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Nevada in 2012 Elections

Who Will Win Nevada in 2012 Elections?

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Phillip Webb, left, helps his wife, Marian Webb, cast her vote at Truckee Meadows Fire Station November 6, 2012 in Sparks, Nevada.
Max Whittaker/Getty Images News/Getty Images
This article presents a snapshot of voters, issues and trends in battleground state Nevada that will influence who and what wins and loses in the 2012 elections.

See 2012 Battleground States for brief analyses of a dozen key states in the 2012 elections, and predictions as to who could win those states.

How Nevada Votes: Red State or Blue State?

Barack Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate elected by Nevada since Bill Clinton in 1996. In 2008, Obama drew unusually strong support with:

  • 59% of ballots cast by Nevada women
  • 62% of ballots cast by Nevada voters under age 44
  • 76% of ballots cast by Hispanic voters in Nevada
  • 60% of ballots cast by Nevada voters who cited the ECONOMY as their top concern
In the last four presidential elections, Nevada voted as follows:
  • 2008 - 55% for Democrat Obama, 43% for Republican McCain
  • 2004 - 51% for Republican Bush, 48% for Democrat Kerry
  • 2000 - 50% for Republican Bush, 46% for Democrat Gore
  • 1996 - 44% for Democrat Clinton, 43% for Republican Gore, 13% for Other
In 2011, the Silver State's governor and lieutenant governor, Brian Sandoval and Brian Krolicki, are both Republicans. Nevada boasts one Democratic U.S. senator, Harry Reid, and one Republican U.S. senator, Dean Heller. Of the state's three U.S. House members, two are Republican and one is a Democrat.

A Senate member since 1987, Sen. Harry Reid was reelected to a fifth term in 2010, and has served as Senate Majority Leader since 2007. (For more, see Profile of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate Majority Leader.) Republican Dean Heller was appointed to the U.S. Senate by the Republican governor, to replace Sen. John Ensign, who resigned amidst a messy sex scandal.

Summary of Top Issues in Nevada

Nevada is experiencing both the highest unemployment rate( 12.4%) and home foreclosure rate (1 in 114 homes) of any state in the nation. As a result, jobs creation, falling real estate values, and foreclosure relief are top issues in this financially beleaguered state.

Reform of U.S. immigration laws is another top issue in the state as 26.5% of Nevada residents are of Hispanic origin, the nation's 5th highest state Hispanic population percentage, trailing only New Mexico, Texas, California and Arizona.

Although Republican leaders oppose humanitarian immigration reforms and many push for an armed U.S.-Mexico border, the nation's Hispanic population is also deeply disappointed by President Obama's failure to actively support or enact reform of immigration laws.

In 2009, 509,000 Nevadans, 22% of the state population, had no health insurance coverage, including 32% of Hispanic residents in the Silver State.

All Republican presidential candidates vow to repeal President Obama's health care reform legislation program to provide health insurance to presently uninsured Americans.

See Republican Gloom in Nevada Over Presidential Field for more about Nevadans and the 2012 presidential race.

Nevada Economic Facts and Voter Demographics

Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - 12.4%, the nation's highest state unemployment rate by a painfully large margin.

Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - 1 in 114 homes, the nation's highest state foreclosure rate for homes, and much higher than the next closest foreclosure rates in Arizona and California.

State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - 11.3%, which is ranked #33 among states.

Labor Union Membership - In Nevada, 217,000, 18.2% % of all employed workers, belong to an organized labor union.

Hispanic Population - 26.5% of Nevada residents are of Hispanic origin, the nation's 5th highest state Hispanic population percentage, trailing four other western states.

Senior Citizen Population - 12.0% of Nevada's total population, which ranks #44 in the nation.

Women as a Percentage of Nevada's Population - 49.5%, which is 47th in the nation.

African-American Population - 8% of Nevada's resident population if African-American, ranking 23rd among states.

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