Little Evidence Of Enthusiasm Gap In Early Nevada Voting

At least in Nevada, there appears to be little evidence of an enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, which is potentially good news for Harry Reid.

Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston takes note of the initial reports about early voting in Nevada:

The secretary of state’s office has tallied all the early voting numbers, and the parties are about even. The Republicans, as they do in the urban counties, have a slight turnout edge statewide, about 2 percent. (If absentee ballots are included, the advantage switches to the Democrats by about 2,000 votes, but the turnout advantage is still slightly GOP.)

Some points:

1. The GOP had a 6 percent overall turnout advantage in Nevada four years ago. It was 3 percent in 2008. These numbers show no signs that the normal midterm turnout will be different.

2. Independents are turning out at a rate of about 10 percent — less than the 14.5 percent for Democrats and 16.7 percent for Republicans. The state’s nearly quarter-million voters not affiliated with either party remain the key to the election. They have always favored Sharron Angle, but by how much and how much will they turn out? And how much will each lose among their respective bases — that is, how many Democrats won’t vote for Harry Reid and how many Republicans will balk at Angle?

The actual early voting numbers by party registration are as follows:

  • Democratic — 68,449
  • Republican — 68,574
  • Other — 24,346

In other words, in the first week of early voting there were only 125 more Republicans voting than Democrats. Now, obviously, we can’t necessarily draw any conclusions from these numbers about the election itself, but this would seem to me to be positive news for Harry Reid and perhaps an indication that his negative campaign against Sharron Angle has motivated Nevada Democrats to get out and vote (unless you believe, of course, that there are a lot of Nevada Democrats voting for Sharron Angle, which seems unlikely).

Ralston advises that we keep an eye on the numbers for the second week of early voting, which should be out this time next week. If we’re still seeing a Democratic and Republican voters heading to the polls early in relatively equal numbers, it could mean that Harry Reid will win this one.

This may not be something we’ll see repeated across the country, of course, but may instead by a evidence to support the theory that Harry Reid’s political career was saved the day that Sharron Angle won the Republican nomination for Senate.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. ponce says:

    It will be interesting to see if the supposed “enthusiasm gap” makes any difference in individual races.

  2. grampagravy says:

    “This may not be something we’ll see repeated across the country…”
    The myth of the enthusiasm gap will go the way of the other media myths of this election. My favorite so far has been the “anti-incumbent wave” that proved to be barely a squirt, much less a wave. What’s amusing is the tenacity with which those who are hoping for self-fulfilling prophecy hang on to these myths even after the facts refute them thoroughly.

  3. John Burgess says:

    In my FL county, early voting ha Republicans showing up more than Democrats. I think it really does depend on locality…

  4. […] Nevada Looks Good for Reid Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway suggests cautiously that Democrat Harry Reid’s campaign against […]

  5. […] that stand out. Most notably, the first week of early voting in Nevada seemed to indicate that Democrats are as enthusiastic as Republicans in that particular state, a fact which may bode well for Harry Reid. In the nation as a whole, though, it looks like the […]

  6. Al Pippin says:

    Talk about grasping for straws – Wow Dougie, you most certainly need a whole barn full of it . You might then have enough to carry you through to November 2nd. Because it will then all come crashing down on you. Virtually EVERY one of your referenced articles are so outdated that there’s not a single one that is even remotely relevant to what’s currently going on in the Nevada’s Senate race. Let’s see now; 6/24, 7/28, 8/27 and 9/29. Talk about desperation!

    Final tally: Sharron Angle by 8%-10%. Watch and weep!!!