This is the scene that Hillary Clinton's campaign wanted to see.
Tim Hogan, who tweeted that picture, works for the Clinton campaign. The picture shows people lined up outside a grocery store at 8:15 last night, Nevada time. Those are Nevada early voters in Clark County, the most populous county in the state. The polls stayed open until 10 p.m. at that store, with a local television network reporting that voters were waiting two hours to cast a ballot.
This is anecdotal data of the sort that you're normally wise to eschew. But the numbers in Clark County overall, both last night and over the course of Nevada's two weeks of early voting, suggest a big surge in voters over 2012 — and an electorate that likely favors Clinton.
According to numbers from the state, 52,000 more people voted in the two weeks of early voting in Clark County this year than four years ago. There were more absentee ballots cast then, so the overall pre-Election Day tally in the county is up about 41,000 votes. In 2012, Clark County made up more than two-thirds of all of the votes cast, and the county backed President Obama over Mitt Romney by 15 points — and by a margin of 101,000 votes. Clark County's early vote and absentee turnout so far is 76 percent of the total votes cast in that county in 2012.
More votes doesn't necessarily mean more votes for the Democrat, of course. And in Clark County, the percent of early and absentee ballots cast by Democrats during the first two weeks dropped from 47.6 to 45.8 percent. The percentage of Republicans returning ballots, though, also fell, from 33.1 to 32.1 percent of the electorate. Over that period, the density of the parties in registered voter pools fell about the same amount — with the difference being an increase in nonpartisan voters. In 2012, that group made up 19 percent of the early/absentee vote; this year, it's over 22 percent. As Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman notes, that's a group that leans heavily young and nonwhite.
Data provided to The Post by Catalist, a progressive data firm, indicates that the share of Hispanic voters among early voters is up vs. the same point four years ago. As of Wednesday — before the scene above — Hispanic voters had made up 12.1 percent of the vote. By six days before Election Day 2012, the figure was 10.7 percent.
The precise number, according to the state: 72,674.
Election Day turnout in 2012 benefited the Democrats by a smaller margin than early voting, and we don't know what this year's turnout will look like. Statewide, though, Republicans cast 12,000 fewer votes than Democrats on the day of the election four years ago. Members of other parties and unaffiliated voters cast a bit over 80,000. Trump would have to win a huge chunk of those votes to prevail, unless he's got a substantial edge among unaffiliated voters. If he doesn't, as Wasserman calculates, Trump's margin might need to be as high as 10 percentage points on Election Day.
The larger problem here is that Nevada and other early voting states were a test of the campaigns' ability to turn out their voters. Clinton's team — almost certainly helped by the powerful Culinary Workers Union near Las Vegas — managed to build up what appears to be a sizable lead in the state, thanks to her operation. In the primaries, Trump's lack of a robust ground operation cost him Iowa, if no other state.
Nevada suggests that the campaign's antipathy to ground efforts may have continued into the general.
Update: I realized after the fact that I had data from Catalist showing party breakdown by race and ethnicity among those who'd voted by mid-week. Hispanic voters are slightly more likely to have no party affiliation than white or black voters who had cast a ballot. But three-quarters of those who'd returned ballots with no party affiliation statewide were white. Clark County has a slightly higher density of Hispanic voters than the state overall, but it's also 70 percent of the state.