Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August Voter Registration Trends in Washoe County

Yesterday, we examined recent voter registration trends in Clark County. Today, we're heading north. Now that Washoe County also has new voter registration statistics available, we'll be able to see what's happened in Reno earlier than originally expected.

So what's been happening in Reno? Here are the big stories:

- Countywide, Democrats improved slightly on their July numbers. Washoe Dems went from a 1.63% deficit last month to a 1.59% deficit now. They're still slightly behind Republicans, but they're slowly catching up.

- In the big marquee Legislature race that is the SD 15 State Senate election, Republicans actually went from a 1.89% advantage last month to a 1.92% advantage now. While Republicans have been falling behind Democrats in nearly all the swing districts in Clark County, this newly swingy Washoe seat has been a bright spot for them, as it's mostly been stable there. And in fact, Republicans even got a tiny boost in their ranks here this month.

- And briefly jumping back to the statewide numbers, the "Team Nevada" "Shadow GOP" spokesperson actually admitted to The R-J yesterday that Nevada Democrats' voter registration advantage is probably north of 54,000 voters now. Even with little change in Washoe, some surprising gains in the rural areas, along with the exceptionally strong Clark County numbers, continue to give Democrats a big boost statewide.

But getting back to Washoe County, should Democrats be worried? Not really, even though they do have more work cut out for them. Let me explain.

There's a reason why Washoe Republicans want a divorce from the state party. You see, they tend to cooperate with "the establishment"... Or perhaps, you can say they're better controlled by "the establishment" than the "Ron Paul Revolutionaries" that catapulted their way from the Clark County GOP to take over the state GOP. So the Washoe GOP has often been able to go toe to toe against Democrats there, even while the Clark GOP keeps tumbling down here.

However, the electorate of Washoe County is also remarkably different from Clark's in that Nonpartisans tend to lean more Democratic while Republicans have a larger than normal pool of moderates who can be peeled off when "the right kind of Republican" is on the ballot. And when that's combined with an enthusiastic Democratic base there, wild things can happen.

So all in all, Washoe County still looks mostly stable. Republicans are holding onto a registration edge for now, but we'll have to see how far that ultimately takes them once early voting starts.

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