state Senate and NV03 and NV04.

     The only way Romney can win is if he can do four things: Turn Washoe from an even D/R vote to a positive net for Republicans of about 10% or more; Team Nevada (Romney & Hellers campaign in Nevada) shrinks the Clark County lead massively; turn a significant amount of Democrats into Romney voters (at least 5-10% more than the Democrats get of Republicans); and lastly, win the independents by a sizable margin.

     Here are the percentages and comparison with 2008 & 2010.

Nevada (statewide)

GOP Dem Ind.
Early Vote* 36.2% 46.1% 17.8%
Early Vote + Absentee 37.2% 45.4% 17.4%
Total Early 2008 31.6% 51.8% 17.5%
Total Early 2010 40.2% 44.2% 15.7%

*Excludes about 2500 votes from various rural counties that haven’t reported as of posting.

     Democratic edge in early voting and absentee ballots is about 1½% above the Democrats statewide registration advantage of 7%.

Clark County
Home of Las Vegas & 70% of states population

GOP Dem Ind.
Early Vote 32.0% 50.6% 19.3%
Early Vote (1st Week in 2008) 26.7% 57.2% 16.0%
Early Vote (1st Week in 2010) 37.9% 46.4% 15.8%
Early Vote + Absentee 33.1% 49.2% 17.8%
Total Early 2008 30.6% 52.0% 17.4%
Total Early 2010 37.4% 46.2% 16.4%

     Democratic early vote lead (including absentees) is about 1% above their registration advantage of 15%.

Washoe County
Home of Reno and 20% of the state’s population

GOP Dem Ind.
Early Vote 40.7% 42.7% 16.6%
Early Vote (First Week in 2010 46.6% 39.7% 13.7%
Early Vote + Absentee* 41.0% 42.4% 16.6%
Total Early 2008 35.3% 47.1% 17.5%
Total Early 2010 44.7% 40.3% 15.0%

*Washoe has not been updated their absentee ballot info on a timely basis.

     Democratic early vote lead (including absentees) is about 1½% above the equal D/R registration.

     To summarize, not as bad as in 2008, but not nearly as good at 2010. The Democrats raw vote lead after the first week of early voting (and probably ⅓ of the vote) is substantial.  Obama seems at this point likely to win Nevada, though at a substantially narrowed margin.  Heller’s chances are dependent on a strong Obama-Heller voter block that can’t stand that Auton-American Shelley Berkley.

     Let up be reminded of the words of Virgil:

“Do not yield to evil, Attack, attack, more boldly even than fortune seems to permit”
— Virgil, “The Æneid”

     Until the next update…

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