Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 | 12:13 p.m.
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.)
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?
3. Keep a close eye on the second week of early voting. You would think if Republicans were enthusiastic, they would show an early spike not a late one -- as the Democrats did in '08. Two years ago, the Democrats started big and the Republicans cut the margin toward the end. Let's see what happens this year. If the GOP has a 4 or 5 percent lead by Friday, that could be ominous. But if not....
Link to the early voting totals: