The situation on the ground isn’t much more encouraging for the GOP.
About 53 percent of the voters who turned out on Saturday and Sunday in Clark County, the state’s most populous, were Democrats, while just 31 percent were Republicans. The 22-point disparity is higher than the 15 points by which Democrats outnumber Republicans—a sign, the party says, of the field organization Sen. Harry Reid and Nevada Democrats have spent a decade building.
Early voting in Washoe County, home to Reno, showed a similar Democratic advantage. Registered voters in the state’s bellwether county split evenly, 38 percent for both Democrats and Republicans. Over the weekend, Democrats made up 47 percent of those casting ballots early, compared with 38 percent for Republicans, a nine-point Democratic advantage.
Many polls continue to show a large gap between registered and likely voters. If North Carolina and Nevada are any indication, the final results will look more like the registered voters.
Back to Nevada, no one knows his state’s politics more than Jon Ralson, so what does he have to say about those early results?
We know the Democrats are getting out their voters — better than four years ago, in fact.
We know the Republicans are turning out much better than in ’08 (a very low bar because John McCain had abandoned the state and it was a wave election for the Democrats) — but are handicapped by a large (127,000) voter registration deficit and thus have a smaller pool to draw from.
It is silly to extrapolate from a couple of days. But, on the other hand, we have to figure both parties were trying to show off on opening weekend — and Democrats have a 13,000-vote lead in Clark. It is likely that the percentage edge will diminish every day — but the raw vote edge could be formidable if the GOP can’t turn around the pattern of the last two cycles.
What happened the last two cycles? Democrats performed even better on Election Day than in the early voting thanks to a superior party machine. Ralston has been very clear this year—Republicans have nothing even remotely comparable.