10/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Battle For The West: NV Feeling Blue

Nevada Feeling Blue?

Sen. John McCain has held slim, within-the-margin-of-error edges in Nevada polls since the GOP convention. But Jon Ralston writes today in the Las Vegas Sun that "despite the history and some of the intangibles... [Nevada] is starting to lean to Obama, if ever so slightly." Ignoring the (statistically meaningless) polls, the numbers game favors Sen. Barack Obama. Ralston notes the voter registration trends: George W. Bush bested John Kerry by 21,000 votes in 2004 when Republicans held a 5,000 voter advantage in registrations, but today Democrats command a 76,000 lead in registered voters; Clark County Democrats have more than doubled their registration edge since 2004, leading Republicans by 100,000; and Republicans in the media's new favorite swing county in a swing state, Washoe County, have seen their 17,000-person advantage dwindle to 3,000. Turning out Latino voters and winning over conservative Democrats could still pose a problem, as could making inroads in rural communities.Ralston asks if Obama's continued effort to reach the seemingly unreachable is smart politicking or a "fool's errand," using Obama recent visit to rural Elko, Nevada, as a case in point. "Elko is 2-to-1 for the GOP in registration, and Bush beat Kerry 4-to-1. So if Obama can make it there -- that is, cut his losses to 2-to-1 -- he can make it anywhere."

But don't count out McCain just yet. "If Barack Obama rented a house and lived there from now until Election Day, he wouldn't move that county by five points," Pete Ernaut, a Republican consultant who grew up in Elko, told the Las Vegas Sun. New volunteers shot up from a few hundred to more than a thousand a week following Gov. Sarah Palin landing the VP slot on the Republican ticket and her recent stops in the state, Rick Gorka, the McCain campaign's regional communications director, told Bloomberg News. And as for the Republicans' disadvantage with statewide voter registration, Sue Lowden, chairwoman of the Nevada Republican Party isn't worried, telling Bloomberg, "We have a huge number of Democrats who are part of our `Democrats for McCain,' so the numbers this time around as far as registration do not mean as much to us."

Read the rest of the Battle For The West Daily Digest here.