Tag Archives: Team Nevada

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.

Romney’s Nevada Problem

Nevada, to me, has been one of the bigger surprises this election cycle.  I fully expected this state to trend for Romney throughout the general election and fall into his column much like the trends we are seeing in Florida.  But for a myriad of reasons, Nevada remains stubbornly leaning towards Obama and plenty of tea leaves say Romney will likely underperform here relative to his national performance.  He may still win the state, but it will be closer than I expected it to be.  Scott Conroy at Real Clear Politics takes a look at what’s going on in Nevada that has buoyed the President:

If the key issues in the election are jobs and the economy, there should be no easier venue for Mitt Romney to make his case than in a state where it has been harder for residents to find work than anywhere else and where more than 60 percent of mortgages remain underwater. “Nevada gives us a lot of opportunities because people know that if they’re voting for Barack Obama, they’re voting for the same thing they have today,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “The promises of Barack Obama matter, and he hasn’t followed through on housing. He hasn’t followed through on making it easier for people to get loans.” But so far, at least, that simple message has not been enough for Romney to overtake the president here. Obama leads his challenger by 4.6 percentage points in the latest RCP average of Nevada polls, and the Republican has not led in a single Silver State survey in the last year.

Housing comments haunt Romney

“As to what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things that you can do to encourage housing, one is don’t try and stop the foreclosure process,” Romney told the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in October 2011. “Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.” As soon as Romney’s “hit the bottom” remark was published, the sound bite became a linchpin for the Obama campaign’s effort to portray their opponent as insensitive to the struggles faced by the majority of homeowners here. With that one comment, Nevada Democrats had the ammunition they needed to make what might have otherwise been an impossible case: that the candidate who should be blamed for the state’s housing woes is the challenger, not the incumbent who has been guiding national policy for the last four years.

Voter Registration

Nevada Democrats have expanded the 60,000-person advantage in voter registration they enjoyed over Republicans in 2010 to about 75,000 this year. [ed. — It’s silly they didn’t compare it with the 100,000 advantage Democrats had on 2008 or if they wanted to show Romney struggles they could have used the wave of Democrat resurgence the last few weeks]


[T]he Obama campaign has invested heavily in reaching out to Hispanic voters, who composed approximately 15 percent of the state’s electorate in 2010 — a number that Democrats expect to be surpassed this November. Recent polls have shown Romney’s support among Nevada Latinos to be between the mid-20s and the mid-30s. Even if the higher end of the range is more accurate, that level of support among the state’s largest minority group likely would not be enough to push Romney over the top here on Election Day.

State party infrastructure

[T]he president’s biggest trump card in Nevada may be organizational rather than demographic. Jon Ralston — a longtime political reporter and analyst for the Las Vegas Sun, who recently founded his own Web site chronicling the state’s political scene — credits the Democrats’ sizable advantage on the ground as a major reason Obama appears to have an edge. “The Republicans here have to be upgraded in order to be classified as inept, and you just have this situation that goes against what the economic conditions are,” Ralston said. “The RNC has come in here, to their credit, and realized that the Republican Party here is a joke, and so they’ve essentially set up a parallel organization with the Romney campaign [Team Nevada]. And they do have some good people who understand the state, but you can’t just erect that type of infrastructure overnight and be able to get a ground game going.” It was Democrats’ infrastructure that proved particularly successful turning out members of Nevada’s powerful service industry unions in 2010, propelling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to victory despite favorability rating that hovered in the low-30s and a state unemployment that year rose above a grisly 14 percent.

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.

Romney Nevada Campaign Getting a Boost

The state GOP party in Nevada is one of the worst in the country.  It was fully taken over by Ron Paul zealots who mostly won’t support Mitt Romney. Seeing this coming far in advance the RNC helped form “Team Nevada” which is essentially the fully funded state party since all the funds were yanked from the formal state party.  Despite these hic-cups the state remains a strong possibility for GOP pickup despite Team Obama bravado to the contrary. Now they are getting a boost of fire-power from now through the election day to bring this one home:

The Republican National Committee is deploying two regional directors to Nevada through the Nov. 6 election to boost GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign in the battleground state and increase his chances of defeating President Barack Obama, a top Republican official said Tuesday. Rick Wiley, the political director of the RNC, said Republicans just surpassed making 1 million voter contacts in Nevada and added 100,000 more Romney supporters with the election seven weeks away and both campaigns kicking into higher gear with frequent visits from Obama and Romney. Wiley said the 1 million voter mark is five times the number of voters Republicans had contacted at this point in the Nevada campaign in 2008 and in 2004, when President George W. Bush won re-election.

Democrats registered voter advantage diminished

Obama won in 2008, easily beating U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., thanks to a huge voter registration drive that added 100,000 Democrats to the rolls in Nevada. The Democrats have a 60,000 registered voter edge over Republicans now, and it’s growing by the day along with new nonpartisan voters. Wiley dismissed the Democrats’ voter registration advantage, saying it’s more important for Republicans to turn out longtime GOP voters and loyal Romney supporters who are more likely to cast ballots Nov. 6. He said the campaign is focusing on swaying nonpartisan voters, who could make the difference.

Campaign priority

The launch of the more aggressive GOP effort in Nevada comes as Romney is scheduled to campaign in Las Vegas on Friday, a month before early voting starts Oct. 20 in the state. The visit will be Romney’s sixth campaign stop in Nevada since April, when he became the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and his 16th stop in the state since February 2011, a GOP official said. Obama, too, has focused on Nevada more than any other battleground state, visiting 14 times since he became president in 2009 – more than any White House occupant – and seven times this year. Vice President Joe Biden has visited Nevada several times this year as well. And GOP vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, has campaigned twice in the Silver State so far.

The bad economy albatross

Nevada also is a key test of whether Obama’s plea to give him four more years to fix the economy will work because the state has been hit harder than any other with record high unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure rates. On Friday, the day Romney plans to campaign in Las Vegas, new Nevada unemployment figures are scheduled to be released, giving him an opportunity to highlight the issue. Last month, the jobless rate rose to 12 percent – 12.9 percent in Clark County – or several points higher than the national average.

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Nevada GOP: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

We have previously covered the disaster that is the state GOP in Nevada due to its overrun by Ron Paul acolytes. Thankfully there is its far more competent and reliable splinter group: Team Nevada. Jon Ralston in the Las Vegas Sun breaks down the on-the-ground problems for the GOP in his latest column:

End of Nevada GOP as we know it, money edition:

The Democrats have raised more than $2 million this year for their federal PAC, mostly ($1.7 million) from transfers from the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee that have been poured into a field operation that worked so well in 2008 for the president and 2010 for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrats have about $653,000 cash on hand. The state GOP has raised about $188,000 and has $167,000 on hand, with only $41,000 from the national committees.

$1.7 million to $41,000. Those numbers don’t lie. Caveat: Team Nevada (not the state GOP) will get nearly all of the national committee money.

End of GOP as we know it, base-problem edition:

Nevada is unique in that its ballots have a “none of the above” option. The GOP fears that this protest vote option could hurt Romney because the anti-Obama sentiment is strong but the reflexive pro-Romney default option is weak.  With Nevada’s “none of the above” above options, many Romney votes may be lost with this protest vote option on the ballot.  As such, the Republican National Committee has joined a lawsuit to get this option removed from the ballot. Add in former New Mexico Gary Johnson on the ballot as the Libertarian candidate and the GOP may have a real problem in a squeaker election. This has foiled the GOP before. In 1998, future Senator John Ensign lost to present Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid by 428 votes. The Libertarian candidate, Michael Cloud, received 8,044 votes and “None of these candidates” took 8,125.

End of Nevada GOP as we know it, silver lining edition:

In recent election cycles the quality of Democratic operatives has been far superior to the Republican talent. But for the first time in memory, the GOP has a team that is worthy of being on the same playing field. Team Nevada, however, is stocked with experienced state officials. The RNC’s Darren Littel and Kristin Vieira both have plenty of state experience; Sen. Dean Heller’s chief of staff, Mac Abrams has plenty of major campaign expertise; Chris Carr, a former Nevada GOP staffer turned RNC operative and on the ground here; lesser-known folks such as Ryan Cherry, a Heller veteran, and Joe Catania, a field guy for Nevada candidates and now with Team Nevada; and skilled campaign types such as Mike Slanker (Heller), Ryan Erwin (Rep. Joe Heck) and microtargeter Billy Rogers helping GOP state Senate candidates, who could help turn out base voters. Add in a Hispanic outreach effort – hey, guys, maybe we should talk to Latinos this year! – that has money and bodies and a full integration of all these working parts and this Republican Party – that is, Team Nevada – can compete with the Democratic machine.

The GOP is not a shadow of its former self [but] the shadow is better than its former self.

The Battle for Nevada

Nevada is one of the countries truest swing states with disaffected Californian’s moving in which helps Republicans while an increasing immigrant population helps Democrats.  Despite all the “demography is destiny” talk voters here express great concern over the economic woes that will likely determine the outcome in the Fall. The Associated Press breaks down the state of the Presidential race today:

Nevada is a true swing-voting state. It chose Clinton in 1992 and 1996, before swinging Republican in 2000 and 2004 for George W. Bush. It backed Obama in 2008. And if history is any guide, it could again choose the eventual White House victor, as it has every four years since 1980. The president is fighting against Nevada’s dismal economy while Romney faces a better-organized and better-funded state Democratic Party machine with a victorious track record. Those factors are leveling the playing field here, and Obama and Romney head into the summer seemingly locked in a close race in a state that both sides expect will be fiercely contested — and a true toss-up — throughout the fall.

It’s been largely a one-man show thus far:

At least $5.6 million in TV ads has been spent in the state, with Obama and his Democratic allies spending roughly $1.2 million more than Republican outside groups. Romney, himself, has yet to go on the air [Caveat not in the piece: Romney announced over the weekend a $113k ad buy in Nevada for this week in Las Vegas and Reno] …While Romney has yet to run any general election ads in Nevada, several outside groups are on the air and providing cover for him.

Who will decide the outcome:

Nevada’s outcome is all but certain to come down to a huge swath of independent and undecided voters here, many of whom say they’ll choose the candidate with the right economic prescriptions.perhaps more than in any other state, the race is shaped by the economy.

Challenges for Obama and his effort so far:

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Quick Hits Around the Battleground

Nevada Republicans Work Around State Party — More on the lackluster state party that spawned Team Nevada even before the Ron Paul takeover

Nevada GOP political director seeks to unify Romney, Paul factions — New state head from Utah looking for reconciliation between warring factions within the party

Obama holds onto lead in Pennsylvania — New Franklin & Marshall poll shows Obama with a 12 point lead but support is still below 50% for the President

Colorado ballot measure on marijuana to impact Presidential contest — Both candidates oppose legalization but in a close race, perception for or against one candidate can tip the scales

Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Potential Romney VP Meets Netanyahu, Barak in Israel — Note this is the type of trip Joe Biden took to Russia before getting the nod from Obama

Obama outraised Romney in Virginia in April — Neither candidates total is all that much but it is noteworthy

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, another Potential VP, See Boost for Romney in Wisconsin — McDonnell was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” talking up the Wisconsin results

Wisconsin now tougher for Obama, but still uphill climb for Romney — 12 hours later the reality settles in that Democrat spin on misleading exit polling doesn’t hold up

Nevada Opportunity for Romney

With fundraising stops in Nevada generating plenty of news for Romney (both good and bad), the Wall Street journal looks at the opportunities and challenges to flip this state from Blue to Red.

Opportunities/Strengths for Romney:

  • Economically damaged state = opportunity. The Romney message that Mr. Obama’s economic policies have failed may be ideally suited to a state with 11.7% unemployment—the highest in the nation—along with widespread mortgage foreclosures and personal bankruptcies
  • Romney easily won Nevada’s caucuses, with 50% of the vote. Mormon voters make up 11% of the population and reliably turn out to vote (5.6% of the adult population is Mormon according to Gallup)
  • Crossroads GPS has launched a $25 million television-ad blitz with spots attacking the president in states including Nevada. Americans for Prosperity, another independent conservative group, has picked up the ground-game side, identifying and registering voters.

Challenges for Romney:

  • Romney has only a shell of an organization in Nevada. Rep. Paul’s supporters have snapped up Republican Party leadership positions at the state and county levels. The tension came to a head this month when Paul supporters took over the state’s GOP convention, electing 22 national convention delegates for Mr. Paul and only three for Mr. Romney.
  • The RNC, which coordinates with the Romney campaign, skirted the state party when it opened its first office in Nevada. Top officials in the Clark County GOP resigned to join the Romney effort, dubbed Team Nevada. Even donors have grown irritated with the situation. One demanded that the Clark County GOP return donated desks, tables and chairs.
  • Statewide, there are about 20% more registered Democrats than Republicans.
  • One of the RNC’s first hires was a Latino-outreach director, but Mr. Romney’s immigration policies could hurt his chances.

Opportunities/Strengths for Obama:

  • Obama recently stopped in the state to tout housing policies aimed at preventing foreclosures — a hot-button topic in the real estate damaged state
  • Hispanics make up more than a quarter of the state’s population and accounted for 13% of its electorate in 2010
  • The Obama campaign, parts of which remain from 2008, has expanded with help from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s grass-roots organization, set up ahead of the 2010 midterm elections amid fiery anti-incumbent sentiment.
  • Both candidates are looking to Latino voters for an edge. Polls show that Hispanics prefer Mr. Obama by a wide margin, but the president faces hurdles in making sure they are registered and motivated to vote.

Although specific challenges for Obama were not outlined in the piece, they were implicit in the Opportunities section for Romney.  Obama must overcome one of the worst economies in the nation and heal deep wounds from early in his presidency when he publicly castigated businesses for holding conferences in Las Vegas — a main area of employment in the economically torn state.