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GOP Blowing Smoke on Early Numbers in Nevada…but It Ain’t Over

“After 4 days of early vote in Nevada,” maintains the Republican National Committee’s communications shop at GOP.com, “Republicans have made significant gains over 2008 performance, cutting into the Democrat’s traditional early vote advantage.”

That’s pure spin. As Jon Ralston put it in a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon:

“GOP message on early/mail balloting in NV: We are destroying the Democrats by losing by much less than we did in ’08. … I honestly don’t understand GOP spin here: Obama won NV by 12 in ’08. It was a landslide in a wave election; McCain abandoned NV…. Of course, GOP is doing much better in ’12. It’s like a football team that went 0-16 starting off 2-6. We suck, but we don’t suck as bad!”

The raw fact is this: Almost 20,000 more Democrats had voted statewide than Republicans after 4 days of early voting. It’s ominous. But it’s not hopeless. Consider this VERY basic scenario…

According to the Secretary of State’s statewide numbers of ballots cast in early/absentee balloting combined, 99,415 Democrats had voted; 79,697 Republicans had voted and 35,497 “others” had voted.

Now let’s assume 90 percent of the Democrats are voting for Obama, 8% for Romney and 2% for “other” (a third party candidate or none-of-the-above).

And let’s say 90 percent of Republicans are voting for Romney, 6% for Obama and 4% for “other.”

And let’s further assume that 55% of the “other” voters are voting for Romney, 40% are voting for Obama and 5% for “other.”

These are not unreasonable assumptions. So let’s do the math.

That would mean Obama has 104,144 votes and Romney has 99,203 votes.

That’s close. Especially considering Republicans traditionally do better on Election Day itself than Democrats – *if* there are any voters left who haven’t voted by Election Day this year!

Of course, the number assumptions outlined above could also be off. Maybe only 88% of Democrats are voting for Obama. Maybe Romney’s getting 60% of the “other” vote. Maybe the early surge of early votes for the D’s will taper off and the R’s will catch up. There are all kinds of possibilities and unknowns at this point.

But the bottom line is this: Republicans aren’t in an ideal position. On the other hand, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over and the fat lady isn’t even clearing her throat yet.