Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010 | 4:12 p.m.
Those figures come from sources tracking the early vote on the ground. Statewide vote totals put out by the secretary of state (not yet official and not including tiny Eureka County) show Democrats lead the early vote by just under 2 percentage points (43-41) – or about 3 percentage points off their 5-point registration edge. But those numbers don't include mail ballots, where Democrats have an edge and boost them just over 2 percent, I am reliably told.
In the U.S. Senate race, I think Harry Reid has a chance to win if that overall edge stays below the historical 6 percent edge the GOP has in midterms – anything more than that and it gets very dicey for him. Not impossible, but difficult.
The statewide numbers from the SOS (no mail included): Dem 162,774 (34.6 percent turnout of Dems) - GOP 156,150 (38.0 percent turnout of Republicans) - Other 60,665 (25.5 percent turnout of all others)
Rural turnout (no mail): 15,489 Dems (31.5 percent), 28,663; GOP (35.9 percent)
So a few things are clear:
Clark County was 68 percent of the early turnout (slightly more than its registration numbers) while Washoe was 18 percent (slightly under) and the rurals (14 percent) were right on.
So expect the rural and Washoe County turnout to be slightly higher than Clark on Election Day – the rurals traditionally turn out in higher overall percentages than the urban counties. One caveat: Early voting percentages are up, so Election Day may be less important. However:
1. If Harry Reid is not ahead when those first numbers pop up on Election Night – the tallies of the early and absentee votes – he probably will lose.
2.Reid may need to win Washoe County to offset losses in rural Nevada. The Democrats are down by 13,000 votes now, so it is not unreasonable to assume Reid will lose the cow counties by at least 25,000 votes. If Reid wins Clark County by 35,000 votes plus – a tall order -- he could afford to lose Washoe. But not by a lot.
3. These numbers indicate Angle probably needs a double-digit win among independent and other voters. If Reid can keep that margin in single digits, he probably will be re-elected.
And now we wait....