UPDATE: Democrats also decisively defeated Republicans in first round of absentee ballots, usually a GOP strength, posted in Clark County: 8,976-7,448, or 46-38. So raw number in Clark so far: Dems, 27,364-17,036. That's 52-32, or 5 points above the registration edge.
As early voting begins today, and Republicans continue to spin their tales of voter contacts, let me show you just how difficult Mitt Romney's task is here in Nevada.
Some nuggets to end your week:
Nugget No. 1 -- Gov. Brian Sandoval, now heading Team Nevada, sent out a pitch today for the man he endorsed but never seemed enthusiastic about:
If you don't think we matter in the presidential race and Senate matrix, consider the latest on ad buys, with a whopping one from Crossroads (the Karl Rove group) at the top:
----How big is the Crossroads buy? $300,000 on one Vegas station for one week (Oct. 24-30). Extrapolate that!
----Majority PAC (help for Rep. Shelley Berkley) put down six figures for the last week.
----Priorities USA Action, the Obama-aligned SuperPAC, put down substantial buys, North and South, for the last push.
President Obama leads 51-43 in Nevada, according to a Mark Mellman poll taken this week for Americans United for Change.
AUFC is a liberal, union-funded group, which may give GOP folks ammunition. But Mellman has a good track record here.
Is he right? We'll find out.
Memo linked here.
Darren Littel, an RNC operative helping lead the GOP effort here, tweeted this on Thursday: "In #NV absentee ballots GOP outperforming reg numbers by 7%, Dems under performing by 2 points"
Wow. That sounds huge.
But, as always, context is called for.
Republicans nearly always beat Democrats in absentee ballots -- they did by a few points two and four years ago. And mail ballots are a small percentage of the overall vote.
State: 11.8 percent
Vegas: 11.5 percent
Reno: 10.8 percent
Carson: 10.9 percent
Full report linked here.
The city of Fernley, which sued the state of Nevada over tax collections, has survived the first round of litigation and attempts to dismiss the case.
A judge refused to dismiss the case and allowed Fernley to proceed with discovery. The state and the Legislature, which intervened in the case involving consolidated tax collections and how they are apportioned, had tried to scuttle the case. But no dice.
I'm not surprised the Shelley Berkley campaign folks decided to release their internals with the "newspaper" (Sen. Dean Heller plus 6) and Rasmussen Reports (Heller plus 7) polls released today.
Neither of those surveys has been close to accurate in Nevada -- although perhaps 2012 will be the exception -- and Mellman nailed the 2010 race. He has Berkley, for whom he is working, up 3. They wouldn't show me the poll, but I have linked his memo, which derides other polling, here.
The diverse herd, populated by bulls branded red and blue, has moved in the same direction, a stray cow or two notwithstanding: The president won the debate.
I agree. But you know what? That doesn’t really matter.
What matters is what those unfortunately benighted undecided voters think – and there were few of those in the hall at Hofstra on Tuesday evening. Even more so than that small universe of undecided voters, what really determines the outcome now is how Democrats and Republicans feel – the ones in Ohio, that is.