By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – With half of Nevada’s active voters having already cast their ballots, President Obama is holding on to his lead over Republican rival Mitt Romney with just a day left in the early voting period.
Secretary of State Ross Miller announced that as of 11:15 Friday morning, Nov. 2, 628,000 of Nevada’s 1.2 million voters have cast their votes.
Including those who have sent back their absentee ballots, that’s more than 50 percent of the electorate, Miller said.
Democrats are leading by 41,000 votes, with about 44 percent of the early vote while registered Republicans accounted for 36 percent of the vote, the secretary of state said.
However, Republicans are ahead by four percentage points in the absentee ballots, although the exact numbers were not disclosed.
In Reno, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan told several hundred people that Nevada is “crucial.”
“A handful of states are going to determine this thing,” Ryan said at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
According to ABC News, Ryan then told the crowd to talk to those in their lives who may have helped Barack Obama defeat John McCain here four years ago. It’s a theme he’s struck at many campaign stops.
“In a state where you have unemployment above 11 percent, [hope and change is] not working,” he said.
Ryan is headed to Las Vegas next, where he will greet volunteers at a campaign office.
President Obama was also in Las Vegas Thursday, holding a rally in front of 4,500 people on his first day back on the campaign trail after taking a break from politics to deal with the devastation of superstorm Sandy.
Polls in Nevada are tight with most giving the president a small advantage. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from Oct. 24 has Obama up by three points with 50 percent support to Romney’s 47 percent. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll from Thursday still has the two candidates tied with the president at 48.56 percent support and Romney at 48.49 percent.
But in the poll that most count – the actual vote – Obama holds a clearer advantage and it would take an Election Day surge for Romney to catch up, most political observers say.
Complete results of the early vote, conducted from Oct. 20 to Nov. 2 – are expected to be known my mid-morning Saturday.
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