The Clark County early vote story continues to drive intrigue in Nevada. The Obama campaign would love to put the state out of reach but Team Nevada answered the challenge on Friday with the Republican’s best turnout relative to the total early vote of any day over the last two elections. Democrats cast 13,862 ballots versus Republicans who cast 10,161. The Republican’s relative percentage of the Democrat’s vote was 73% — also its best performance over the two elections. Next week will be the big test for both parties but after a few days of nominal declines the GOP turned things around with gusto. The key will be to continue closing the gap and maintain a rate of growth relative to Democrats that keeps them within striking distance statewide. Independents held their ground reminding both parties there is a sizable chunk of the electorate that can meaningfully alter the outcome of the election while the rest of us focus on party performance. Anecdotal, a Gravis Marketing survey released yesterday had Mitt Romney up 35-points with Independents in Nevada. Just sayin …
The Clark County model
After a couple days of largely flat to sagging growth, Republicans shot up well past the model’s expectation at 73% versus the model’s 65%. We won’t change any growth rate until after Sunday’s #s but if they can continue to rise over the weekend, they should be in great shape heading into next week. As a small hint if we adjusted the model to reflect the current growth rate it would shave over 10k off Democrats final margin from yesterday. The weekday average for Democrat turnout was 14,818 only 2.5% greater than our estimate of 14,446. We will likely use the weekday average as the basis for our estimate of the expected ramp up in turnout next week as that reflects actual 2012 enthusiasm.
The current lead for Democrats in ballots cast stands at 37,935, down -10,366 compared to the same point in 2008. Interestingly when you look at the Republicans dramatically improved early voting pace at Day 9 in 2008 the GOP hit turnout of 211,151 and trailed by 56,298. This year the GOP hit 211351 on Day 7 and trial by just 37935. So they have shaved as much 18,363 off the Democrats margin through their dramatically improved performance.
Finally, as I wrote in the Washoe write-up earlier, from my source out west :
Just wanted to update you on Clark’s numbers. We should start seeing movement towards [the GOP] next week. The thing the press doesn’t pick up on is that most of the early vote locations are mobile so they move from supermarket to supermarket, community center to community center for a 1,2 or 3 day period. Starting today and next week we start getting locations in our strong areas so the results should narrow.
Something to keep an eye on going forward.