In the 2006 midterm cycle, Republicans in Nevada had a 66.7% turnout rate, whereas Democrats in Nevada had a 48.3% turnout rate. With about the same number of registered voters for each party in 2006, this difference in turnout resulted with the Republican Senatorial candidate, which was Jim Ensign, winning with a 12% margin (55% to 43%). As of October 2010, there are 102,000 more Democrats than Republicans who are registered to vote in Nevada, according to the Nevada Sec. of State. Despite this addition of new Democratic voters, if the turnout rate of registered voters is the same in 2010 as it was in 2006, then Republican candidate Sharron Angle would have a 6% margin or about 39,000 more votes than Democratic candidate Harry Reid.
The wildcard, however, is the voters registered as Independents, which is currently over 220,000 voters in Nevada. In Harry Reid’s last election in 2004, he received 494,805 votes, yet there were only 429,808 registered Democrats in Nevada. This means Harry Reid received at least 65,000 votes from registered Independents and probably even more than this since it is not likely that 100% of registered Democrats actually voted for him. There were 161,620 registered Independents in 2004, so if Harry Reid received at least 65,000 votes from Independents, he received at least 40% of the registered Independents. Therefore, if the same percentage of Independents who previously voted for Harry Reid also vote for him in 2010 and we also assume the 2006 turnout rate of registered voters is the same in 2010, then Harry Reid becomes the favorite over Sharron Angle.
Even though the wildcard favors Reid, if Angle can get more than 40% of the registered Independents, then she could still pull a victory, albeit a slim one. With the election around the bend, the get out the vote effort is certainly a focus for each candidate’s campaign.