NEVADA
6 Electoral Votes 
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Obama  |  Romney  ||  Visits 

Battleground
Both campaigns had full ground operations, there was a steady trickle of visits, and lots of ads.  According to the Smart Media Group the Obama and Romney campaigns and their allies spent a total of $60 million on the ad war in Nevada, placing it number seven among the states.  Nevada only has two media markets and the ad rates are relatively cheap so viewers were bombarded with ads.  The Wesleyan Media Project (>) reported that the Las Vegas media market was the number two media market by volume of presidential ads in the period from October 1-29, trailing only Denver.  Nevada's other market, Reno, was number 15 (Oct. 1-21) and number 12 (Oct. 22-29).  In addition to presidential ads, Nevada viewers also had to endure ads from the hotly contest U.S. Senate race between Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Shelley Berkley.  Many of the ads were run by outside groups.  Las Vegas resident Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, was one of the largest contributors to the effort to defeat Obama (>).

In terms of visits, in addition to the standard campaign and fundraising appearances, President Obama spent three days in Henderson for debate prep. prior to the first debate, including a break for a tour of Hoover Dam.  National conferences and conventions also drew the candidates:

-National Council of La Raza Annual Conference in Las Vegas  - July 10 Biden
-113th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. in Reno - July 23 Obama, July 24 Romney
-Disabled American Veterans' National Convention in Las Vegas - Aug. 4 Biden
-National Guard Association Convention in Reno - Sept. 11 Romney

The Down Economy
Throughout 2012, Nevada had the highest unemployment rate of any state (it was 11.5% in October and 10.8% in November).  In 2012 the state also had the second highest rates of home foreclosures in the country after Florida (Nevada had the highest rate for the preceding five years). 

RealtyTrac produced a Swing State Housing Scorecard (+) looking at five factors: average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percent of distressed sales.  They concluded:

Nevada is better off compared to four years ago based on three of the metrics — decrease in foreclosure inventory, decrease in foreclosure starts and a decrease in foreclosure sales — while the other two metrics paint the picture of a housing market that is worse off than four years ago (average sales price are down 33 percent and unemployment is up 51 percent).

Could the Libertarian Tip the Balance?
Nevada was one of the states where the Johnson campaign said it could potentially tip the balance.  For example, an Oct. 1, 2012 open letter from the campaign arguing for inclusion in the presidential debates stated:

"Libertarian Presidential Candidate Governor Gary Johnson’s votes in one or more of the key Tipping Point States – New Hampshire(4), Virginia(13), North Carolina(15), Florida(29), Ohio(18), Iowa(6), Nevada(6), and Colorado(9) – could shift as many as 100 Electoral Votes this November 6th …and could determine the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election."

The 2012 Libertarian Convention was held May 4-6, 2012 at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.  In the fall campaign, the Johnson ticket spent a fair bit of time stumping in the state (Johnson made four visits and Gray two).  However, while they fared substantially better than recent Libertarian presidential candidates in Nevada, they only managed 1.08 percent of the vote.


Newspaper Endorsements (Sample)
OBAMA
ROMNEY
Las Vegas Sun (Oct. 21-list; Oct. 26, 2012-text) 1, 2 Las Vegas Review-Journal (Oct. 7, 2012)   220,619 (28) +
*Reno Gazette-Journal (Oct. 20, 2012) +
                           *switched from Obama.


D E M O G R A P H I C S
Nevada's population of 2,758,931 (U.S. Census Bureau, July 1, 2012 est. +) includes substantial numbers of Hispanics, veterans and Mormons.  Most of the population is concentrated in the Las Vegas and Reno areas:

• 27.1% of the state's population is of Hispanic origin (737,221 of 2,723,322)
 ...U.S. Census Bureau, July 1, 2011 est. (+). 

• 228,393 veterans living in Nevada. 
 ...U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs est. as of Sept. 30, 2012 (+).


• 176,307 adherents to the Mormon Church. 
...LDS Church as of Dec. 31, 2011 (+).

• Of 1,257,621 active registered voters 851,803 (67.7%) are in Clark County and 241,459 (19.2%) are in Washoe County. 
...NV Secretary of State as of Oct. 2012.