One of the reasons the Republicans remain optimistic about Mitt Romney winning Nevada is that they claim they have banked high-propensity voters who will swamp the Democrats on Tuesday because the opposition is turning out its inveterates and will have little left for Election Day.
This always seemed odd to me for this reason: Wouldn't a lot of high-propensity voters cast ballots early because they are, you know, high-propensity voters?
Truth is the Republicans may be banking on theories that do not comport with reality -- at least in Clark County, according to an analysis of the voter file of those who have voted thus far. To wit:
---The GOP folks have scoffed at the flood of late Democratic registrations, saying they are weak voters likely to stay home. The numbers suggest otherwise, based on the ballots cast early: About half of the 26,000 new Democratic registrants since June 1 already have voted. The GOP new folks are coming out at a slightly higher rate (54 percent), but the raw numbers difference is more than 14,000 voters because of the Democrats' registration advantage.
----You want low-propensity voters? Of those who have never voted before, there has been 40 percent turnout among Democrats, almost identical to the GOP turnout among that cohort. But because of the registration difference, the Democrats have a 24,000-voter edge in that universe.
----If you reduce this down to the parties and their percentage of the vote among newly registered voters or those who have never voted, the Democrats are winning in newbie ballots cast by more than 25 points. That is a huge problem for the GOP, especially because about a fifth of the early and mail voters in Clark have never voted in any election. The Democrats are capturing the lion's share of new voters -- and it could make a decisive difference in more than one race.
----I have told you before that inactive voters could be critical in this election. It appears that 20,000 inactive voters already have cast ballots -- in the same 2-to-1, Democrats, proportion in which they are registered. I had some Democratic-aligned folks come to my door -- twice -- looking for a couple of inactive voters who are no longer there. That tells me they are all over it.
All of this data tells me that the Democratic machine is whirring and that the GOP effort is a shadow in comparison. It may indeed be better than 2008 -- that low bar again. But they are not turning out so many low propensity voters compared to the Democrats, who not only are likely to have a robust turnout Tuesday but have been on an inactive voter hunt that has paid dividends.
I think this is where I ask to change some of my predictions....