Election Day is just a few days away.
Our contributor Jon Ralston says Nevada leans toward Hillary Clinton, but a college professor who’s correctly predicted the presidential race since 1984 is betting on Trump.
Are Republicans intimidating voters at the polls? And what’s at stake in Question 5, about raising fuel taxes?
Jon, you say Nevada is leaning towards Hillary Clinton how come?
Ralston: The early vote numbers look very good for the Democrats especially in Clark County where they have more than 55,000 ballot advantage over the Republicans, very similar to 2012 when Barack Obama won the state by seven points.
So unless something very strange is happening and Democrats don’t do what they usually do in the last couple of days. She’s looking very good here.
Who is correct? The polls or the professor at American University who has correctly predicted the winner since 1984?
Ralston: I think we’re actually going to have count the votes on Election Day, which is sad.
Polling is good in some places, bad in some places. Good by some pollsters, consistently bad by others. The CNN poll that was done in Nevada that showed Trump up by six makes no sense to just about anybody who has any sense about what’s gone on and what’s going on in Nevada.
I don’t know what the professor’s algorithm is. I’m not saying he’s going to be wrong. I’m saying every notable expert on the Electoral College who has looked at this believes Trump’s path to victory is very narrow. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means it’s narrow.
Nevada Democrats filed a lawsuit against Republicans accusing them of intimidating voters. What kind of proof is there that this is actually happening?
Sebelius: There are people going to the polls engaging in what this lawsuit called ‘exit polling.’ They’re not watching polls. They’re not officially appointed people. I think that’s what has really gotten the Democrats concerned is that these are not official poll watchers but rather these groups that are taking an exit poll that they might use as a basis for lawsuit subsequent to the election results, if the results do not turn out according to their ‘exit polling.’
Ballot Question 5 for Clark County voters has not received a lot of attention. What is the dilemma for voters who look at this question?
Sebelius: You have on the one hand that if this is approved at the end of the 10 years that we would be extending this fuel tax indexing you’re looking at having about a dollar of every gallon of fuel cost be taxes, state, local and federal combined. That is a significant amount of money.
There have been a lot of failures on the part of the RTC [Regional Transportation Commission] in terms of coordinating traffic. I think any voter in Clark County can relate to that. If you drive the roads, you get frustrated. You see the lights aren’t timed very well. The projects aren’t coordinated very well.
Yet, at the same time, you have to realize if the RTC is denied this money and doesn’t have it going forward there is going to be a significant gap in terms of what needs to be done on the roads and what there is money to do to fix the roads. It is kind of a dilemma.
Jon, in the Reno Gazette-Journal, you called Nevada campaign finance laws ‘outrageous.’ How come?
Ralston: Because there is very little transparency. They have improved marginally over the years but there are these long periods, month long periods, during elections cycles where elected officials can take money and they don’t have to disclose it.
It makes absolutely no sense. I’ve argued for real-time campaign financing for years. Nobody listens to me. Mostly because it doesn’t have any benefit and indeed would have a deleterious on donors and the establishment or the incumbent.
There is no good argument against fixing it, making it more regular, but I don’t see any chance of it changing.
Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist and host of Politics Now on KLAS Channel 8; Jon Ralsto, Reno Gazette-Journal columnist and politics analyst at KTNV Channel 13.
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