Tag Archives: Clark County

Democrats Not Going Down Without a Fight in Clark County Early Voting

To be the champ you have to beat the champ and if Republicans win in Nevada they will have earned it. Democrat enthusiasm may not be what was statewide in 2008 but the Clark County machine is getting the job done for Democrats.  The trend is not the friend of Republicans right now but the biggest day of early voting is still left. Questions will remain unknown until election day regarding cannibalizing high propensity voters but thus far Democrats have answered the bell in Clark County early voting.  On Thursday Democrats cast 15,675 ballots compared to Republicans who cast 9979 ballots for a 5696 net gain. These types of wins are a big deal for Democrats because they are underperforming everywhere else in the state.  The Independent/Other vote held pace with the Thursday upswing casting 6956 ballots.  Overall there was a 16% day-over-day increase in activity.  With Democrats performing strongly, albeit below their 2008 margin, winning the Independent vote grows increasingly important in Clark County and across the state.



Clark County Wednesday Early Vote — Last Gasp for Democrats?

Democrats have long been expected to win Clark County early voting by large margins.  The story of early voting thus far has been unexpected reduced enthusiasm among Democrats, Republicans resurgence off low 2008 totals and the rise of Indepedent/Other party support.  The Wednesday early vote appeared to be Democrats last chance to bury the GOP in all-important Clark County and that didn’t happen.

Ahead of the vote, one hell of a source whispered in my ear: The locations Wednesday rotate into some bad areas for Republicans but some decent ones back on Thurs and Friday.  If the GOP can hold the Obama campaign to a spread of between 5000-6000 tomorrow the GOP should look pretty good going into the final early voting days.

Well, yesterday’s margin was 4159, well below the expected blood-bath and below the “good” level locals were hoping for.  So great job to Team Nevada and now get after it these last two days.  Overall Democrats cast 13083 ballots only 88% the 2012 weekday average.  Republicans cast 8924 ballots, 90% of the 2012 weekday average.  And Independents/Other cast 6017 ballots, 105% of the 2012 weekday average.  Thursday and Friday are expected to be the big turnout days in early voting although there may have been some early pull-forward of ballots this cycle.

2012 thru Day 12 2008 Through Day 12
Dem – 171368 (48.16%) Dem – 163777 (52.98%)
GOP -116991 (32.88%) GOP – 93014 (30.09%)
NP – 67487 (18.97%) NP – 52341 (16.93%)

We see the election over election change in Democrat turnout is barely above the 2008 turnout +7591 and dropping daily. The change in GOP turnout is UP +23,988, a net 16,386 gain for the GOP versus 2008.

Democrats Rebound in Tuesday Early Voting in Clark County

Week 2 early voting in Clark County continues to tell very different stories.  Estimates on the large pick up in early voting have mostly proved to be unfounded.  Democrats, the regular leaders in this area, have failed to even match their weekday average in either of the first two days. And Republicans came out of the gate flying but settled back to only slightly outperform the prior week’s average turnout.  Overall turnout is only marginally higher than the first week average giving rise to concerns that Democrats lack enthusiasm and Republicans may have cannibalized some early votes during their week 1 pick-up.  Today should be of great interest.  The early voting sites change locations around the state and Democrats have en enormous advantage today.  If they do not annihilate Republicans in this last big opportunity for them Thursday and Friday could be Republican turn-out efforts we’ve never seen before.  On the day, Democrats cast 13,002 ballots and Republicans cast 10,100 ballots for a 2898 net gain. The Independent/Other group continued their steady march upward garnering 20.7% of the overall ballots cast.

Under-reported on this site is the combination of absentee ballots and early voting elsewhere in the state.  Absent Hurricane Sandy, I fully intended to incorporate those results to give a better state-wide picture.  But lacking my original models and a host of other data, it has become too much to recreate with everything else going on (like rotating between the 2 sets of clothes I am living out of…good times).  That said, there is plenty of important information in the aggregate data such as the spread between the two parties in overall ballots cast state-wide is only 6% in favor of the Democrats far less than their lead in 2008.

Strong Monday Early Voting for GOP in Washoe and Clark Counties

Washoe County (thanks to Paul8148 for the data)

A Washoe County win for the GOP casting 2859 ballots versus 2705 for Democrats achieving a net 164 ballot gain. This is huge for the GOP as they needed to reverse the slide in Washoe and they did so with gusto. The overall turnout was below our expectations but that is more concerning for Democrats as questions regarding voter enthusiasm have continued to creep into their early vote results.

Clark County (thanks to vnClark for the data)

The gap in all-important Clark County narrowed dramatically on Monday with Democrats casting 14,113 ballots and Republicans casting Republicans 12,492 — by far the best comparative for Republicans in 2008 or 2008. This performance compressed the % contribution to 42.8% for Democrats and 37.9% for Republicans.  The two day move for Republicans is fantastic news for Team Nevada and bodes well during this big final week of early voting. The turnout was below our model’s expectation but the steep climb from Republicans would give a strong boost to expected growth that we will update after Tuesday’s numbers.

Charts expected later.

Clark County Sunday Early Voting Keeps It Interesting

Sunday is understandably  a slow day in early voting so today’s low results are not a big shock but the trends in Clark County get more intriguing by the day.  Democrats cast 11,248 ballots while Republicans cast 8272, for a 2976 ballot advantage.  As it stands Democrats have a 45,675 advantage in partisan ballots cast in 2012, down from 56,298  at the same point in 2008 — a -10,623 election-over-election reduction.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Sunday results is that for the first time this year in Clark County, the Democrats had a lower turnout than the comparable day in 2008 — a seriously bad sign is this all-important County.  The trend line for the Democrats (added below) is troubling as well. While Republicans slowly but steadily are picking up their pace of the overall turnout, the Democrats continue to drop with reasonable consistency.  This is all the more ominous considering the turnout in Clark County next week is expected to increase by as much as 40% more than the average daily weekday turnout in 2012. If Democrat turnout continues this slide or has more days under-performing its 2008 results, Republicans could see dramatic swings in the ballot differential heading into election day.  The other area of concern is the continued pickup in the Independent/Other category. Sunday’s steep fall-off of Democrats was met by continued gains in this group. The increased contribution from the Independent/Other category is one of the hidden stories in Nevada early voting so we will watch it closely:

NOTE: This is an updated chart. Thanks to nvClark and  rcl_in_vain the comments for catching some data issues.

The Clark County model

Consistent with what we wrote for Washoe County, we are going to administer some “final” tweaks to the Clark model.  Many of the model’s original assumptions were made using only one day’s actual data plus a few trends gleaned from the 2008 results.   We now have 9 days data of actual 2012 turnout which gives us a better sense of what is actually happening on the ground in Nevada.  Therefore we are going to use the 2012 weekday average Democrat turnout (14,817) from last week as the base for the expected ramp-up in 2012 turnout during the coming week. The daily ramp-up percentage will be the differential between the 2008 first week average daily gross turnout (22,862) and daily 2nd week gross turnout (Mon: 134%, Tues: 140%, Wed: 155%, Thur: 168%, Fri: 195%). With dramatic increases in turnout crescendoing throughout the second week it becomes that much more imperative for Republicans to outpace Democrats during the stretch run.  The expected daily growth rate of the GOP turnout, unlike in Washoe, has held relatively stable and stands at +2.7% reflecting the current day-over-day rate in 2012. Increases in this area can have sizable impacts on the final results so we will cautiously adjust this as needed. With these new assumptions, the model expects the Democrats to end early voting with a  66,685 advantage in ballots cast — down from 83,633 in 2008.

Clark and Washoe Counties Saturday Early Voting Holds Steady

So much news going on today it’s been tough to keep up with everything.  Lucky for you guys the Jets are the 1pm game and I switched out of using them as my knockout pool pick so I can catch up on Nevada early voting.  I’ll keep it brief since I’m tweaking the model after today’s numbers come in and the new Washoe model nailed the Democrats # for Saturday although only I know that :).

The takeaway for both counties is two-fold.

First Republicans are keeping pace with their performance relative to Democrats this year whereas in 2008 Republicans steadily gained throughout the early voting. The Republicans started out at a much higher base in early voting versus 2008 so this is by no means disastrous.  But if Republicans were going to meaningfully put Obama’s chances of winning Nevada in peril before election day we would like to have seen steady improvement throughout the first week. As we reported earlier, the numbers in Clark County are expected to move in the GOP’s direction starting Monday as the early voting booths which rotate in location move to more Republican-friendly locales so we’ll watch for that closely.

Second, the Independent vote continues to contribute a greater percentage of the overall early voting.  This may be the more surprising development among all the early voting stories.  If Mitt Romney is winning this group by the large margins showing up in recent polling, this may more than make up any deficits among the early ballots cast.  We’ll be watching Independent polling closely to see how this plays out.

Clark County Saturday October 27 early voting:

Democrats cast 14422 ballot on Saturday, almost exactly as our model expected.  Republicans cast 9655 ballots or 67% of the Democrat vote which was below our expectations. The aggregate lead for Democrats is 42,699 approximately -10,000 less than in 2008 at the same juncture.

Washoe County Saturday October 27 early voting:

Democrats cast 2991 early ballots on Saturday versus Republicans who cast 2833 ballots or only 95% of the Democrats total which was below our expectations.  Overall Democrats lead by 1198 ballots cast, approximately -7000 fewer than the 9093 lead they enjoyed at this point in 2008.

Clark County Day 7 Early Vote: Republicans Strike Back

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.

Washoe Early Vote Finally Posts with Democrats Casting 36 More Ballots

Interesting day in Washoe with the two parties casting almost identical numbers of ballots, Democrats 3431 versus Republicans 3396. For trend watchers this may be disappointing but a Republican turnout at 99% of the Democrat vote is better than any day in 2008. While we would hope for a straight line of continually increasing Republican gains, the reality is it will be an up and down affair (must resist Kate Upton reference) throughout the early voting. Democrats are fairly stable with their turnout while Republicans peaked on Tuesday and have steadily fallen back towards the Democrat’s level. The key will be whether this downward slope is a trend or an aberration. The aggregate ballot lead for Democrats stands at 1019, down from 7161 at the same point in 2008. Similar to what we are seeing in Clark County, the Independent/Other category remains on a slow but steady upward march. This group could be the key in the election if Romney is seeing near the double-digit leads he is enjoying in national polls and some state polling.

The Washoe model

We waited a day to make changes to our assumptions and that was the right call. With the relatively flat day-over-day result the 2012 rate of growth between the Republican turn out and Democrats is 4.1%, higher than our initial estimate of 3.85% that we’ve been using but well off the 7.1% as of yesterday. At the same time the steady Democrat turnout confirms the overestimation of Democrat enthusiasm this cycle so we are adjusting the expected Dem turnout to 3358 from 3985 until the expected ramp-up turnout starting next week. We are modeling the ramp-up as the turnout % relative to the day 1 result but it may be wiser to estimate week two turnout as a percent of the prior week’s average turnout. We’ll think about that over the weekend after we get Friday’s results and tweak accordingly. As it stands with a new growth rate in GOP turnout of 4.1% relative to the Democrats turnout, Republicans would have a final early vote lead in ballots cast of 5793. This compares with a 11,978 ballot advantage Democrats enjoyed heading into election day in 2008.

Finally away from Washoe, I have one hell of a source regarding Clark County early voting:

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.

Did I just bury the lede?

Democrats Hold Steady in Clark County Early Voting

Clark County #s are in for Day 6 of early voting in Nevada and Democrats hold serve maintaining a solid lead. Democrats cast 14,969 ballots, a 0.2% day-over-day (dod) increase while Republicans cast 9434 ballots a dod decline of -3.0%.  Independents/Other continue on the march casting 5866 almost exactly equal to the prior day.  Overall the aggregate numbers of ballots cast declined versus Wednesday but both Democrats and Independent increased as a % of the total while Republicans declined.

The trend is most definitely not the friend of Republicans lately. It becomes increasingly important for Team Nevada to reverse this recent slide to keep Clark competitive enough to make up the difference elsewhere. Although it appears Mitt Romney is doing better with Independents, a small victory there won’t be enough if Democrats pull away next week when the turnout increases. As it stands the GOP is still doing dramatically better than 2008. The Democrats aggregate lead is 34234 ballots cast, 9321 fewer than the margin four years ago at this juncture but a redoubled effort will be needed to counter the Harry Reid/Culinary Union/Obama machine.

The Clark Model

The model held up OK with Democrat turnout only +3.6% greater than expected. The reduced performance by Republicans is more concerning as the model is predicated on the steady climb the GOP achieved relative to the Democrats in 2008. Thus far we are seeing stable Democrat performance as expected but a declining representation from the Republicans. This continues to lower the rate of expected growth and may warrant reversing this expectation absent better returns going forward. The new growth rate is 2.2%, down from 3.2% the day before. The model now estimates a Democrat advantage in early ballots cast of 72,467 — still down from the 2008 advantage 83,633 but progressively worse than prior forecasts.

More Intrigue in Clark County Early Voting, Day 5

Clark County Day 5 early voting results have enough in them for every party to spin them to their advantage. The comparative performances by the two major parties were even with the prior day’s results. Democrats cast 14,934 ballots while Republicans cast 9725 ballots resulting in  the Republican early vote accounting for 65% of the Democrat early vote for the second straight day.  Although this matched the prior day’s comparative performance it was a slight improvement for the Democrats relative to my model.  Democrat turnout was +3.4% higher than expected while Republican turnout was -2.3% below expectations.  Not a horrible performance but something the GOP needs to meaningfully counteract if they hope to close the Clark County Democrat advantage sufficiently enough to carry the state. Democrat’s aggregate lead in early ballots cast stands at 28,699, which is -9373 less than the 38,072 ballot lead at the same point in 2008.

More interesting though is daily turnout over the last 3-days has held fairly steady but yesterday both party’s % of the overall vote dropped day-over-day. Democrats were down -0.6 percentage points while Republicans were down -0.2pp.  These deficits were made-up by the steady increase in the Independent/Other parties which accounted for 19.3%, higher than any level achieved by this segment other than their 2008 peak of 19.5% on the final day of early voting. While the two major parties duke it out with results bouncing up-and-down depending on the day, the Independent/Other group has made a steady march higher in each of the four days of early voting.  The Republicans comparative gain on Democrats is a big story thus far in early voting but the rise of he Independents could end up being story of early voting. At this rate, if one candidate can decisively carry this vote it will likely swing the election.

The Clark Model

After the new assumptions were added into the model yesterday I think it performed pretty well based on the above results.  The one thing I want to constantly tweak is the growth rate of Republican’s % of the Democrat vote because this can have a disproportionate impact on the overall difference.  So every day the model will reflect a new growth rate based only on the updated 2012 actual results.  This risk with employing such a daily change is the forecasted results will jump around a lot but because that is what is really happening on the ground I’d rather have each day be a fair estimate of where the vote would end up based only on the actual growth rate achieved and my best guestimate on what I think the growth rate will be (I’ll leave that to your state pension managers).  In this case it brings the growth rate down since the GOP failed to increase the day-over-day turnout relative to Democrats.  The new growth rate is 3.2% versus the 4.2% used yesterday.  We see what a sizable impact this change can have on forecasting in that the expected vote margin between the two parties heading into election day is now 56,034 whereas yesterday the model had this number at 40,820.

Note: the inverse applies to my Washoe model where I have been hesitant to change the growth rate because the GOP is killing it up there and the actual growth rate is nearly double what I modeled. In that model the final result is balanced out by an overestimate of Democrat turnout but  I’ll be changing the Washoe growth rate and expected turnout after tonight’s data though so we’ll see what happens.


For reference purposes, here are links to each of the previous day’s analysis.

  • Day 1: Nevada Early Voting is Starting and Day One Results Are Out
  • Day 2: Republican Early Vote Continues to Gain in Clark County, Nevada
  • Day 3: Clark County, Nevada Early Voting Day 3
  • Day 4: Republicans Continue to Make Waves in Clark County, Nevada Early Voting


Republicans Continue to Make Waves in Clark County, Nevada Early Voting

Plenty to see in the latest #s. Clark County remains a really tough nut to crack for the GOP but there is plenty of good news once we dig into the numbers. On Day 4 of early voting Democrats cast 15,310 ballots while Republicans cast 9911 ballots. This was a 2% day-over-day (dod) increase for the Democrats and a -3% dod decline for the Republicans. Basically, Democrats held serve on Day 4 marginally reversing the compression between the two parties proportional representation of the overall early vote total. Despite the one-day flattening of the trend, Republicans remain far motivated and active in early voting nearly doubling their 2008 output while Democrats are failing to even meet their 2008 levels beyond the first day pop.

Election over election comparison at the same point in 2008:

  • Democrats overall lead today is 23,490
  • Democrats lead in 2008 was 32,380
  • Higher mathematics says that is an 8890 reduction

Comparison versus same party performance:

  • Versus 2008 Democrats have 978 fewer ballots cast overall
  • Versus 2008 Republicans have 7912 more ballots cast overall
  • Democrats are averaging 244.5 fewer ballots cast every day
  • Republicans are averaging 1978 more ballots cast every day
  • At those rates, Democrats early vote advantage would shrink from 86.5k in 2008 to 55.5k by election day


The Clark County Model

We’ve been using our crude model created after just one days #s which admittedly left a lot to be desired in predictive value. But now after four days we have enough data to make some tweaks to model assumptions. As the #s above show, 2012 has been a repeat of 2008 which is what we used as the basis for our original assumptions. 2008 saw greater day to day volatility while 2012 has seen comparatively stable daily results. Possibly THE question to answer to form a predictive model at this point is whether Republicans continue their historical trend of daily improvement versus Democrats or whether the comparative percentages flatten out.  Although 2008 saw Republicans steadily gain on Democrats, admittedly not without a set-back or two, the last three days in Clark County have been remarkably consistent.  Democrats % of the overall vote has stayed within a 1.1% range (50.1 to 49.0) while Republicans % has stayed within a 1.4% range (33.4 to 32.0).  Interestingly, if you refer back to the 2008 chart, on Day 4 the Democrats achieved the same reversal of the GOP rising tide before the trend went back to compressing the proportional make up between the two parties.  As such for our model we will maintain an expected growth in the GOP’s percent of the vote relative to the Democrat’s performance.

New assumptions:

  • In the 8-days following the Day 1 pop in 2008, Democrats averaged a turnout relative to the Day 1 total of 88.8% before steadily ramping up the turnout into election day.  In 2012 Democrats’ post-Day 1 average is only 78.6% of the Day 1 turnout at 14,446 ballots cast. Other than a one day spike in 2008, Democrats turnout was fairly stable for the remaining days until the ramp-up into election day.
  • We are going to adjust our input for Democrat turnout to their current 3-day average up to the ramp-up point (Oct 29) and grow the turnout at 2008’s rate.
  • The 2008 rate is calculated using the actual turnout relative to the Day 1 total.
  • The rate of change for Republican growth relative to Democrat turnout in 2012 has been 4.2%.  Our earlier model set the growth rate at 2.4%.  We are going to insert the new 4.2% growth rate into the model building off the Day 4 result which was Republicans at 65% of the Democrats turnout.

Under these new assumptions using 2012 actual data and overlaying them on the 2008 results, our model expects the Democrats advantage in Clark County heading into election day to be only 40,820 — a -51% decline from 2008 (83,633) or an advantage of -42,813 fewer ballots cast.

Clark County, Nevada Early Voting Day 3

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.

Romney-Ryan Rally in Henderson, Nevada Tuesday (Oct 23) 11:45am

Team Romney is bringing the heavy artillery to drive up the enthusiasm and push on with that early vote effort.  They fly across the country after the debate to Clark County were 67% of the Nevada vote resides.  Get involved:

Victory Rally with Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan & The Republican Team!

When: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Doors Open 9:45 AM | Event Begins 11:45 AM

Where: Henderson Pavilion, 200 South Green Valley Parkway, Henderson, NV 89012

To register for the event, click here.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, sharp objects, umbrellas, liquids, or signs will be allowed in the venue. Cameras are permitted.

For questions, contact us at: TeamNV@mittromney.com | (702) 900-2079
For Important Campaign Updates: Text NV to GOMITT (466488)

Republican Early Vote Continues to Gain in Clark County, Nevada

Update: Deepest apologies.  I’ve been staring at too many spreadsheets lately and made a major screw-up.  The previous version of this included the election day tallies in the early vote calculation which is why there was such a large spike on the final day.  The numbers below have been corrected.

In 2008 Barack Obama won Nevada by 121k votes. Nevada is unique to most states in that it is really no more than 3 areas, Clark County (Las Vegas), Washoe County (Reno) and everyone else in between. In 2008 Clark accounted for 67% of the vote, Washoe accounted for 19% of the vote and the rest of the state accounted for 14%. President Obama won Clark by 123.7k and Washoe by 22.8k but lost the rest of the state by 25k (effectively cancelling out Washoe).  For these reasons Clark County gets the lion’s share of attention although Washoe gets its fair share.  The increased focus on early voting also shares this focus with Republican’s chances of carrying Nevada depend greatly on their ability to stay close in Democrat-heavy Clark (“minding the gap’), while trying to flip Washoe back into the GOP fold and running up leads everywhere else.

Greatly assisting the Democrats’ win were huge margins in early voting turnout. By election day in 2008 the Democrats’ aggregate advantage over Republicans was 83,633 ballots cast, 69% of their final margin. We know a cast party ballot doesn’t necessarily mean it was cast for that party but for simplicity sake we assume each side has the same base and crossover support. The key for Republicans obviously will be to “mind the gap” in early voting where Obama achieved most of his success. Early voting in Nevada only started a couple days ago and after the first day of returns I created a rather crude model for how the rest of early voting could go based on the 2008 historical information.  Although the model was basic, assumptions were honest based on precedent and conservative based on the available data.

The assumptions were as follows:

  • Democrat turnout after Day 1 would average 97% of the day 1 result consistent with 2008
  • Republican turnout as a share of the Democrat turnout would increase it at a rate of 2.4 percentage points (pp) every day consistent with 2008

After Day 1 our model expected the Democrat advantage in Clark County heading into election day would be 81,786, below the 86,607 margin in 2008.  This would eat into Obama’s overall margin by approximately 4%.

We now have the Day 2 results for Clark County and my conservative assumptions have proven to be just that.  Rather than a 2.4pp increase in the day-over-day change in Republican vote proportional to the Democrat vote, it jumped 13pp.  Additionally Democrats saw a steep drop-off  in the day-over-day change in turn-out falling -29pp in Day 1 while Republicans only trailed off by -11pp.

By simply plugging the new actual #s into the model and changing no other assumptions, we now crudely forecast a final early vote margin in favor of Democrats of 76,963. This is 4,823 less than yesterday and 6670 less than 2008 — an 8% decline.

Not shown in the charts is that in raw #s the aggregate lead of Democrats on Day 2 in 2008 was 16,385 versus today where it is 13,295 — a 3090 actual ballot decrease in only the first two days of early voting.

We see after two days of early voting in Clark County Republicans are slowly eating into what proved to be Democrats’ insurmountable lead in 2008. This is all before considering the two other segments of Nevada where all indications show Republicans greatly outstripping their 2008 efforts. If anyone has Washoe’s 2008 daily early voting #s by party I’d be happy to run them as well. [Thanks to one hell of a guy, I have the Washoe #s] Two days of early voting doesn’t mean Nevada will flip from blue to red, but Republicans are clearly on the right path towards “minding the gap” in Clark County.

Nevada Early Voting is Starting and Day One Results Are Out

Early voting is a new phenomenon that is has great implications on the final election outcome.  Despite this, I don’t much enjoy blogging it.  The numbers get updated sporadically, there is an inherent uncertainty in what the requests or submissions actually mean and the sample sizes are really small.  This makes drawing conclusions not much better than just plain old guess work until a critical mass of votes have accumulated.  And by that time someone else has already done a better job analyzing the data than I could so I just leave it to them. One of the only reasons this blog has any popularity is I am doing the work major media outlets refuse to do which allows them to misrepresent the polls however they like (always against Republicans obvs).  That said, I know this is rightfully a big issue to a lot of people so I’ll provide some preliminary info and direct you to where you can check the numbers in the coming days for yourselves as you see fit.

Thus far 3 Nevada Counties have reported results: Carson County, Douglas County and Washoe County. Of this list we only care about Washoe County (Reno) because that is one of the Battleground Counties, it comprised nearly 19% of the 2008 Nevada electorate and Romney should flip it back after Obama carried it in 2008.  This is why yesterday’s endorsement of Romney by the Reno Gazette-Journal was so important. Endorsements may not persuade voters, but they are a clear indication of informed voter sentiment. And when they switch endorsements against an incumbent that is noteworthy.

This is much the same as all-important Clark County (Las Vegas) which accounted for over 67% of the total Nevada vote in 2008.  Obama will carry Clark, but it is the margin that will be key. Clark releases their first day data at 11pm Mountain time (1am EDT).

So we see the combination of Clark and Washoe account for 86% of the entire Nevada vote making the rest of the counties rounding error to what happens in those two population centers.  Every other county is also heavily Republican too so seeing advantages there don’t mean as much either.

Day 1 results are as follows:

Responses are by party registration, not their actual vote

2012 Washoe County: 9,638 votes

  • Dem 47.8% — 4607 votes
  • Rep 37.5% — 3614 votes
  • None/Oth 14.7% — 1417 votes

Thanks to commenter M. Remmerde we have the 2008 day 1 comparison for Washoe:

2008 Washoe County: 6,554 votes

  • Dems 59.64% –3909 votes
    Rep 25.45% — 1668 votes
    Other 14.91% — 977 votes

The Democrat advantage of 34 points on the first day four years ago is now on 10 points .  But just as interesting is the enthusiasm measure. The total early vote is up 3,084 but the Democrat vote increase is only 698 and the “Other” is up only 440.  Republicans on the other hand are up 1,946, 3x as much as the Democrats.  That type of enthusiasm and early vote ground game is quite similar to what we are seeing in Ohio.  It’s only day one but it’s nice to come out of the gates strong.  Heavily Democrat Clark County is the real test but expect incredible Democrat #s there just like Iowa.  They key for Republicans will be to fight their way back from now until election day to “mind the gap.”

Clark County: 33,204 votes, this is an increase from 25,100 in 2008

  • Dem 55.4% — 18,388 votes
  • Rep 28.9% — 9588 votes
  • None/Oth 15.7% — 5228 votes

Nevada expert Jon Ralston says the percentage split is similar to 2008.  No exact 2008 #s given.  UPDATE:  Getting word that Mr. Ralston may have shaded his color on the 2008 comparison. The current spread of ~26% is a big spread but I’m hearing it’s much smaller than the 2008 margin, much like Washoe County.  I still don’t have verifiable numbers so I’ll leave it at that for now (time for bed). If it is true, though, I will be very disappointed in Ralston.  As I say every time he is a big ol’ Lefty, but he always played it straight when it came to running the #s and analyzing data.  It doesn’t appear he did so in this instance.  As a matter of fact, he just tweeted out the 2008 Rep # was 5,733 which means this year they had a 67% jump in early voting.  That is huge. The gross increase in votes is 8,104. 3855 comes from the GOP and if we hold Other steady at 15.7% as a control their increase is 1287.  That leaves only 2962 of the increase for Democrats.  So the GOP picked up approximately 900 votes versus 2008 on Day 1 of early voting in a state with possible the least effective local party in the nation.

Now my #s are estimates based on holding “other” steady from 2008, but in that instance, we get the following for 2008 Day 1 #s:

  • Dem 61.4% — 15,426 votes
  • Rep 22.8% — 5733 votes
  • None/Oth 15.7% — 3950 votes

A 38 point spread in 2008 is now a 26 point gap in 2012.  That is a big deal if these #s prove close to correct.  Romney won’t win Clark but he needs to “mind the gap” which at least on Day 1 is exactly what he is doing. Great news for the GOP and Ralston is doing the dance of joy on behalf of the Democrats? I don’t know what is going on with him these day but he’s been unusually petty and partisan the last couple of weeks. It’s very unbecoming.  As someone who respects his work, I’m disappointed he put out clearly wrong information when he had every reason to know it wasn’t so.  Fool me once, shame on you …

Carson County: 1,109 votes

  • Dem 35.3%
  • Rep 49.1%
  • None/Oth 15.5%

Douglas County: 3,037 votes

  • Dem 27.7%
  • Rep 57.2%
  • None/Oth 15.1%

Beware Nevada Polls

It is wonderful to see that Mitt Romney has broken through in some Nevada polls and taken a lead in the Silver State.  This was a state with many of the trappings that were supposed to fell President Obama this year but through a number of missteps the state’s six electoral votes have stubbornly stayed in the hands of Democrats. Following the first Presidential debate drubbing, however, Nevada like the other Battlegrounds has witnessed a surge in support for Romney.  It is still exceedingly close and there aren’t that many polls putting Romney in the lead but regardless of the circumstances you need to start leading in a few polls if you are going to honestly continue to argue the race is competitive.

Nevada however has its own issues that make polling erratic in the state.  An overwhelming number of votes come from one region (Las Vegas/Clark County) and the rest of the state spreads far and wide with sparsely populated voters making it difficult to poll.  The expert on this state is Jon Ralston, formerly of the Las Vegas Journal-Review and now launching his own subscription based Ralston Reports.  He has an exceptional essay (teasing his subscription service, of course) regarding the weaknesses in Nevada polls and how they often over-state Republican support — a great change from what we see elsewhere.You can disagree with his politics — he claims an Independent streak although he’s really a big ol’ Lefty — but you disagree with his analysis of Nevada at your own peril.  he is consistently the smartest and most honest political reporter in Nevada who regularly brings the best analysis no matter whose side the is in the lead.

A few words about all of these polls on the presidential race in Nevada: Don’t believe them.

Yes, I was telling you the same thing two years ago when every poll (almost) showed Sharron Angle would be the next U.S. senator from Nevada. That didn’t happen, and all of those polls were wrong for different reasons, which eventually comes down to the same reason: [T]he best pollsters – this is the key – know how to weight the results to fit the picture that will exist on Election Day – that is, what the turnout actually will look like.

The reason Harry Reid’s pollster, Mark Mellman, nailed the result in 2010 was that he correctly forecast what the demographics of the turnout would look like – how many Hispanics, how much Clark County would be of the total, the difference between GOP and Democratic turnout. And the better pollsters know how to change their models as the campaign evolves, to adjust for whatever atmospherics require some adjustment. [The problem with today’s polls is they] do not take into account either the surge in Democratic registration or recent history – i.e. the last two cycles.

Nevada today

The Democratic wave of 2008 is unlikely to be duplicated here four years later, with a devastated economy. It is possible that Democratic turnout will be depressed compared to the previous two cycles, which could dramatically change the result. But what Democrats here know – as do good pollsters – is that Republicans traditionally turn out in greater numbers than Democrats —  anywhere from 4 to 6 percent. So you have to adjust your numbers for that fact as well as the registration changes. And the greater the registration advantage the Democrats have, the less the GOP turnout edge affects the share of the vote the Democrats will have in the end.

[H]istory indicates just how much trouble the GOP could be in here — from president on down — if historical turnout trends hold. [M]y bottom line for now is: Remember 2010. Nearly every poll you saw showed that Angle was going to win — as did Angle’s internals. And she lost by nearly 6 points. Six points!

Voter Registration

The raw numbers this cycle are very similar in Clark County to what they were in 2008 — about a 125,000-voter lead (it actually is going to be slightly larger this time.) The way it works is that the South makes up 70 percent of the vote, and if you don’t take that into account in your poll, you won’t show the kind of raw number lead that Democratic statewide candidates are likely to have (Obama’s will be greater than Rep. Shelley Berkley’s) that make Republican candidates chances less and less real. Despite what all of those polls say, Romney’s path to victory in Nevada now is much more problematic than any Republican will acknowledge.


In 2008, when Democrats had that 125,000-voter edge, Obama won Clark County by more than 122,000 votes, or 19 percent. John McCain never had a chance after that and lost by 12 points. The edge is similar four years later, and while Mitt Romney has contested the state in a way McCain did not, the math isn’t much different. Unless the Democrats turn out in record low numbers relative to Republicans, Romney cannot win unless independents overwhelmingly go for him. And none of those polls show that (indeed, even GOP-leaning Rasmussen shows Obama winning indies by 10).

Who’s winning?

Any pollster who takes into account all of those factors would come out with a survey showing the president up by a half-dozen points or so. Any poll that doesn’t has a turnout model that either doesn’t make sense, is partisan-biased or is simply garbage.

Obama +2 in Nevada — Suffolk University/KSNV

The latest from Suffolk University, who controversially announced they will stop polling North Carolina, Florida and Virginia because they believe those states are locked in for Romney, has the race neck-and-neck in Nevada.  President Obama leads by +2, 47 to 45 with 6% Undecided

President Barack Obama leads Republican Mitt Romney by 2 points in Nevada (47 percent to 45 percent, with 6 percent undecided), according to a Suffolk University/KSNV poll of likely voters in that swing state.  The poll is well within the survey’s 4.4 percent margin of error.   “After a strong debate performance, Mitt Romney is within striking distance of President Obama in Nevada,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston.  “However, Obama’s big lead in Clark County – the state’s largest – has enabled his campaign to run up the score.  In Washoe County, the results closely align with the statewide numbers.”  Obama led 50-42 in Clark County and 47-43 in Washoe County.  However, in the remaining Nevada counties, Romney led 63 percent to 30 percent.  The Suffolk University/KSNV-Nevada poll includes all four presidential candidates who qualified for the Nevada ballot.  Independent Virgil Goode and Libertarian Gary Johnson polled 1 percent each.

Interestingly they gave you the two big County votes for Clark County and Washoe County.  We’ll go to the Nevada expert Jon Ralston for the takeaways:

The internals here show Obama only leading in Clark County by 8 points, which seems unlikley — he needs to win by double digits. He is still ahead because the survey shows he is ahead in Washoe by 4. If he wins Washoe by 4, he will almost certainly win the state.

This is a registered voter poll with party ID D +8 (Dem 41, Rep 33, Ind 23).  Not enough Independents in the survey.  In 2008 it was D +8 (Dem 38 Rep 30, Ind 32) and in 2004 it was R +4 (Dem 35, Rep 39, Ind 26).  I’m going to stop blogging registered voter polls.  It’s a waste for any organization to do those at this juncture.

For President Percent
Barack Obama 47
Mitt Romney 45
Gary Johnson 1
Virgil Goode 1
Undecided 6

Quick addendum on Suffolk University polls:


Nevada Voter Registration Update

We got an update from Nevada expert Jon Ralston.  The final numbers are just coming in and Democrats made a furious comeback, especially in all important Clark County, to push back on the gains the GOP made this cycle in Nevada.  Despite that comeback the GOP closed the gap on the 2008 advantage:

This is still a good showing for the GOP since Democrats had a 100k voter registration advantage overall in 2008 and statewide the Republican Party had more than a few internal issues to overcome this cycle.  Great effort in the Silver State.

Battleground Counties: Washoe County, Nevada

The Battleground Counties series makes a return as we head out west with Paul Ryan into Nevada and Washoe County. Although most of the population in Nevada rests in and around Las Vegas, once you head to heavily Republican Northern Nevada, Washoe County becomes the destination for politicians of all parties:

Washoe is the battleground county in the battleground state of Nevada. Rural Nevada is safe Republican terrain. Clark County is where 70 percent of the state population lives and where more Democrats thrive. So it’s Washoe County where the political wrestling is happening, a swing county in a swing state. “To boil it down, Washoe is probably the biggest target area of the state,” said Ryan Erwin, an adviser to the Romney campaign in Nevada.

Fast facts:

  • It is Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s home Northern Nevada turf
  • GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama were both in Reno [recently], addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention and sparring over national security
  • The Romney campaign opened a Reno “victory office” in late July
  • So far, more than $4 million worth of political TV ads have aired in the Reno market

The lay of the land

In 2008, Obama won Washoe on his way to his Nevada victory and the presidency, gaining 55 percent of the vote versus 46 percent for GOP presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. In 2012, Romney must beat Obama in Washoe to have a shot at winning Nevada and the White House. That is what former President George W. Bush did in his two successful Nevada campaigns, winning Washoe with a little more 50 percent of the vote in 2004 and just under 50 percent in 2000. James Smack, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, said it comes down to this: For Republicans, Washoe is a must-win county while Democrats can afford to lose it and still win Nevada. “If a Republican is going to win the state, he has to win the 16 counties that are not named Clark,” said Smack, who also is the incoming Republican National Committeeman for Nevada.

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Beware Funny #s: Ralston Dismantles Nevada “Dead Heat” Poll

The dean of Nevada politics, and solid lefty, Jon Ralston opens up his column with a little chest thumping over his prescient 2010 call for Harry Reid to win his improbable Senate re-election. Normally this would be a bit unseemly, but Ralston’s call for Reid was consistent from start to finish and his analysis, in the face of mountains of contrary opinions, proved to be spot on. In his column deconstructing the recent NBC-Marist poll showing Obama up 2 but within the margin for error, he importantly identifies who and what gave him such successful insights into the Reid race:

[M]any polls erroneously created the impression that Angle was likely to defeat Reid. But there were problems with almost every one of those surveys, easily discovered by exploring the internals. And Reid’s pollster, Mark Mellman, turned out to have the only consistently correct numbers for one reason: His model of what the turnout was going to look like most closely approximated what it actually was.

The is the Rosetta stone for every poll and pollster.  Getting the party ID and turnout to most accurately reflect who will actually show up in the voting booth determines everything about the validity of any poll.  This is often as much art as science, but reputable pollsters get this more consistently right than wrong which is why I take great umbrage when Battleground state polling forecasts 2012 turnout to be a similarly Democrat year as 2008 (the D +8 spread we’ve seen multiple times) — no one thinks Democrats will be able to repeat such an advantage.  And Ralston was all over this in 2010 while GOP operatives fine tuned their Reid obituaries.

So the chest thumping is both warranted and a helpful reminder as Ralston digs into the recent NBC-Marist poll on Nevada:

[B]eing a poll junkie, I dived (sic) into the crosstabs, which can tell you something about the survey’s validity and also set the contours that will help determine the outcomes in November. The NBC/Marist poll makes some assumptions that might be instructive for November, but also might skew the current results. [T]he survey highlights the key factors that will determine the outcomes for the top-of-the-ticket races:

• Regional turnout: Nevada is three states – Southern, Northern and Rural. The greater the percentage of the vote in Clark County, the better for Democrats, who have a huge registration edge. The NBC/Marist poll turnout model indicates Clark County will make up 72 percent of the vote in November. That’s high by about 5 percentage points based on the past two elections, which shortchanges super-conservative rural Nevada by almost that much.

This reveals 3 things: the oversampling of the heavily Democrat region greatly increases Romney’s chances for victory in a normalized turnout. If Obama is able to achieve this level of Clark County mobilization (Ralston doubts it), he’ll likely win the state. But maybe most importantly, in this heavily Democrat region, Obama only leads by 5 points. This would spell doom for Obama in November according to Ralston.

• Hispanic turnout: The NBC/Marist poll has Hispanics as 19 percent of the electorate, which is something that has never happened in the state’s history. The highest was the past two cycles, in which 15 percent of voters were Latinos.

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