Clark County early voting continues to go well for the Republicans. They have a lot of ground to make up but thus far they are really doing well. I’m going to tweak the model after tonight’s or the next night’s numbers but so far the Clark model is holding up pretty well. It nailed the GOP turnout for Day 3 forecasting 10,162 ballots when the actual was 10,219 (on Wall Street they’d say my forecast was “on the screws”). The Democrat turnout however was well below my model which forecast 17,836 versus the actual of 15,015 — a pretty decent miss. This held true for the Washoe model as well which at this juncture could portend bad news for Democrats in the form of a lack of enthusiasm. We’ll have to watch this closely. As it stands the actual Democrat lead in early voting is -8453 votes less than at the same time four years ago which is great news for the GOP. At this rate they would reduced the Democrat 2008 advantage by 33,800 votes leaving Democrats with a 48,000 ballot advantage on election day. That would put the GOP well within striking distance assuming a Washoe win by 7,000 to 10,000 (Bush won it by ~7,000) and a 35,000 “rest of the state” win (McCain won this by 25, 000). This is after only three days of solid performance and the historical trend favors the GOP building on these early success.
I wanted to throw a few charts out there to show the GOP historical trend. First we see how the 2008 early voting played out where Democrats started out strong and faded from there. The GOP started low in the beginning and improved consistently from that point forward. Democrats, however, were so strong, the GOP never quite closed the gap.
In 2012, on the first day as I outlined in my prior Clark County post, the GOP solidly outpaced their Day 1 2008 performance. Impressively they built on that in Day 2 allowing observers to draw inferences that something special was going on even in heavy Democrat Clark County. Now Day 3 comes out and Republicans continue to close the gap with Democrats. The Day 3 %s of the total vote were 49% Democrats and 33.4% Republicans, a reduced margin Republicans did not achieve until the 10th day of early voting in 2008 as you can see above.
At the same time, the Republican % of the Democrat continues to outpace my model achieving a level not expected until the 8th day of early voting. My model expects the Democrats lead at the end of early voting to be 74,084, well below 2008 of 83,633 but probably not enough for Republicans to make up ground elsewhere absent a huge Romney win with Independents and cross-over voters. My model however thus far assumes greater Democrat performance than we have seen and worse performance for Republicans than we have seen. Both great signs for the coming model tweak as we like what we are seeing. As I wrote in the Washoe post regarding the predictive value of my model: “Using such limited data makes the models far less reliable for predictive purposes but still valuable to illustrate comparisons between the two elections. The forecasting value is inherently low based on only one election’s data (2008) and one day’s voting (2012). It is like extrapolating a heavily Democrat precinct’s data nation-wide in a Presidential election. It tends to lead to wrong conclusions, right President Kerry? But the model is very helpful for tracking purposes because deficits can signal signs of trouble while election-over-election advantages can indicate one party is making waves that could upset an election’s results.” Thus far we see plenty of takeaways that the model helps illustrate but the projection now 12 days out remains unreliable from a forecasting standpoint.
This is a great start and a sign Republicans have a great opportunity seriously eat into the Democrats early vote strength and flip Nevada on the strength of ground forces alone. A final note of warning, this analysis must include the caveat that Romney has to do well with Independents if he is going to turn Nevada red and this is something he has struggled with this cycle in Nevada. Hopefully today’s event in Henderson and tomorrow’s event in Reno can turn that around.