Reid Counts on Early Voters and the Democratic Turnout Machine

By Nicole Allan

Republicans have not seen the early voting surge in Nevada many were expecting, according to the Washington Post. The state's two-week early voting period concluded on Friday. Combined with mail-in ballots, early voting is expected to make up more than 50 percent of the votes cast in Nevada's election.

6,600 more Democrats voted early in Nevada than Republicans, according to preliminary counts. In the state as a whole, however, 60,000 more Democrats are registered to vote than Republicans. Democrats did not come close to matching this registration advantage in early voting turnout.

Yet according to Jon Ralston, Nevada's leading political journalist, Republican early voting numbers did not match expectations for a GOP surge: 

Republicans do not have the huge turnout advantage in early voting they should in a wave election -- under 4 points. And all the data I have seen tell me that unless Reid loses independents by 15 points or so, he will hold on.

Ralston has made his official prediction for the race: that Reid will win, just barely.

Harry Reid is the most resilient figure in Nevada political history. He should not even be here. He lost a U.S. Senate race in 1974, embarrassed himself in a mayoral race in 1975 and should have lost his re-election bid in 1998. But he found a way to win 12 years ago, and he will again Tuesday.

How? Let me count the ways:

Considering they were dealing with a moribund politician, and one who was sure to make their job more difficult during the year with his spontaneous effusions, Reid's handlers have run one of the most spectacular campaigns in history at all levels: The turnout machine is formidable. The TV has been pitch perfect. The strategy -- to peel moderate Republicans and independents who might not like their guy away from Angle -- has worked.

And, perhaps equally important, Republicans managed to nominate the one person this year who could lose to Reid. ...

The result: Reid, 47 percent; Angle, 45 percent; rest, 4 percent; none of the above, 4 percent.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/10/reid-counts-on-early-voters-and-the-democratic-turnout-machine/65457/