Polls of Nevada show it evenly divided between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but Jon Ralston, the longtime dean of Nevada political journalism, has been keeping tabs on the state’s early voting and concludes that “if Clinton holds her base here (data I have seen shows she is, and minority turnout is going up) and turnout patterns don't dramatically shift in the last two days of early voting, she can't lose Nevada.”
We, of course, don’t know how Nevada early voters are voting.
But we do know what party they are registered with. And in Nevada they are very heavily registered Democrats:
Here’s Ralston’s back-of-the-envelope calculations based on this:
On the presidential (and maybe applies to the U.S. Senate, too), some math still holds:
— Both candidates get 90 percent of base and split indies: Clinton by 4, 29,000 votes
— Both candidates get 90 percent of base, Trump wins indies by 10: Clinton by 2, 17,000 votes
— Both candidates get 90 percent of base, Trump wins indies by 20: Clinton by 3,000 votes
Note: Trump is not going to get 90 percent of the GOP base, and with all of those votes banked even before the Comey letter, it's almost impossible for him to win indies by 20. (Romney won indies by 7.) You see his challenge.
Ralston further concludes based on this that “congressional seats are almost gone for the GOP” in the state.
Now, a gigantic caveat: Early voting does not have a long history in the United States. Any time you make assertions about presidential election outcomes, you are stuck dealing with small sample sizes. When you are talking about early voting in Nevada, you are talking about a very small sample size. It’s certainly possible that the Clinton campaign’s emphasis on early voting is simply pulling all its votes forward and Trump will crush her on Election Day voting.
All that said, jumping out to a huge lead in early voting is pretty clearly better than falling way behind in early voting. Nevada polling has traditionally been iffy, since the state has an unusually transient population, and Democrats in particular have been underestimated here before. There’s a strong party organization in the state thanks to Harry Reid, and Latino turnout (which is a big factor in Nevada) appears to be strong throughout the country.