Eight days of early/mail, voting in the books: Democratic lead in Clark at 44,000

We've settled into a pattern now in early voting in Clark County, with the Democrats gaining about 5,000 voters a day.

The total is now at a little more than 44,000 voters over the GOP, with six days remaining. Extrapolation gets the total to 70,000-plus by the end of early vorting, which is solid but not impenetrable, and also assumes the GOP doesn't do better in Week 2 or that the Democrats don't step it up even more.

The pattern in Clark has been the Democrats do better during the first week. In the wave election of 2008, the Democrats were remarkably consistent during the second week, gaining about 5,000 voters a day until the last day, when they gained 7,000. In 2010, as they were trying to save Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Democrats were almost caught by the GOP on a couple of days. In '08, they led by 83,000 votes after two weeks; in 2010, it was 23,000 votes.

The current Clark early/mail numbers:

Democrats -- 135,673, or 49 percent

Republican -- 91,224, or 33 percent

Others -- 49,560, or 18 percent

So the Democrats are coming out at 3 points above their registration and the Republicans at about 2 points. If you want to know why registration leads matter, that margin tells you everything. The Republicans clearly have put more effort into early voting this cycle, but will that increase their overall turnout edge?

Overall Clark turnout in now almost a third of registered voters. If turnout is 80 percent (as it was four years ago), that means 40 percent of the vote is in.

In Washoe, the Democrats won  a small victory in Washoe on Saturday (by about 160 votes out of 7,200 cast). The Democrats now lead there by about 1,200 votes (absentees have not been updated, but the GOP is ahead by a few hundred votes). The Democrats don't need to win Washoe for the president to take Nevada. But if it's close to a dead heat or they lose by a few points, the Clark County firewall should offset the rural help for Mitt Romney.