Democrats end with 71,000-voter lead in Clark, near dead heat in Washoe

UPDATE: Statewide totals in. 700,000-plus have voted already. Doubt more than 1 million in all will vote. Democrats have a 48,000-vote lead. And the GOP only has a 1.1 percent statewide voter turnout advantage so far. The Republicans did a massive Tuesday effort for Romney to win.

A remarkable effort on the last day of early voting in Clark County by the Democrats pushed their lead above the 70,000 mark while another close day in Washoe left that county essentially even.

I will dive deeper into the numbers for premium subscribers Sunday, but bottom line: The credible polls on both sides would have to be wrong -- i.e. Romney would have to win independents by a large margin -- for him to win Nevada.

This is why registration matters, folks. That 90,000-voter lead for the Democrats could save them from a devastated economy and the president's negatives. Team Romney's spin has been that GOP turnout is up from '08 (it is, but that was a wave election and McCain didn't do anything here) and Democrats need an 80,000 lead in Clark after early voting (crazy metric).

The Republicans are counting on 90 percent GOP turnout and a decisive indie win -- that's their only chance, and the smart ones know it. Not impossible, but unlikely.

I'll publish my official prediction tomorrow.

To the numbers:

First, Clark, with mail and early vote:

Democrats -- 229,855, or 47.7 percent

Republicans -- 159,115, 33.0 percent

Others -- 92,717, or 19.3 percent

So turnout ends up right about at registration margin (46-31). The turnout differential, always expected to favor the GOP, shrunk on the last day. It's now 60.5 percent, GOP, to 58.9 percent, Democrats. That's only 1.6 percent.

Both parties turned out more voters in '12 than '08, with the GOP shaving about 13,000 off the deficit. But if President Obama wins Clark by double digits, he will still win the state. If turnout is 80 percent in Clark, as it was four years ago, 71 percent of the vote is already in.

It is almost impossible for the GOP to get that margin under double digits in Clark with only about 30 percent of the vote left to be cast. So the math returns to this: Unless Democrats are abandoning the president (no evidence of this) or the Mormons somehow save Romney (probably too small a group), the Republicans need to dramatically increase their turnout from normal patterns (has either party cannibalized its vote in early voting?) or independents must save Romney. It is that simple.

Now for Washoe, with early and mail through Thursday:

Democrats -- 51,434, or 40.2 percent

Republicans -- 51,885, or 40.5 percent

Others -- 24,663, or 19.3 percent

Overall early turnout in Washoe (remember there are probably a few hundred mail ballots left to count) is 53 percent.

Total urban turnout:

Democrats, 281,289, or 58.5 percent

Republican, 211,000, or 59.5 percent

So the GOP has a 1 percent turnout advantage in the urban areas, where 85 percent of the votes will be cast by the end of Tuesday. The Republicans will need to boost that on Election Day -- and there is a limited pool of voters left -- for Romney to have a chance here.

No rural updates from Friday, but Democrats were losing by about 20,000 voters there. Some Republicans hope Romney can win the cow counties by 40,000 votes. I think that's optimistic (Obama lost there by 25,000 votes four years ago), but possible.

But even if he does, that means the GOP has to hold Obama to a less than 40,000-vote victory in urban Nevada. These early numbers indicate that is unlikely.

Possible. But unlikely.