Some facts and analysis of the 2022 Nevada vote

The Nevada Wins Political Action Committee (PAC) conducted some analysis of the results of the 2022 Nevada election and came up with some insights, which are summarized below. (Full disclosure: I am President of the PAC.)

At the state level, a notable fact is that independents, bipartisan and small party members (here “Others”) are now clearly the largest faction in Nevada politics, as well as at the national level. Others make up 37.6 percent of Nevada’s 1,871,924 registered voters, with Democrats (Ds) accounting for 32.5 percent and Republicans (Rs) accounting for 29.9 percent. Nationally and here the others have been gaining for some time as Ds and Rs hold declining shares of registered voters.

According to the latest Gallup poll, Others have risen to 41 percent of registration nationwide, while Ds and Rs have both fallen to 28 percent. The Others rank the closest to the Rs nationwide, giving them a 45 to 44 percent lead when voters are asked to choose a party. For over 30 years, Ds had a slight advantage on the lean. It seems that the Others have become somewhat alienated from both parties and politics in general.

While others have risen in registration, their participation in the 2022 Nevada election was a different story. They stayed at home, which also indicates alienation. Statewide, Rs represented 72.9 percent of their registrants, Ds got 60.6 percent, and Others lagged badly at 41.3 percent. Hence, Rs led the total nationwide turnout of 1,067,469 voters at 38.2 percent, with Ds receiving 34.5 percent and others just 27.2 percent.

As Ds split the six state constitutional offices with the Rs and won the US Senate seat, it appears that Nevada Others leaned more towards the Ds last year, offsetting the Rs vs. Ds actual turnout margins. Ds won three out of four congressional elections and majorities in both state legislatures. However, the aggregate vote counts in these results are mixed, leading to the conclusion that D majorities were secured by gerrymandering as they held control of the district draw after the 2020 census. Because the overall statewide votes were roughly equal, the seven statewide partisan races are best explained by the relative strength of each candidate.

With low registration and turnout numbers, Clark County punches under its weight, but at about 72 percent of Nevada’s population, it still overwhelms the rest of the state. It accounted for 71.1 percent of state voter registrations and 63.6 percent of state turnout, while accounting for just 51.1 percent of its registrants. That compares to 83.7 percent turnout in the 15 rural counties and 62.6 percent in Washoe County. Clark’s R registration is weak, his D rolls are hard, and his Others total is normal for the state. However, in 2022, Clark Rs had a turnout of 67.3% of their voters, while Ds garnered only 56.5% and Others a paltry 35.2%. This salient fact brought the national election to a close.

Washoe County is returning to red but still has a relatively even enrollment with Others at 35.2 percent, Rs at 33.1 percent and Ds at 31.7 percent. Again, however, turnout was another matter, with Rs accounting for 39.3 per cent of the county’s total turnout, Ds 35.3 per cent and others just 25.3 per cent. With Washoe’s overall turnout only 28.5 percent of Clark’s, the fight will still be decided primarily in the South.

Rural residents are few but well above their weight, accounting for 18.2 percent of state voters with only 12.4 percent of registrants. Of rural voters, registration was 48 percent R, and they made up 51.1 percent of those counties’ voters. Rural Rs represented 89 percent of their rural registrants, Ds 84.6 percent of them, and Others 75.7 percent of them!

Finally, a notable finding is that there is no indication in the numbers of a significant advantage in winning D ballots. Clark Counties and Washoe Counties each had higher percentages of their votes cast in the election than the statewide average for both parties and the other.

Ron Knecht is a Senior Policy Fellow at the Nevada Policy Research Institute.