Sunday is understandably a slow day in early voting so today’s low results are not a big shock but the trends in Clark County get more intriguing by the day. Democrats cast 11,248 ballots while Republicans cast 8272, for a 2976 ballot advantage. As it stands Democrats have a 45,675 advantage in partisan ballots cast in 2012, down from 56,298 at the same point in 2008 — a -10,623 election-over-election reduction. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Sunday results is that for the first time this year in Clark County, the Democrats had a lower turnout than the comparable day in 2008 — a seriously bad sign is this all-important County. The trend line for the Democrats (added below) is troubling as well. While Republicans slowly but steadily are picking up their pace of the overall turnout, the Democrats continue to drop with reasonable consistency. This is all the more ominous considering the turnout in Clark County next week is expected to increase by as much as 40% more than the average daily weekday turnout in 2012. If Democrat turnout continues this slide or has more days under-performing its 2008 results, Republicans could see dramatic swings in the ballot differential heading into election day. The other area of concern is the continued pickup in the Independent/Other category. Sunday’s steep fall-off of Democrats was met by continued gains in this group. The increased contribution from the Independent/Other category is one of the hidden stories in Nevada early voting so we will watch it closely:
NOTE: This is an updated chart. Thanks to nvClark and rcl_in_vain the comments for catching some data issues.
The Clark County model
Consistent with what we wrote for Washoe County, we are going to administer some “final” tweaks to the Clark model. Many of the model’s original assumptions were made using only one day’s actual data plus a few trends gleaned from the 2008 results. We now have 9 days data of actual 2012 turnout which gives us a better sense of what is actually happening on the ground in Nevada. Therefore we are going to use the 2012 weekday average Democrat turnout (14,817) from last week as the base for the expected ramp-up in 2012 turnout during the coming week. The daily ramp-up percentage will be the differential between the 2008 first week average daily gross turnout (22,862) and daily 2nd week gross turnout (Mon: 134%, Tues: 140%, Wed: 155%, Thur: 168%, Fri: 195%). With dramatic increases in turnout crescendoing throughout the second week it becomes that much more imperative for Republicans to outpace Democrats during the stretch run. The expected daily growth rate of the GOP turnout, unlike in Washoe, has held relatively stable and stands at +2.7% reflecting the current day-over-day rate in 2012. Increases in this area can have sizable impacts on the final results so we will cautiously adjust this as needed. With these new assumptions, the model expects the Democrats to end early voting with a 66,685 advantage in ballots cast — down from 83,633 in 2008.