Early voting is now over in Nevada. The Republicans’ increased their statewide early voter lead every single day of early voting, and lead in every county. What this means will be discussed below, but first, the cold hard numbers.
The Republicans’ early voter lead grew to 19,217 out of 266,416 early votes, 4026 out of 45,713 returned absentee ballots, for a total of 23,243 out of 302,129 votes cast. This 8% lead is 13% over their statewide voter registration deficit of 5%. 25% of registered voters have voted so far. Early voting has been an increasing every election to the point where the majority of votes cast are during early voting.
In Clark County, the Republicans lost their early voter lead, and now trail by… 81 votes. But when returned absentee ballot are included, the Republicans lead in total voters by 267. This means that Republicans lead in every single county in Nevada.
Republicans in Clark County continue to lead in Commission Districts F and G with quadruple digit leads. Republicans lead in the three state Senate districts needed to retake the state Senate: They lead in early voters by 11.7% in SD08, 6.0% in SD09, and 9.1% in SD20. In the Clark County portion of the 4th Congressional district, the Democrats have gained a lead of 1231 in early voters, but trail district-wide with early voters.
In the Assembly, the Republicans lead in early voters in six seats: AD05, AD09, AD36, AD29, AD35, and AD41. They have lost their early voter leads in AD08, AD12, and AD34. AD34 is of particular note since the Democrat has been ruled ineligible in AD34. If the Republicans win only those six aforementioned districts, the Assembly would be split 21-21, including the ineligible Democrat from AD34. However, the Democrats’ lead in AD08, AD12, and AD34 are all less than 100 early voters, and those early voter numbers do not include returned absentee ballots, which tend to skew Republican.
With Republicans leading votes in those six assembly districts, Democrats lead in all Assembly district where they received 57.26% of the vote in 2012, and behind in all Assembly districts where they won with 54.19% of the vote in 2012. If we extrapolate that to Washoe county: There is one district where they recieved less than 54% of the vote, AD31 where the Democrat won 52.0% in 2012; and one where they received more than 54%, but less than 57.25% of the vote, AD30 with 57.0% of the vote. Winning one of these seat in addition to six in Clark County would give the Republicans an outright, but bare, majority of 22-20. Additionally, due to the Democrat candidates in AD34 and AD10 being declared ineligible, the Republicans would have the power to seat the Republicans in those races since the Republicans in AD10 and AD34 would be the legitimate candidates to win the most votes in their races. Assuming the Republican leadership has the political will to do so, the Republicans lead would grow to 24-18.
In Washoe County, which has voted for the winner in every statewide race since 1998 (When Harry Reid defeated John Ensign by less than a thousand voted), the Republicans’ lead has grown to 6296 early voters and returned absentee ballot out of 53,181 or 11%, in early voters and absentee ballots.
Clark County makes up 63.5% of early and returned absentee votes so far, with Washoe being 19.7%, and the rural counties with 16.8% of the vote.
What Does This Mean For Election Day?
So what does this mean come election day? At this point, the state Senate looks like a Republican takeover. The Republican have been able to increase their leads in all three districts during the last three days of early voting which Democrats won. The chance of the Democrats reversing this on election day is slim.
The state wide lead for Republicans of over twenty three thousand, combined with the Democrats actually trailing in Clark County makes it very difficult for any Democrat to win any statewide partisan race. Democrats need a huge lead in Clark County of tens of thousands to offset Washoe and the huge Republican majority coming out of the rural counties. With the Republicans reversing this and building a rural/Washoe firewall, Republicans can still win big even if Democrats by quintuple digits in election day voters in Clark County.
The size and make-up of the election day electorate will impact whether many candidates win or loose. Historically, early voting had become an ever larger part of the total vote, with early voting and absentee ballots making up about 70% of the total vote. If that holds true, then the majority of ballots have already been cast. Additionally, election day voters have traditionally been more Republican than the early voters. If this holds true, than the Republicans are likely to win all statewide partisan offices, the 4th Congressional district, and even the Assembly.
However, the early vote lead the Republicans have captured so far is unprecedented, so it is not clear if precedent can be trusted when it comes to election day itself. With winning the last three days of early voting, the Democrats may have finally woken up and gotten their ground game going. However, the last days of early voting have always been the highest turnout days, and skew more Democratic, than the other days of early voting. This may be especially true since the Democrats biggest day this year was on a holiday (Nevada Day). If election day shows a large turnout and skews more Democratic in the past, the Democrats will likely keep the Assembly and win some of the statewide offices, most likely the Attorney Generals race, and if the turnout is sufficiently large and Democratic, perhaps also the Secretary of State’s race and the 4th Congressional district. If the turnout is small, but still skewed heavily Democratic, the Democrats will loose the 4th Congressional district, the Secretary of State’s office, and even the Attorney General race if Democrat Ross Miller doesn’t get a large cross over vote from Republicans. The Republicans will easily keep the Governor’s seat with Sandoval poised to win by the highest margin in a Gubernatorial race ever. The Republicans will also elect Hutchinson to the Lt. Governorship. The Republicans will likely win the, relatively, low key races for Controller and Treasurer.
It is also looking like the Republicans will break the Democrats’ current monopoly on Clark County partisan offices (County Commission and various county wide executive offices).
All in all, the Republicans are set to win most statewide partisan offices and the state Senate. The only chance the Democrats have of stopping further losses is to have a massive election day turnout of Democrats and hope that the Republicans “shot their bolt” and expended their turn-out capabilities on early voting.
Here are the percentages and comparison with 2008, 2010, and 2012.
|Early Vote + Absentee||44.1%||37.6%||17.2%|
|Total Early 2008||31.6%||51.8%||17.5%|
|Total Early 2010||40.2%||44.2%||15.7%|
|Total Early 2012||36.1%||44.5%||19.5%|
The Republican edge in early voting and absentee ballots is about 13% above the Republicans statewide registration deficit of 5%.
Clark County Home of Las Vegas & 70% of states population
|Early Vote + Absentee||41.4%||41.2%||17.4%|
|Early Vote + Absentees 2010||37.7%||46.3%||16.0%|
|Total Early 2008||30.6%||52.0%||17.4%|
|Total Early 2010||37.4%||46.2%||16.4%|
|Total Early 2012||32.2%||48.2%||19.6%|
Republicans and Democrats have almost even early voter turnout, which puts the Republicans 13% above their registration deficit of 13%.
Washoe County Home of Reno and 20% of the state’s population
|Early Vote + Absentee||47.3%||36.1%||16.6%|
|Total Early 2008||35.3%||47.1%||17.5%|
|Total Early 2010||44.7%||40.3%||15.0%|
|Total Early 2012||39.9%||40.5%||19.5%|
To summarize: The Republicans have built and early voter firewall, and even lead in combined early voters and returned absentees in Clark County. The Republican wave is real and will happen. The only thing that can stop the wave from becoming a tsunami is if Democrats can turnout far more Democrats on election day than they’ve demonstrated being able to do during early voting and if Republicans have run out of interested voters, having already gotten their base to vote early, with few left over for election day. This would completely invert the pattern seen in previous election. However, this election has been unprecedented so far, so at this point such an inversion of election day patterns is certainly not out of the question.
Let us 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…