Final
Projections

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Updated:
Tue. Nov 04, 2014
Senate
Republicans 52
Democrats 45
Independents 3
GOP +7, IND +1
House
Republicans 245
Democrats 190
GOP +11
Governors
Republicans 27
Democrats 22
Independents 1
DEM +1, IND +1
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Louisiana Runoff
December 6, 2014

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2014 Florida Governor Race

Millions across the nation have already voted, and many millions more will cast their vote tomorrow. Dozens of close, exciting elections will be settled tomorrow night as the votes are counted. As we near the end of this election cycle, I thought I'd offer some things to consider as the returns come in.

I will be surprised if...

  • Democrats gain any Senate seats.
  • Nathan Deal has to go to a runoff to win the Georgia governor election.
  • Any House race not listed on EP's 2014 House elections page switches parties.
  • Neither the North Carolina nor New Hampshire Senate race is won by the GOP
  • Both the North Carolina and New Hampshire Senate races are won by the GOP
  • Republicans don't win at least half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.

I will NOT be surprised if...

  • Republicans earn the majority in the Senate on Election Day, avoiding the need to win any runoffs.
  • Pat Roberts retains his seat in the Kansas Senate election.
  • The Florida governor election goes to an official recount before the winner is confirmed.
  • Republicans win more than half of the six New England state gubernatorial elections.
  • David Perdue wins the Georgia Senate election outright on Election Day.
  • Pat Quinn wins the Illinois governor election by 10 times more than the current projected margin (0.6%).

Three 2014 Flameouts
These candidates far underperformed down the stretch, proving early optimism to be misplaced.

  • Republican Terri Land held the early lead in the Michigan Senate race, but faded dramatically over the Spring and Summer.
  • It looks like Democrat Domenic Recchia, New York CD-11, won't be able to defeat an incumbent House member who faces 20 counts of breaking federal law.
  • Democrat Martha Coakley gets a second walk of shame on the flameout list. After losing to Scott Brown in the famous Massachusetts special Senate election in January, 2010, it looks likely she'll fall short in this year's Massachusetts governor election as well.
Later, I'll post more on what to look for once the returns start coming in.
posted by Scott Elliott at 11:39am 11/03/14 :: link
Well, the absence of polls on Saturday was more than made up for by yesterday's poll deluge.  Almost six dozen polls fill the latest poll report this morning.  The CBS News/NY Times/YouGov collaboration published their third round of polling.  They have been doing extensive work, surveying many races other pollsters largely overlook, and their results contribute greatly to the large number.  With all the new data, I thought today would be a good day for a few lists.

Top six closest Senate races
1.  Georgia - EP margin:  Nunn +0.3 (DEM Gain)
2.  Kansas - EP margin:  Orman +0.6 (IND Gain)
3.  North Carolina - EP margin:  Hagan +1.6 (DEM Hold)
4.  New Hamp - EP margin:  Shaheen +2.2 (DEM Hold)
5.  Iowa - EP margin:  Ernst +2.4 (GOP Gain)
6.  Colorado - EP margin:  Gardner +2.8 (GOP Gain)

Top six closest House races
1 (tie).  Arkansas CD-2 - EP margin:  Hays +0.3 (DEM Gain)
1 (tie).  California CD-7 - EP margin:  Ose +0.3 (GOP Gain)
1 (tie).  Illinois CD-10 - EP margin:  Schneider +0.3 (DEM Hold)
1 (tie).  NH CD-1 - EP margin:  Shea-Porter +0.3 (DEM Hold)
5.  Illinois CD-12 - EP margin:  Bost +0.4 (GOP Gain)
6 (tie).  California CD-52 - EP margin:  DeMaio +0.5 (GOP Gain)
6 (tie).  Iowa CD-3 - EP margin:  Appel +0.5 (DEM Gain)

Top six closest governor races
1.  Wisconsin - EP margin:  Burke +0.1 (DEM Gain)
2.  Colorado - EP margin:  Hickenlooper +0.8 (DEM Hold)
3 (tie).  Florida - EP margin:  Crist +1.3 (DEM Gain)
3 (tie).  Georgia - EP margin:  Deal +1.3 (GOP Hold)
3 (tie).  Illinois - EP margin:  Rauner +1.3 (GOP Gain)
6.  Kansas - EP margin:  Davis +1.5 (DEM Gain)

The problem with these nail biters, for prognosticators like me, is that they introduce more likelihood of getting the outcome wrong.  A classic example of this occurred in 2008.  That year, Election Projection correctly projected 48 out of 50 states in the presidential elections.  One of the incorrect picks, North Carolina, was projected to go to John McCain by less than one percent.  It ended up going for Barack Obama by less than one percent.  So, even though my projection was within a point or so, I still got it wrong. Oh well...

Come back this evening for a new set of numbers and tomorrow morning for another write up.  Tomorrow will be exactly one week away - anybody else sitting on the edge of their seat?

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:22am 10/27/14 :: link
The 2014 governor election map has undergone several changes over the last two projection updates.  Yesterday, there were two party switchers, one benefitting each party.  Republicans saw Charles Baker overtake Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts governor election, and Democrats enjoyed seeing the Florida governor election go from red to blue as Charlie Crist staked out a 2-point edge on the strength of a favorable SurveyUSA poll.  Baker's first lead of the cycle has moved the Bay State projection from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain, while the Sunshine State's outcome moves in the opposite direction, from Weak GOP Hold to Weak DEM Gain.

Yesterday's updates were followed this afternoon by another gubernatorial party switcher.  Colorado incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat locked in a surprisingly tough re-election bid, has led in the last two published Colorado governor polls.  Rasmussen's poll released today has him up four points, but, more importantly, it cycles Quinnipiac's latest out of the calculations.  That Q-poll, most likely an outlier, gave Hick's GOP opponent, Bob Beauprez, a whopping 10-point advantage.  With that survey out, the Colorado governor election is now projected to stay with Hickenlooper by a still-close three-point margin.

All the fun hasn't been limited to the gubernatorial page.  The 2014 Senate elections map also underwent an update yesterday.  Governor Hickenlooper's Democratic colleague on Capitol Hill, first-term Senator Mark Udall, is also in a very tight contest with Republican Congressman Cory Gardner.  Their battle has been an unexpected pick-up opportunity since Gardner announced last spring.

Since mid-September, signs point to Gardner establishing a bit of a lead here.  All four polls conducted since September 10 have put Gardner ahead.  Still, at just +1 point for the challenger, the projection in the 2014 Colorado Senate election will likely move back and forth a few times before the votes are counted.  For now though, this race moves from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain.  For now, with 8 projected Senate takeovers, it looks like the GOP can weather an Independent takeover in Kansas and still earn the majority in the upper chamber.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:10pm 10/02/14 :: link
This article was published on Monday, August 11 on PJMedia.com.  It has been edited for currency

A lot of focus this election season is trained on the battle for Capitol Hill.  And rightly so, with the majority in the Senate up for grabs and Democrats hoping to avoid another harmful midterm election in the House.  But there are also a host of gubernatorial battles being waged this year.  In fact, the midterm elections every four years mark a bonanza of statehouse contests.  Thirty-six of the nation's fifty states will be choosing their chief executive this November.

In 2010, the last midterm election, thirty-seven gubernatorial elections produced a staggering 17 partisan takeovers - 11 by Republicans, 5 by Democrats, and Independent Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.  Add to that count several states in which sitting governors were term-limited, decided against running for reelection or lost their primary, and you have a remarkable statistic.  Twenty-six states - over half the states in the country - welcomed a new governor in 2011.

So do we have the same kind of shakeup in store in 2014?  Probably not, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of interesting and competitive races to enjoy this year.

Here's a look at a baker's dozen of states which have at least a decent chance of electing a governor from a different party on Election Day.  I've ranked them and categorized them according to their level of vulnerability.

Easy Pickup (1 Republican)

  • 1.  Pennsylvania - Republican Tom Corbett is struggling mightily under approval ratings that make President Obama's numbers look enviable.  Former Pennsylvania Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf is the prohibitive favorite to earn the takeover.

Lean Toward Takeover (2 Democrats)

  • 2.  Arkansas - If Democrat Governor Mike Beebe were free to run for a third term, this race would not be on this list.  As it turns out, however, he is term-limited, and the door is open for a Republican to win the statehouse this year in this ever-reddening state.  Asa Hutchinson, former congressman, is the GOP nominee.  All three polls taken recently give him leads ranging from 3 to 6 points over Democrat Mike Ross, another former congressman.
  • 3.  Hawaii - Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie had a treacherous re-election path ahead of him.  First, he had to contend with a strong primary challenge from state Senator David Ige.  Then, had he survived, he would have faced a daunting three-way race with Mufi Hannemann, former Democratic Mayor of Honolulu, siphoning off votes as an independent.  But he didn't survive that primary challenge, and now it is Ige who will have a hard time holding this seat for Democrats.  That's because the Republican nominee, former Lt. Governor Duke Aiona, is ahead in the polls.  Despite Hawaii's very deep blue hue, Aiona appears well-positioned to earn the governorship.

True Toss-up (3 Republicans, 2 Democrats)

  • 4.  Illinois - Polls give Republican Bruce Rauner the lead here, but Governor Quinn has a history of finding a way to come out on top.  And deep blue Illinois is not the best place for a Republican, even in gubernatorial races.  Though Rauner currently leads in the polls, I'm not confident in his chances.  One reason: Polls put Republican Bill Brady almost five points ahead of Quinn in 2010.  Quinn won by 0.5%.
  • 5.  Maine - Republican Paul LePage, like Neil Abercrombie, faces a three-way race in his reelection bid this year.  But that's not unusual in a state that has given at least 20% of the gubernatorial vote to an independent in all but one election since 1994.  Democratic Congressman Michael Michaud is LePage's biggest threat, however.
  • 6.  Florida - This race is probably the most visible, anticipated and important statehouse election on this year's slate.  Former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, who ran for the Senate as an independent after losing the 2010 GOP Senate primary to Marco Rubio, later switched to the Democratic Party.  He is now challenging Republican Rick Scott for a ticket back to the Governor's Mansion.  In a major battleground state, this race is truly a toss-up.
  • 7.  Connecticut - Democrat Dan Malloy won the statehouse here in 2010 by less than one point over Republican Tom Foley.  One word tells why this race is on this list in 2014 - rematch.  Connecticut is a blue state to be sure, but Foley's likely nomination gives Democrats a headache in the Nutmeg State.  The latest polls put Foley in the lead, further illustrating Malloy's difficult road ahead.  This one will be close again.
  • 8.  Michigan - In 2010, Republican Rick Snyder capitalized on term-limited Governor Jennifer Granholm's poor approval ratings to score an open seat gubernatorial takeover.  Four years later, Snyder must contend with sub-par approval himself as he faces a strong challenge from former Congressman Mark Schauer.

Lean Toward Hold (4 Republicans, 1 Democrat)

  • 9.  Wisconsin - Scott Walker famously survived a recall election in 2012 by a slightly larger margin than he first gubernatorial win in 2010.  In 2014, the Republican faces another challenge in this Democratic-leaning battleground state.  Educator Mary Burke is the likely Democratic nominee.  Polls show Walker and Burke locked in a very close battle.  Two surveys were released in July.  One gave Walker a one-point lead.  The other had Burke up by the same margin.
  • 10.  Kansas - Even though it is a deep red state, Kansas has a propensity for Democratic governors.  Half of the chief executives elected here since 1966 have been Democrats.  So, it's not terribly surprising to see this race on the competitive list.  What is surprising is that Sam Brownback, who has won two senate races and the 2010 gubernatorial race by an average margin of 36 points, is the vulnerable incumbent.
  • 11.  Georgia - Republican Governor Nathan Deal hopes Georgia's conservative tilt will overcome the name recognition of his Democratic opponent Jason Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter.  Deal must also overcome the pall of scandal which clouds further his reelection prospects.  For now, he maintains the upper hand, but this race might become a full-fledged toss-up before too long.
  • 12.  Colorado - Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper enjoyed comfortable leads against a crowded Republican field throughout the primary season.  Recently, however, now that Colorado Republicans have settled on former Congressman Bob Beauprez, he has fallen back into a very close battle.
  • 13.  New Mexico - Republican Susana Martinez made history four years ago becoming the first female Hispanic governor in U.S. history.  This year, she's facing a tough reelection battle against New Mexico Attorney General Gary King.  Though she still enjoys a "Likely R" label from Charlie Cook, a recent Rasmussen poll shows her exactly tied with King, 43-43.

As things currently stand, Election Projection is projecting Republicans to pick up Arkansas, Hawaii and Illinois and Democrats to gain Florida, Maine and Pennsylvania.  That works out to a net change of zero.  However, with so many very close gubernatorial contests out there, I'm sure the map will be in constant flux between now and Election Day.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:37pm 08/18/14 :: link
I just sent my latest article for PJMedia.com.  In it, I take a look at the gubernatorial races on tap this year, rankng them by vulnerability.  The Florida race is one I deemed a "toss-up."  Yes, I know, I hate toss-ups.  But for the sake of the article, toss-up will have to do.  Projections?  Never.  Articles?  Sometimes.

Anyway, I mentioned in the article that Florida was a projected Democratic pickup.  Wouldn't you know it?  Before the ink even dried, figuratively speaking, here comes a SurveyUSA poll showing Republican Governor Rick Scott back on top by 2 points over Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.  Since the poll replaces an earlier SurveyUSA offering which had Crist up by 6, today's projection calculation flips the race to Scott.  Moreover, Scott has now led the last three polls testing the race.  Perhaps the incumbent is beginning to cultivate a small lead in this marquee gubernatorial contest.

With Florida back in Republican hands, the projected gubernatorial tally stands at 30 Republicans and 20 Democrats, a net gain of one statehouse for the red team.

Filed under:  2014 Florida Governor Race 
posted by Scott Elliott at 6:17pm 08/06/14 :: link
Last night's Georgia primary runoff election cemented the GOP nominee, David Perdue, and allowed me to move the 2014 Georgia Senate election from a preliminary projection to an official one.  As a result, Democrat Michelle Nunn is now projected ahead of Perdue thanks to her aggregate 0.5% lead in the last two polls here.  The change reduces the net Republican pickup in the Senate to just 3 seats - 3 short of the mark they'll need to regain the majority.  Today's Senate tally stands at 48 Republicans, 50 Democrats and 2 Independents

The good news doesn't stop there for the blue team.  On the 2014 Governor elections summary page, EP's latest map features a blue Florida, heralding Democrat Charlie Crist's new lead over Republican incumbent Rick Scott.  With this update, the projected Republican gubernatorial majority is reduced by one.  The projected tally stands at 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats

Back on June 10, the projections offered a much different outlook.  Senate Republicans were projected to win six seats and win the majority, while Republicans were also looking at a projected gain in governors of two seats.  Declining GOP fortunes are not indicative of a coming red wave and further bolster my current conviction that 2014 may be a status-quo election.

That said, there is still plenty of time for the GOP to gain momentum - President Obama's dismal approval numbers continue to provide potential fuel for that - but, as things stand now, Democrats must be feeling pretty good about their situation in this sixth-year midterm election.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:41pm 07/23/14 :: link
Just this Tuesday, Republican incumbent Rick Scott overtook Democrat Charlie Crist in the Florida governor election projection.  That advantage was short-lived as SurveyUSA's offering yesterday turned the tables back in favor of the challenger.  This latest SurveyUSA poll gives Crist a 4-point lead.  That's a six-point improvement over the previous SurveyUSA poll from late May.  The gubernatorial tally moves back to 30 Republicans and 20 Democrats, a net gain of one for the red team.
posted by Scott Elliott at 9:57am 06/12/14 :: link
Today's update brings one significant rating change.  A Public Policy Polling survey out of Florida finds Republican incumbent Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist exactly tied.  Combined with a SurveyUSA poll taken late last month, the PPP poll gives Scott a slight advantage in today's calculations.  This update shifts the Florida Governor election projection from Weak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold.  Republicans are now projected to hold 31 statehouses after this year's elections.  That's an increase of two over their current count.
posted by Scott Elliott at 5:27pm 06/10/14 :: link
The Florida primary is still over two months away, but the two major party candidates are all but decided.  Democrat, former Republican, former Independent and former Governor Charlie Crist has consistently outperformed incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott in early Florida Governor polls.  Even after today's SurveyUSA poll giving Scott a two-point lead, Crist is still ahead.

However, based on previous SurveyUSA polls, Scott may be gaining ground.  The last two polls released by the polling firm each gave Crist a three-point edge.  Today's 2014 Florida Governor Election Projection, which includes SurveyUSA's most recent, pegs Crist's advantage at 4.6%, a Weak DEM Gain.

posted by Scott Elliott at 5:57pm 05/28/14 :: link
In 2010, Republican Rick Scott won two close elections on his way to the Florida statehouse.  He had to survive first a heated primary battle with former Congressman Bill McCollum - which he did by a slim 3-point margin - before moving on to face the Democrat, Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.  She had enjoyed a much easier path to the November ballot, cruising to the Democratic nomination with almost 77% of the primary vote.

The gubernatorial race that year was an open seat election, but the sitting governor at the time wasn't retiring from politics.  He wasn't even sitting out the election.  Instead, then-Republican Charlie Crist threw his hat into a different ring, launching a bid for the open Senate seat held by interim GOP Senator George LeMieux.  (Crist had appointed LeMieux a year earlier after Mel Martinez's resignation in August 2009.)

Scott went on to win the general election against Sink by a very narrow 49% to $8% count, and Crist ended up losing badly to Republican Marco Rubio as an independent candidate in three-way race.  Democrat Kendrick Meek also ran in that race but ended up with just 20% of the vote to come in third.

Now, four years later, Crist, wearing the blue team's jersey, is back attempting to reclaim the governorship he voluntarily relinquished in 2010.  Never a very conservative kind of guy, Crist officially switched to the Democratic Party on December 7, 2012.  He is the front runner among a crowded field vying for the Democratic nomination.  Though he is the heavy favorite to prevail in the August 26 primary, Florida State Senator Nan Rich will provide a legitimate intra-party opponent.

On the Republican side, Governor Scott should earn the GOP nomination once again.  However, he hasn't been quite the darling of the Right as evidence by the seven declared Republicans running against him.  Still, it looks right now very much like a Rick Scott - Charlie Crist matchup in the general.

Polls taken so far measuring a Scott/Crist contest show the Democrat with the early lead.  A University of Florida survey released in January put Crist advantage at 7 points, 47-40.  Since both men are already well-known quantities to Florida voters, early polls are probably more predictive of the actual result than in other election scenarios.  So, while there are plenty of months left for the numbers to move one way or the other, Crist looks to me to be the true favorite in this race.

Preliminary projection:  Weak DEM Gain

You can track this race throughout the 2014 election season here at Election Projection by visiting the Florida Governor Election page for polls, projections and updates.  Also, check out the 2014 Governor Elections page for a summary of all gubernatorial races on tap in 2014 complete with EP's colorful red and blue Governor map.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:18pm 02/15/14 :: link
Election Projection
Charlie Crist  +0.5
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