I thought Nevada was supposed to be close?

(h/t to the folks at hillaryclintonforum.net)

Last I looked at places like 538.com and ElectionProjection, they were calling Nevada either “leans McCain” or “tossup”. But this story in the Las Vegas Review Journal makes that assumption pretty suspect.

On the first day of early voting, 62 percent of Clark County voters were Democrats, while 23 percent were Republicans and the rest nonpartisans or members of minor parties. Through Sunday, 55 percent of early voters were Democrats, 29 percent Republicans.

Ok, now pay close attention, the early voting gives Democrats a 26 point edge in in votes cast.

Exit polling of early voters conducted by a local political consultant suggests a close presidential contest in the Silver State: Democratic nominee Barack Obama had the votes of 50 percent who had voted, while Republican nominee John McCain had 48 percent of the early vote.

Whoa! That is a heck of a lot of PUMAs. Let’s take a look at the actual vote totals:

Through the end of voting Sunday, about 300,000 people had voted early statewide, a turnout of 24.9 percent of the state’s 1.2 million active voters.

So if we do a little math, this means 150,000 people have voted Obama, and 148,000 for McCain. But 165,000 of the voters are Democrat, while 87,000 are Republicans. For these results to be valid, at least 13,000 Democrats have to have voted to McCain, and up to 61,000. Assuming that the Independents are splitting 50/50, this gives us about a 37,000 Democrat crossover votes, or 12% of the electorate, assuming 100% support for McCain among Republicans. Put more realistically, the Republicans in Nevada have a 12% advantage in crossover support.

Amusingly, the article quotes Larry Sabato, then uses his prediction for Nevada:

Sabato, whose “Crystal Ball” tracks his election predictions, foresees Nevada going narrowly for Obama.

If that is going to happen, then the Dems need to have at least a 12% turnout advantage over the Republicans. Because if we get a 2004 even turnout between parties, McCain will win Nevada by 12 points, at the current rate. The only way this reserves is if the PUMAs all voted early, and Obama supporters are waiting for Nov. 4th.

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