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August 22, 2014

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A sense of the census: Clark, Hispanics keys to 2012

I’ve already told you about the lawsuit filed to coincide with the release of Nevada’s census numbers today – you can see the data yourself at 2010.census.gov/2010census/data.

Some of the numbers to remember are these:

----Clark County now is up to 72.3 percent of the state’s population while the rurals are down to 12.1 percent. No one ever thinks of it but Nevada (87.9 percent) is an amazingly urban state. What does that mean politically? The South should rule (but that’s always true) and if the Democrats turn out their voters in the urban areas, they will always do well in statewide races, unless a candidate has too many flaws.

----If the Legislature doesn’t expand, Clark gets one more Senate seat (enjoy it while you can, Greg Brower) and two Assembly seats from the rurals (Eureka! It’s about time.)

UPDATE: Some of the expert number-crunchers with the Legislative Counsel Bureau have corrected me, saying one of those seats is technically only partly Clark. The info, courtesy of the inestimable LCB boss Lorne Malkiewich:

Last decade....we had 68.85 percent of the population in Clark County, which (multiplied by 42) statistically generates 28.917 seats – almost exactly 29, and that’s how many we created. The Senate was tougher, with that same percentage generating 14.4585 seats. That became 14 seats (thanks, Bill – just rounding down because it was less than half a seat). The new number, 72.25 percent, generates 30.345 Assembly seats – one additional one, and a third of another or so. If you want to call that third of a seat another Clark seat you can say they pick up two, but I think it is more accurate to say the Assembly will go from 29 to 30 seats in Clark County and Clark County will have part of another seat. If you want to talk about the increase in the ideal number, going from 28.917 to 30.345 is an increase of 1.428 – about 1 1/2 seats. With the Senate going to an ideal of 15.1725 seats in Clark County the county will clearly pick up one seat, and a small portion of another one – the increase in the ideal being .714, or about 3/4 of a seat. Due to the “rounding down” last time, that 3/4 takes you easily up a seat.

----Rep. Joe Heck has more than a million constituents. He has to lose more than a third of them, and that will determine a lot of dynamics. Think about his situation: he barely won in an off year in a relatively close district and now he will be up in a presidential year. Now you see what’s at stake as his district is redrawn – hard to see how he could be helped, unless the Republicans solidify him and give away CD4, and even that might be impossible to do based on the numbers. At the very least, it looks like three Clark County-dominant districts.

----As Hispanics go, so goes 2012 in Nevada.  The Hispanic share of the state’s population increased nearly to 26.5 percent up from 19.7 percent in 2000. Overall, Hispanic population increased by 82 percent. Hispanics were critical in 2008 (Barack Obama) and 2010 (Harry Reid). The crux of the GOP problem right here in Nevada.

----Which is the minority party? Here’s how one insider put it: “Look at it in the context of a Republican party that is being driven far right by the tea party activists, the Republicans are likely to have trouble in Nevada -- the math becomes increasingly difficult -- particularly in a presidential year when the turnout disparity is less.  Overall, 46 percent of Nevadans are from minority groups. 52 percent of Clark is minority. Washoe is 34 percent minority.”

Hello, GOP, are you listening?

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