RENO — Paul Ryan had a direct message for Nevadans Thursday: ”Early voting doesn’t end until tomorrow so don’t forget that you can get out and early vote.”
Ryan told several hundred people in this battleground state that Nevada is “crucial.”
“A handful of states are going to determine this thing,” Ryan said at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
Ryan then told the crowd to talk to those in their lives who may have helped Barack Obama defeat John McCain here four years ago. It’s a theme he’s struck at many campaign stops.
“In a state where you have unemployment above 11 percent, [hope and change is] not working,” he said.
According to the Nevada Secretary of State, 533,064 votes have already been cast, which is 55 percent of the total votes cast in 2008. Of those ballots, 235, 514 are from registered Democrats, 200,678 are from registered Republicans, and 96,872 are from “other.”
According to a Pew Research Center survey, the race is neck-and-neck among early voters, a stark contrast with this point in 2008, when Obama led John McCain by 19 points among those who had voted early.
Ryan is headed to Las Vegas next, where he will greet volunteers at a campaign office. The president was also in Las Vegas this afternoon holding a rally in front of 4,500 people on his first day back on the campaign trail after taking a break from politics to deal with the devastation of superstorm Sandy.
The president and Ryan have been circling each other today. Both stopped in Wisconsin and Colorado. The GOP vice presidential nominee began his day in his hometown of Janesville after taking his children trick-or treating last night, then holding an event in Greeley, Colo. The president was in Green Bay, where Ryan was yesterday, and will end his day with an event in Denver this evening.
In Reno, Ryan tailored his remarks for the Nevada audience and its six electoral votes, a state that has been hit incredibly hard by the home foreclosure crisis.
“When you also think about the economic damage, you don’t have to look very far beyond the Reno city limits,” Ryan said. ”You don’t have to look very far beyond the foreclosure rate here in Nevada. You don’t have to look at all the underwater mortgages. This is not what a real recovery looks like.”
Polls are tight here with most giving the president a small advantage. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll from Oct. 24 has Obama up by three points with 50 percent support to Romney’s 47 percent. The latest ABC News/Washington Post national tracking poll from Thursday still has the two candidates tied with the president at 48.56 percent support and Romney at 48.49 percent.
Ryan will head back to Colorado tomorrow, stopping in Montrose before traveling to Iowa for a campaign event in Cedar Falls, and ending the day with a joint rally with his running mate, as well as scores of other surrogates in West Chester, Ohio.
ABC News’ Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.