Nevada’s Democrats have piled up an apparent lead in votes during the state’s early voting period, putting new pressure on Donald Trump’s grassroots to maximize their voter turnout on election day.
Democrats used their extensive get-out-the-vote organization in Las Vegas and the surrounding Clark County to get 324,239 registered Democrats to vote early. They won a lead of 72,000 voters in Clark County, but the GOP offset that in other areas with a statewide turnout of 276,611 registered Republicans. That leaves a state-wide Democratic lead of 48,000 more registered voters.
But an unknown number of Republicans and Democrats voted across party lines, muddying up the estimated GOP shortfall.
If Trump gained 7 points more than he lost in the party-switching — as some poll-watchers estimate —then Hillary Clinton’s apparent advantage shrinks from 48,000 votes to 25,000 votes.
In addition, 167,148 independents also cast ballots during the the early voting period. If Trump has a 7 percent advantage among these voters, as claimed by some estimates, Trump could have already banked a 12,000 vote-lead in this independent group over Clinton. If so, Trump has reduced the estimated post-party-switching shortfall of 25,000 votes down to 13,000 votes.
But 769,948 Nevadans have already cast their ballots, leaving only about 385,000 Nevadans likely to vote on election day, according to the pattern set by the 2008 and 2012 elections.
To make up that 48,000-vote to 13,000-vote shortfall on election day, Trump’s grassroots will have to boost their turnout by roughly 10 percent or 20 percent or even 30 percent, from perhaps 180,000 Trump supporters to 195,000 Trump supporters or even 210,000 Trump supporters.
That task could get tougher, because the Democrats’ union-powered turnout-machine is also identifying all of Clinton’s supporters who didn’t vote early, so they can be bussed, driven and dragged to the poll on Nov. 8.
Still, a poll conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 showed Trump leading Clinton in Nevada by 48 percent to 43 percent, while libertarian Gary Johnson gets only 5 percent. The poll of 723 people was conducted via the Internet by the People’s Pundit Daily website.
The RealClearPolling site tracks multiple polls and shows Trump in the lede with 46 percent support, 44 percent for Clinton and 4 percent for Johnson. RCP’s polls also show Trump rapidly gaining in the last few days.
However, Democrats and their supporters — such as Nevada journalist Jon Ralston — are declaring the race over:
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 5, 2016
Ralston later backtracked somewhat, concluding that:
The best Trump can hope for is to win rural Nevada by 50,000 votes. And that would be HUGE — Romney won the rurals by about 40,000 votes. In Washoe, where the Dems have a 1,000-vote ballot lead now, that would mean Trump would have to win Washoe fairly decisively and reduce the Clark margin, which actually is likely to grow, on Election Day.
Look at it another way:
Let’s be conservative and say two-thirds of the vote is in – it was 70 percent in 2012 and turnout is down this year. That means there are roughly about 385,000 votes left. Let’s say Trump did the impossible and won Election Day by 10 points – 50-40. That would be 192,000 to 154,000, or 38,000 votes. He would probably still lose.
… I think the GOP will gain ground on Tuesday. But Clinton is too far ahead, I’d guess,
Read Ralston’s comments here.