The Washington Post has a big story, datelined Las Vegas, about how Democrats are banking on early voters to give embattled candidates like Harry Reid the boost they need to beat challengers like Sharron Angle. The article details all the steps Nevada Democrats are taking to get people to the polls weeks before Election Day, and paints an optimistic picture for the majority leader, complete with a poster of him pinned up on the wall of a salon. "Democrats across the country know they face a daunting enthusiasm gap that veteran politicians such as Reid can't possibly overcome," the article explains. "What they can do is try to outperform their Republican opponents by taking advantage of the longer window to get folks to the polls."
Right now, though, it looks like that theory might be another case of Democrats gamely hoping that things are better than they really are — in Nevada, the Republicans are voting early and often. The numbers from the first three days of early voting there do not look good for Reid. In Washoe County, where Reno is located, Republicans have out-early-voted Democrats by seven points, a complete turnaround from the 2008 elections, when they lost the early ones by a margin of twelve points. In Clark County, home of Las Vegas, Democrats have a seven-point lead, a fifteen-point drop from two years ago. (Put it this way: In 2008, Obama won the state by thirteen points.)