As of the close of polls Saturday night, roughly 160,000 people had early voted in Nevada.
Combined early voting totals — including the Clark County (but not Washoe) mail-in ballots — give the Democrats a lead of 10,000 after eight days of early voting:
Democrats: 81,490 (19.3 percent of registered voters)
Republicans: 71,274 (21.5 percent of registered voters)
In Clark County, the totals including mail-ins:
In Washoe County, the Republicans have the edge by a couple thousand votes:
Democrats: 14,092 (16.4 percent of registered voters)
Republicans: 16,298 (18.9 percent of registered voters)
It is easy to get caught up in comparing Democratic and Republican totals but how the 21,965 “other” votes in Clark County break is a huge factor. Also to be considered is the number of votes Reid and Angle will each bleed from their base due to their high negatives, and to where those votes will go.
Your humble Battle ‘10 correspondent believes Republicans who don’t vote for Angle are much more likely to go with “none of these candidates” than to cross over for Reid. Of course, a vote for “none” is nearly as good as a vote for Reid.
The highest ratio of votes that has ever gone to “none” in a statewide election was 3.6 percent. It is not unreasonable to think that number may be met or exceeded with the high negatives of both major party candidates. If “none” reaches 4 or even 5 percent, as some polls have shown, Angle is going to need to hold the GOP base and win significantly with independents.
The last Mason-Dixon poll showed Reid down by eight percent with nonpartisan voters. If that proves out and Angle can hold the base, she will almost certainly win. By my math, even if Angle beats Reid even by only five or six percent with independents, but holds on to roughly 85 percent of her base, she can probably squeak out a win (although we may be looking at a recount in that case). If Angle wins by eight percent with independents, as that last survey showed — while still holding the base — she may win with a little breathing room, and we can probably call it “done” over a late dinner on November 2.
The problem comes if Angle bleeds too many GOP voters, regardless of where those votes go. If she loses even two or three percentage points from the base, she will then need to pull closer to 10 percent of the independent vote to win. It is possible but by no means assured that she can do that, which is why that 21,000+ “other” votes is key.
Various turnout scenarios could turn all this supposing on its ear, too.
Early voting ends this Friday, October 29.