Monday, July 30, 2012

The Curious Case of Nevada's Voter Registration

Well, now we know why Republicans are panicking. Take a look at the new voter registration statistics.

New numbers released this week show Democrats have increased their advantage over Republicans to 47,500 voters.

Since April, Democratic voter registration has increased by 20,500. Republican registration in that time has increased by 9,700.

While the statewide numbers haven't officially been released yet, we can look at the new Clark County numbers to see what's happening in all the hot Southern Nevada races. Here's what's making my eyes pop this morning:

- The Republican registration advantage in NV-03 is almost all gone, as their formerly 0.41% edge shrunk even further. Now, it's all the way down to a mere 0.24%, or 682 raw votes. At the pace this is going, Democrats may regain an advantage here as soon as next month!

- The Democratic advantage in the Clark County portion of the new NV-04 seat grew from an already robust 13.86% to an even wider 14.09%, or 31,928 raw votes. Again, we won't know the full NV-04 numbers until the Secretary of State's office releases new statewide statistics late this week. But so far, Steven Horsford and Nevada Democrats must be happy at this sight.

- And in the key Clark County State Senate races that will determine the balance of power in the Legislature next year, Democrats gained across the board. In SD 5 in the Green Valley neighborhoods of Henderson, Democrats' advantage rose from 3.19% to 3.36%. In SD 6 in the Summerlin neighborhoods of Las Vegas, Democrats' advantage rose from 3.81% to 3.93%. In SD 9 in the Southwest Las Vegas Valley, the Democratic edge grew from 4.78% to 5.06% (!!!). And finally in SD 18 in the Northwest Las Vegas Valley, the Republican edge shrank from 2.80% to 2.60%. All in all, Democrats did quite well in registering new voters in these key swing districts. In particular, SD 9 really seems to be slipping away from Republicans entirely while SD 18 is looking increasingly vulnerable for them.

And overall, Nevada Democrats have plenty of reasons to smile. In addition to the great #NVLeg news, NV-03 is almost completely even in registration. Joe Heck and his Republican consultants now have plenty of reasons to be extra nervous. And again, as long as NV-04 gains more Clark County Democrats, Steven Horsford's position continues to solidify. He may not completely be out of the woods yet, but at least there's plenty of light at the end of that path.

So what does this all mean? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Field matters. Because Nevada Democrats are busy registering new voters and persuading more current voters, they're in better shape than most pundits actually realize. And because Nevada Republicans can't match their boastful swagger with any real action, they're in more trouble than they really want to admit.

Here's what The Sun's David McGrath Schwartz had to admit yesterday.

Put shortly, Democrats are well organized and have been building an infrastructure for eight years with the help of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Republicans, meanwhile, have gone through a series of titular heads, and top elected Republicans have spent their political capital elsewhere. [...]

But elections are about numbers. Voters who register with a party are a tangible indication of just that.

The disparity on voter registration is likely more a reflection of the strength of the organizations.

Politics is often one big numbers game. And right now, Nevada Republicans are falling behind. Nevada Democrats just have to keep on chugging (and registering and persuading) to finish on top in November.

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