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CAUCUS MEMO: Democratic Presidential Race Shifts to Nevada

To: Interested Parties
From: Zach Zaragoza, Executive Director, Nevada State Democratic Party
Subject: CAUCUS MEMO: Democratic Presidential Race Shifts to Nevada
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

With Iowa and New Hampshire behind us, Nevada’s First in the West presidential caucus is on deck. Just 10 days away, the race now shifts to the West, with a focus on Nevada’s diverse electorate including a growing Latino, Asian and African American population. Here’s a primer on what to expect on Saturday, February 20:

Diverse Electorate

According to 2014 census data, roughly half of Nevada’s population is non-white:

  • 27.8% Latino
  • 9.1% African American
  • 8.3 % Asian American
  • 0.7% Hawaiian and Pacific Islander
  • 1.6% American Indian and Alaska Native
  •  4.0% Two or more races
  • 51.5% White alone

Here’s the demographic breakdown from 2008 caucus exit polls, the last time Nevada had a competitive Democratic caucus as an early state:

  • 15% Latino
  • 15% African American
  • 3% Asian American
  • 65% White

And here’s the demographic breakdown from the 2012 general election exit polls:

  • 19% Latino
  • 9% African American
  • 5% Asian American
  • 64% White


Population Breakdown

  • Clark County: Of the estimated 2.8 million people who call Nevada home, nearly 2.1 million live in Clark County (Las Vegas) in Southern Nevada. That adds up to a whopping 73 percent of the state’s population.
  • Washoe County: Another estimated 440,000 people live in Washoe County (Reno) – the main population center in Northern Nevada. That’s nearly 16 percent of the state’s population.
  • Rural Counties: Nevada is the seventh largest state in the country, and the remaining 330,000 people live in Nevada’s more rural counties. Nevada’s 15 rural counties account for about 11 percent of the state’s population.
  • Labor: Nevada is the only early state with a strong organized labor presence. In 2014, union members accounted for 14.4 percent of wage and salary workers in Nevada – about 169,000 workers.
  • Veterans: 227,000 veterans call Nevada home – about 8 percent of the state’s population.
  • Growth: From 2000 to 2010, Nevada was the number one fastest growing state in the entire country in terms of population.


Swing State Status

Nevada is poised to be a key battleground at the presidential level and down the ticket. Our caucuses are an important organizing tool to mobilize our volunteers early in the election cycle, so we get a head start on winning Nevada for the Democratic presidential nominee, electing Catherine Cortez Masto to the U.S. Senate, electing more Democrats to Congress, and taking back our Democratic majorities in state Senate and Assembly.

  • 2008: Barack Obama beat John McCain by 12.4 percent (55.1% – 42.7%)
  • 2012: Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by 6.6 percent (52.3% – 45.7%)


Registered Democrats by County

These numbers are based on active registered Nevada voters as of January 2016, according the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office.

County Active Registered Democrats
Carson City 6,466
Churchill 2,497
Clark 350,534
Douglas 5,667
Elko 3,668
Esmeralda 115
Eureka 102
Humboldt 1,430
Lander 504
Lincoln 664
Lyon 7,634
Mineral 1,055
Nye 7,025
Pershing 607
Storey 679
Washoe 81,350
White Pine 1,345
TOTAL 471,342


Be sure to follow @nvdems and #NVDemsCaucus to stay tuned in to what’s happening here in Nevada. Check out our website at nvdems.com for additional information.