President Obama won Nevada by a huge 12.5 points in 2008. You can be certain that this year will be much closer. Both candidates are hoping that they can pick up a crucial 6 swing electoral votes. The state has trended democratic recently, but Romney is closing the gap. And because of the state’s late returns, in a close election, Nevada could be the state that puts one candidate over the top.
Obama has the slim lead in early returns, with 34,500 more Democrats voting than Republicans, but Obama had hoped to build a more substantial advantage. He must turn out the Latino vote in a state that is 25% Latino. Unfortunately for him, this group only represents 15% of all registered voters. Romney is hoping that his economic message will be enough to sway some of the minority vote and swing the swing state to his column.
There are also four seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs, a close Senate contest, and one constitutional amendment (albeit a procedural one). In the Senate Race, incumbent Republican Dean Heller held a 50-45 advantage over Congresswoman Shelley Berkley. His lead is considered significant, but not safe. The 1st district will stay blue, while the 2nd is safely Republican. However, the third district offers a little bit of intrigue. Republican incumbent Joe Heck is up 50-40 on John Oceguera in the latest poll by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but he is still not considered safe. The newly created fourth district has more registered Democrats for candidate Steven Horsford, but Republican Danny Tarkanian holds the lead in early voters. This race could go down to the wire. *All updates are in Eastern Time.
PolicyMic will be covering the 2012 election from the state of Nevada live. For live updates, bookmark and refresh this page.
UPDATE: 1:58 This Obama victory speech is striking the right tone between optimism and recognition of the struggle ahead.
UPDATE 1:50 There are still three Senate races that have yet to be called: Montana, North Dakota, and Nevada.
UPDATE 1:42 NBC and CNN have Joe Heck winning the 2nd District.
UPDATE 1:15 CNN has just projected that Democrat Steven Horsford will win the newly created 4th District. He is leading 51-42% With 60% Of precincts reporting.
UPDATE 1:03 Heller and Berkley are still running neck-and-neck. But Berkley seems to be in some trouble, as she is losing key battleground Washoe County, according to CNN. It is still a close race, but the map may make it hard for her to come back.
UPDATE 12:50 Candy Crowley from CNN says that Obama and Romney have spoken and Romney will concede shortly.
UPDATE 12:42 CNN now has Obama with 303 electoral votes. Mitt Romney, you have to concede at some point.
UPDATE 12:24 Heller and Berkley are in a horse race for Nevada's senate seat with 72% of precincts reporting. What should help Berkley is that only 13% of Clark County, a reliably Democratic county, has been counted thus far.
UPDATE 12:06 Earlier today, Romney said that he wrote a victory speech, but not a concesssion. No wonder he still hasn't conceded, he has to figure out what to say.
UPDATE 11:58 Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley is making up ground.
UPDATE 11:52 Republican incumbent Mark Amodei retains the Nevada 2nd. Not enough to make any calls on the Nevad 3rd or 4th.
UPDATE 11:50 CNN has also projected that Nevada will go for Obama, increasing his impressive electoral win.
UPDATE 11:48 CNN has projected the Nevada 1st will stay with the Democrats, although in the new hands of Dina Titus.
UPDATE 11:31 After all the media attention, it really was Ohio that decided this election.
UPDATE 11:26 Nate Silver must be pretty proud of himself right now.
UPDATE 11:21 Barack Obama has won in his reelection campaign. And it isn't even midnight.
UPDATE 11:14 We finally have some numbers from Nevada. They still are very early returns, but in the Nevada Senate race, Senator heller has a clear advantage.
UPDATE 11:08 If nothing else, the Democrats retained control of the Senate tonight, as reported by CNN. They also have Obama winning Iowa.
UPDATE 11:04 As expected, CNN projects California, Washington, and Hawaii in Obama's column for a total of 71 electoral votes. Romney grabs North Carolina's 15. CNN now has the race at Obama 238, Romney 191.
UPDATE 10:57 In less than five minutes, Obama will recieve a huge influx of electoral votes with the polls closing in California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, along with Idaho and North Dakota.
UPDATE 10:51 CNN calls Arizona for Romney and Minnesota for Obama. So Romney adds to his lead, taking it to 169-157.
UPDATE 10:48 Still no new numbers for Nevada. However, tonight is looking good for Democrats in the Senate. The Democrats have won 15 seats, had two agreeable independents win, and still have several winnable races. They have control of 45 seats to the Republican 42.
UPDATE 10:26 I must have missed this projection.
UPDATE 10:09 Let's take another quick look at the CNN map, which has Romney at 158 and Obama at 147
UPDATE 10:04 CNN and NBC both have Obama winning New Hampshire, a state without a large number of electoral votes, but an important one, nonetheless. It also means that Obama won the entire Northeast.
UPDATE 10:02 Their Nevada exit polls also have Obama with a 51-45 advantage.
UPDATE 10:00 CNN exit polls say that Latinos represented 18% of the electorate today in Nevada. That should help Obama.
UPDATE 9:55 The polls may close in Nevada in under five minutes. But don't expect to know the results for some time.
UPDATE 9:50 NBC has big senate pickups for the Democrats in Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Joe Donnelly (IN). So far, the returns favor the Republicans in Virginia, where George Allen is doing well.
UPDATE 9:39 NBC has called Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for Obama, giving him a huge 30 electoral votes. Romney had high hopes for both states.
UPDATE 9:31 Less than a half hour before polls close in Nevada. With this Presidential campaign still too close to call, ever vote counts.
UPDATE 9:15 CNN's exit polls show an interesting dynamic. While more voters identify as Democrats, more voters also declare themselves to be conservative.
UPDATE 9:08 CNN says that Boehner's job as Speaker is safe.
UPDATE 9:03 And as those polls closed, Mitt Romney picked up Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Texas, Louisian, and Mississippi. Obama might be the bigger winner, however, as he grabbed New York, New Jersey, and the slightly less solid Michigan. CNN has Romney leading at 152 to 123.
UPDATE 8:59 Polls will close in swing states Colorado and Wisconsin in under a minute.
UPDATE 8:46 The current CNN map
UPDATE 8:36 Arkansas and Oklahoma have been called by NBC for Romney, pushing his electoral lead to 73-64. However, early poll results are not as favorable to Romney as hoped in such important swing states as Florida and Ohio.
UPDATE 8:32 The AP has called the Senate races in Delaware, Florida, Maryland, and Rhode Island for the Democrats. Tennessee goes to the Republicans. And two independents, expected to caucus with the Democrats, win in Vermont and Maine.
UPDATE 8:24 Just a reminder that polls are still open in Nevada for another hour and a half. Still enough time to go out and vote.
UPDATE 8:17 Georgia and its 16 electoral votes to Obama. Still no big surprises this election.
UPDATE 8:03 Polls everywhere just closed as Obama just picked up a large number of electoral votes in the north: Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Romney gained Oklahoma. CNN has it at Obama - 64 Romney - 40.
UPDATE 7:41 CNN projects Mitt Romney will win South Carolina, despite Obama leading by over 2,800 votes. I don't doubt them, but why even put those early return numbers up if you're just going to ignore them?
UPDATE 7:34 Romney also picks up West Virginia.
UPDATE 7:26 CNN calls Indiana for Romney, who takes the early 19-3 lead.
UPDATE 7:15 Late shift in Nate Silver's projections:
UPDATE 7:01 AP reports that in exit polls, about 60% of voters say that the economy was the number one factor in voting. We'll see if that focus on a weak economy hurts Obama.
UPDATE 6:47 Reporter Peter Hamby just said on CNN that Romney's final internal poll had the Governor down 5 points in Ohio. If that result holds, Nevada would become a must-win for Romney.
UPDATE 6:20 Barack Obama can at least be ensured of one victory today. In what is now a campaign tradition, he played a game of basketball with some campaign staffers and friends. Obama also had a ringer in his corner in the form of Hall-of-Famer Scottie Pippen, who may have contributed to the easy win.
UPDATE 6:01 PM Concerned that no one one is considering the candidates' musical tastes? Look no further than this comparison of the official campaign playlists: http://www.onrecordmusic.com/the-presidential-music-debate/
UPDATE: 5:15 PM Senator Dean Heller offered an interesting bit of political analysis on his own campaign yesterday, saying “I clearly need the Obama voters to win.” It seems like an odd time to be admitting a need for crossover voters, particularly when Romney is still neck-and-neck in Nevada. While Heller does go on to say that he thinks Romney can still win, he isn't projecting confidence with that sound bite.
UPDATE: 10:08 AM Voting just started in Nevada, but the next twelve hours will not have nearly the same impact as the previous two weeks. In a state predicted to have around 1,000,000 voters, 700,000 have already submitted their ballots via early voting. So far, those early returns appear favorable to Obama.