NEVADA 6 Electoral Votes 
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Organization: Biden  |  Trump  ||  Visits  ||  Advertising.
Examples of activity by the campaigns, parties and allied groups: D, allies | R. 

Nevada Continues Democratic

The Democratic ticket has carried Nevada since 2008.  In 2018 Democrats enjoyed significant electoral successes (+).  The Feb. 22, 2020 caucuses were a key turning point in the Democratic primary campaign, representing the high point for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden's best showing to date, a second place finish (+).  Meanwhile Republicans, with the incumbent president seeking re-election, opted not to hold caucuses.  In the general election, less than nine months later, the Biden-Harris ticket won the state's six electoral votes with a plurality of 33,596 votes (2.39 percentage points), about the same margin as Clinton's win in 2016 (2.42 percentage points).  AP did not call Nevada until Nov. 6, after Pennsylvania had settled the race for Biden. 

A Sept. 9, 2020 report by WalletHub (>) found Nevada is the ninth most diverse state, ranking particularly high in birthplace diversity (1), cultural diversity (2) and racial and ethnic diversity (3).  The campaigns focused in particular on the Latino vote.  The Pew Research Center (>) reported on Jan. 31, 2020 that the Latino population in Nevada was 881,000 of 3,034,000 (29.0%) and that 19.7% of the eligible voter population (407,000 of 2,071,000) is Latino.  During Biden's vice presidential search, Sen. Cortez-Masto was mentioned as a possible candidate for the ticket, but she withdrew her name from consideration on May 28.  Since the 2018 mid-term elections, Nevada has had two women U.S. Senators, two of four members of the U.S. House are women, and it became the first state to have a female majority legislature.  In terms of partisanship, in Nov. 2020, Democrats held a registration edge of 4.80 percentage points (37.3% to 32.50%) down somewhat from 6.09 percentage points(39.44% to 33.37%) in Nov. 2016.

Despite the pandemic, Trump and surrogates managed a fairly steady stream of visits, including the large rallies favored by the president.  Authorities did push back in several instances (1, 2).  The Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas provided a stopping point for Trump on his western trips, and he overnighted there a number of times.  The Democratic candidates and surrogates made fewer visits, doing drive-in rallies and small socially distanced events.  Biden only visited once, on Oct. 9; Harris, from neighboring California, put in three visits, and her husband made a couple as well.  Data from AdImpact show that from May 1 to Nov. 3, Biden and allies outspent Trump and allies on advertising in Nevada by more than 3 to 1, $27.2 million to $8.1 million.

Republicans had a solid ground game.  According to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Republicans restarted in-person field operations on June 8.  On Oct. 17, the first day of early voting, the campaign announced it had made over three million voter contacts, and on Oct. 27 it marked one million doors knocked. 

A post-election memo from the Nevada State Democratic Party summarized, "Through robust voter education, a dogged field program, an expansive voter protection team, and a historic ballot cure program, NV Dems held majorities in both legislative houses, three of four congressional seats, and carried Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to victory."  Democrats had much more of a virtual emphasis through the summer.  However, according to the state party in the final four months of the campaign, Democrats recruited nearly 10,000 volunteers, knocked more than 600,000 doors, lit dropped nearly 50,000 doors, made more than 7.1 million calls, and sent more than 4 million text messages. 

Democrats' efforts were bolstered by the Culinary Union which ran "the largest political program ever in its history."  The program, which launched on August 1, had 500 workers canvassing in Las Vegas and Reno and reported knocking on 500,000 doors, reaching "half of the Black and Latinx voters in Nevada," talking to 130,000 voters, all while using "'contactless door-to-door canvassing' protocols to minimize risk."  In addition, the union's strategic communications program "included 1.9 million emails and texts, completely in-house polling, digital persuasion social media ads targeting Nevada voters, [and] 'Trump Lies' video ads with over 11.4 million views."

Jon Ralston, veteran Nevada political commentator and founder of The Nevada Independent, summarized the race thusly, " The Democrats always had an advantage here, and the Republicans knew that.  But towards the end, when Trump needed alternative paths, they looked for possible swing states and Nevada, because of Clinton's margin, was a natural." 

Nevada was one of six states where the Trump campaign and Republicans engaged in a significant post-election legal effort.  They laid the groundwork in the latter part of October, focusing on ballot processing in Clark Co.. 

A Tale of Two Elections: 2016 and 2020

  • Clark Co. accounted for 69.20% of votes cast in the presidential race (compared to 68.17% in 2016).  Trump improved on his 2016 margin.
  • Washoe Co accounted for 17.94% of votes cast in the presidential race (compared to 18.02% in 2016).  Biden improved on the 2016 Democratic margin.
  • The rest of the state (15 counties) accounted for 12.86% of votes cast in the presidential race (compared to 13.81% in 2016).  Trump improved on his 2016 margin.









Rest of the


Statewide 539,260

1,405,376 33,596


See also:
Akela Lacy and Ryan Grim.  "Entire Staff of Nevada Democratic Party Quits After Democratic Socialist Slate Won Every Seat."  The Intercept, Mar. 8, 2021.

Savannna Strott and Tabitha Mueller.  "Polls show how Latino voters helped drive Biden win in Nevada, though Trump gained ground since 2016."  The Nevada Independent, Nov. 16, 2020.

Jennifer Solis.  "Nevada Latinos overwhelmingly went for Biden, but Trump made gains."  Nevada Current,  Nov. 9, 2020.

Brian Slodysko.  "EXPLAINER: Why AP called Nevada for Biden."   AP, Nov. 6, 2020.

Megan Messerly and Jackie Valley.  "A nation turns its nervous eyes to Nevada, the forgotten battleground that could decide the presidential race."  The Nevada Independent, Nov. 4, 2020.

--.  "Nevada and the Latino Vote."  Latino Decisions, Nov. 3, 2020.

Jannelle Calderon.  "Latinx community poised to play crucial role in 2020 election."  Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oct. 25, 2020.

Megan Messerly.  "In high stakes election, Biden, Trump court Nevada's growing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities."  The Nevada Independent, Oct. 25, 2020.

Megan Messerly.  "After decades of backing Republican presidential candidates before swinging blue for Obama, Clinton, Washoe again a battleground."  The Nevada Independent, Oct. 11, 2020.

Laura Barrón-López.  "Biden moves to stave off surprise loss in Nevada."  Politico, Oct. 9, 2020.

Alex Isenstadt.  "Trump antagonizes GOP megadonor Adelson in heated phone call."  Politico, Aug. 8, 2020.