Just like every four years, this 2016 the latest Nevada polls are bringing the sparsely populated, desert state to the forefront of early voting and last minute campaigning.
On Saturday night, Donald Trump gave a rally in Reno, while Rudy Giuliani drummed up support for him in the small mining town of Elko. Hillary Clinton was in Nevada at a Wednesday event in Las Vegas, but — if early voting is any indication — her last dash efforts for a 2016 victory might be best spent elsewhere.
That’s not to say that Clinton is beating Trump in all of the Nevada polls. In fact, it’s the opposite. Of the four major surveys released in the week before the election, she is only ahead in one. Both the CNN/ORC and Republican-back Remington Research polls predict that she will lose out by six and four percentage points, respectively. Each of these leads is outside of the questionnaire’s margin of error, and both have significant sample sizes.
On the other hand, the candidates are tied in an 8 News Now poll, the most recent one taken into account here. Clinton only leads in Nevada in the oldest and smallest survey of the bunch, from Emerson College, where Trump trails her by two percentage points. That particular face-off has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.
Despite those polls, local political analysts say that Trump is wasting his time trying to turn Nevada red. One such pundit, Jon Ralston of Reno Gazette-Journal, likened him to Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense — “he does not realize he is dead.” That pronouncement might seem perplexing given the poll data, but Nevada, with one of the country’s largest proportions of Hispanic voters, has a habit of leaning much further left than pre-election data suggests.
Especially bad for Trump, early voting Democrats have cast around 70,000 more ballots than Republicans. The total number of votes, 770,000, now accounts for about two-thirds of Nevada’s likely voters. Unless Hillary faces a mass exodus of Democrats voting either for Trump or a third-party candidate, it’s almost impossible that she’ll lose the state, wrote Ralston on KTNV.
“Trump would need to be holding 90 percent of the GOP base and Clinton would have to be losing 15 to 20 percent of hers and he would have to be winning indies for him to be competitive. Let me be clear: None of those things are likely.”
National analysts are also in line with this interpretation of the Nevada polls. Early voting, as Five Thirty Eight notes, is a much more accurate prediction of the final tally in the Silver State than elsewhere. Nevadans early vote in droves.
Plan ahead to get to the polls. Not sure where to start? Let us help you.???? Get started by texting PLAN to 47246! pic.twitter.com/YvYOj0lVjb
— Hillary for Nevada (@HillaryforNV) October 30, 2016
Furthermore, Nevada’s other Republicans on the ticket this election are also unlikely to fare well. Taking over former Senate minority leader Harry Reid’s seat, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is looking more and more like a sure bet against Republican Joe Heck. Also in her favor, she’s gotten significant national attention, including a full endorsement from the New York Times editorial board. She would be the U.S.’s first Latina senator.
“The seat has belonged for 30 years to Harry Reid, the current minority leader, who is not seeking re-election. A Republican victory would thus be not only a loss for the Democrats but a personal embarrassment for a venerable power broker. It would also be a triumph for the Koch brothers, who say they’re seeking poetic justice after years of being denounced by Mr. Reid for their conservative politics, and are spending lots of money to make that happen.”
— SurveyMonkey (@SurveyMonkey) November 1, 2016
Offering up just six electoral votes, Nevada is usually unlikely to have a decisive voice in who will be the next president of the United States, but in such a volatile race, anything is possible. Nationally, Clinton is currently holding a slight lead in most comparisons, but she could be unseated if Trump manages to pick up all of the swing states, as well as a few where her lead is less than commanding. Of these battlegrounds, Florida polls are currently the most closely watched as the state holds 29 electoral votes.
In the national popular vote, the race appears to be closer than ever. The largest poll — with a massive sample size of 5,360 — shows a 50-50 dead heat. The next largest poll, from LA Times, shows a four percentage point Trump victory, though this is within the 4.5 percentage point margin of error. On average in the seven polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, Clinton was ahead by 1.6 percentage points.
Based on the latest Nevada polls and early voting, who do you think will emerge victorious in the state’s 2016 election?
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]