After Mitt Romney’s dominating debate win over President Barack Obama during their first presidential debate, Romney has taken the lead over or closed the gap with Obama in every swing state.
Yet the mainstream media has been claiming that in Nevada, which is one of those battleground states, Obama has a built-in firewall against any Romney surge.
The conventional mainstream media wisdom has been: Democrats have a voter registration advantage over Republicans, Hispanics will swing overwhelmingly to Obama, and the state Republican party is inept.
This, though, ignores two realities on the ground: Nevada’s dismal economy and polls that show the race between Obama and Romney is tied.
Nevada is fifth in the nation in foreclosures and had led the nation for years. Nevada’s median household income plummeted by six percent from 2010 to 2011, representing the sharpest decline in any of the eleven battleground states. Nevada leads the nation with a 12.1 unemployment rate, in bankruptcies, and in the number of homes that are under water. Some neighborhoods in Clark County are ghost towns.
In this dismal economy, which Obama exacerbated with his policies, the incumbent gets few advantages, let alone a firewall.
And after the first debate between Romney and Obama, the most lopsided victory ever recorded in a presidential debate, polls in Nevada have been trending toward Romney.
Obama leads by 1.6 points in the RCP average of polls. But when the partisan breakdown of these polls are factored in, it could be said that Romney is actually the frontrunner.
In 2008, Democrats had an eight-point advantage over Republicans on election day and Obama beat John McCain by 12.5 points largely because he bested McCain among independents by thirteen points.
Obama will not enjoy similar advantages this year because there is less enthusiasm for his candidacy.
Consider the most recent polls:
In a D+8 Suffolk poll, Obama led by just two points.
In a D+9 Public Policy Polling poll, Obama led by four points.
Obama and Romney were tied in a Rasmussen Reports poll, and Obama led by one point in a Gravis Marketing poll.
And in a D+7 Survey USA poll conducted last week, Obama led Romney by only one point (47% to 46%), but Romney led Obama by 8 points among independents. In addition, Romney had a +1 favorability rating while Obama’s was -2.
In addition, Obama, in the Survey USA poll, led Romney by only ten points in Clark County, the state’s most populous county where Democrats have a 120,000 voter registration advantage. Meanwhile, Romney led Obama by three points in Washoe County and thumped Obama by 16 points in the rest of the state.
Obama, in the poll, also underperformed among minorities, gaining the support of 81 percent of blacks and 54 percent of Hispanics. Nationally, Obama gets over 90% of support from blacks and roughly 65% of support from Hispanics.
And since Mormons make up about 6.5% of the population in Nevada, Romney will surely benefit from the enthusiasm in the Mormon community for his candidacy.
The downticket races also show good signs for Romney.
Republican Sen. Dean Heller is pulling away from embattled challenger Shelley Berkley (D). Heller leads by points in the RCP average of polls. In one poll (Gravis Marketing, which found Obama leading Romney by one point), Heller even led by 17 points.
And consider the case of Republican Danny Tarkanian, who is running for Congress to represent Nevada’s newly-created fourth district against a Democrat who is a two-term state senator. Democrats have nearly a ten-point voter registration advantage in the district, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been personally attacking Tarkanian after a Republican-leaning polling firm found Tarkanian had a 13-point lead in the race.
And while Nevada’s state Republican party may not be as formidable as those in other states, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has helped the party tremendously. The RNC moved staff from New Mexico to Nevada and, according to the national party, Republicans have made three times more phone calls and eight times more door knocks than during the 2008 cycle in Nevada. Since spring along, Republicans have had nearly 1.5 million voter contacts.
The mainstream media often do not even talk about Nevada as a competitive state, assuming Obama will win it, but the reality on the ground indicates that if Obama ever had a firewall in Nevada, Romney has obliterated it.