Democrats break 50,000-voter lead barrier in Clark; Washoe amazingly tight

Update: Latest statewide numbers show just how close Washoe is -- 315 votes separate the parties -- and how robustly the rurals continue to turn out. Democrats still have a 35,000-vote statewide lead, or 6 percentage points. Here are the latest numbers.

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If you had any doubts that 2012 is not 2008, doubt no more.

The Democrats survived two consecutive days of early voting sites being in GOP-friendly territory by extending their lead in Clark County to more than 50,000 voters. (Statewide, the Republicans actually turned out more voters than the Democrats on Monday.) The wave of 2008 has become a high tide of 2012 -- dangerous to the GOP, but, perhaps, not fatal.

There are still three days left for the Democrats to solidfy their firewall, but they will not get to 83,000 (the 2008 lead), nor will they get to the 12,000-voter lead in Washoe County, where the Democrats have a 500-vote early/mail lead (absentees not in yet all counted in Washoe) out of about 80,000 votes cast. I still think the Democrats have an advantage unless Mitt Romney is winning independents by 20 points or more -- and depending on just how large Election Day turnout is for Republicans. My guess is Democratic Party strategists feel good, but not quite secure.

The polls I trust still show the president ahead by a few points, so that tells me Obama is holding his own among indies, which is the key to the election now. The last three days of '08 had the biggest turnout, so we'll see if that pattern holds.

The Clark numbers (early/mail):

Democrats -- 175,715, or 48 percent

Republicans -- 124,176, or 34 percent

Others -- 67,665, or 18 percent

So the turnout relative to the registration lead (15 points) now slightly favors the Republicans. Those actual numbers: Democratic turnout is 45 percent, and GOP turnout is just above 47 percent. So the Republican turnout edge could well be 3 points or so in Clark by the end of early/mail voting, which could mean it gets to 5 or more after Election Day.

That's not enough to make up for the Democratic registration edge, but if independents vote overwhelmingly for Romney, could there be a Nov. 6 surprise?