From a prognosticator's point of view, one of the big stories of Election 2014 is the inaccuracy of the polls in favor of non-Republican candidates. Gubernatorial races were especially impacted by this phenomenon, but polls for plenty of Senate races also missed the mark. As a result, Election Projection's numbers were skewed toward Democrats (and Independent Greg Orman in Kansas).
On the other hand, EP's projections for House races - which rely less on polling and more on EP's homegrown formula for quantifying the race predictions of political experts - fared much better. Of 435 congressional races, Election Projection correctly forecasted all but nine. I'm especially pleased that in those nine misses, I projected the Democrat to win 5 and the Republican to win 4 - an almost even split and a testimony to the objectivity of EP's calculations.
Here's a look at how Election Projection did for all 507 races in this year's lineup of Senate, House and gubernatorial elections.
Election Projection's 2014 Report Card
In the Senate, EP missed Kansas and North Carolina, both won by Republicans. Among gubernatorial races, EP missed Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, again, all won by Republicans. I will say that better polling would have yielded better results. Nevertheless, 97% ain't too shabby.
The 2014 Elections turned out to be a red wave perhaps even larger than 2010. Republicans were slated to enjoy gains in the House and Senate, but Democrats were expected to savor a bit of relief from the pounding in the governor elections. As it turned out,
the GOP surpassed expectations on Capitol Hill and saw their successes expand beyond Washington to statehouses across the country.
Election Projection saw Democrats scoring three gubernatorial takeovers against just two losses and benefiting materially in a collaboration with an independent candidate in Alaska. Republicans, on the other hand, were expected to see their 29-seat majority in governorships decrease by two.
As of eight days after the election, two governorships have yet to be called - the aforementioned collaboration in Alaska and Democrat Peter Shumlin's re-election bid in Vermont. Alaska should go to Independent Bill Walker and his running mate, former Democratic nominee, Byron Mallott, and Vermont's General Assembly is likely to stay with Shumlin when it convenes in January. While these two races represent positive results for the blue team, the rest of the gubernatorial landscape actually favors the GOP.
Instead of seeing their majority decline, Republican realized an even larger statehouse advantage, moving past 30 total governorships by earning four takeovers to offset losses in Alaska and Pennsylvania. Their 31 governorships include new Republican top executives in Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts. Election Projection called red team pickups in Arkansas and Massachusetts but missed the other two. The Maryland race was especially unexpected, catching everyone by surprise.
If any more proof of the significance of the Republican wave of 2014 is needed after examining their overwhelming successes this year in the House and Senate, then a look at the governor races should eliminate any remaining doubt. Republicans not only held their own closely fought governor races in Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, they also took the Governor's Mansion in highly-populated, highly-liberal states like Massachusetts and Illinois. (Tom Corbett's futile re-election bid in Pennsylvania was DOA.)
All in all, given the number of governorships the GOP could have lost, it was an amazing run that exceeded even optimistic expectations. Instead of a possible 23 or 24 seat minority, Republicans expanded their majority to a level not seen since the 1990's. Just another sign how overwhelming the Republican wave of 2014 actually was.
Yesterday, a wave did indeed form across the country, and the GOP was the beneficiary. In need of six net seats for the Senate majority and facing vulnerable seats in Kansas and Georgia, Republicans ran the table, winning every close Senate election save one. Only Scott Brown's defeat in New Hampshire prevented a true sweep. (Yes, I know Louisiana will now head to a runoff after no one there achieved enough support to avoid it. But who can argue that Republican Bill Cassidy is well-positioned to continue Republican gains into December?)
Eight new seats will reside on the Republican side of the Senate aisle come January's next Senate session. On some levels, even
though Republican gains in the House were limited to "only" 12-14 seats, 2014 was a broader and deeper wave than the one that swept America in 2010. That year, though they did accomplish a history-making feat by winning 63 seats in the House, many objectives - particularly in the Senate - went unmet. Yesterday, the GOP met and exceeded any and all reasonable expectations in both Houses of Congress and among the nation's statehouses.
A couple of races are still outstanding, but assessing the results that are complete, Republicans will hold significant majorities in the Senate, in the House and in governorships. The gubernatorial races were most surprising. Election Projection projected Republicans to lose a net of two statehouses, one to the Democrats and one to an independent. Instead, the GOP enjoyed a string of close victories to extend the majority they could already claim.
I'll be taking a look at the election results for each of these groups in the next three days, starting with an in depth look at the Senate races tomorrow. I'll also be continuing updates on the election results (Senate, House and governor) until all race have been officially decided. And then there will be retooling of the Louisiana Senate election page in advance of Senator Mary Landrieu's primary showdown against Cassidy.
This is where I'll be posting periodic reactions to tonight vote counts as they come in.2:35am EST: Well, what a night! The big story must be the Senate majority that the GOP earned. But, were it not for that, I think the amazing run of gubernatorial victories would be the headline in the morning. All in all, it looks like the GOP will earn 8 or 9 seats in the Senate, more than a dozen in the House, and several additional statehouses. After a good night's sleep, I'll start reviewing the results tomrrow. Y'all come back, ya here?
11:28pm EST: The Republicans, with the victory of Joni Ernst over Bruce Braley in Iowa, will have control of the Senate for the next two years at least. No need to wait for any runoffs.
11:15pm EST: The results have gotten far enough along to say that Senate Republicans are achieving expectations, and, with North Carolina, Iowa and Alaska still outstanding, they could exceed them. On the gubernatorial front, it looks like a status-quo election, which is pretty much what we are expecting. Though Walker and Snyder winning in Wisconsin and Michigan is a very good result given the vulnerablilities of both men.
10:20pm EST: I've been able to catch up on the Senate election results page. Now, I'll start on the governors. Speaking of governors, Fox News has just called Wisconsin for
incumbent Republican Scott Walker. That's a big result and a close call that Election Projection correctly picked.
9:52pm EST: Quick update. Between trying to extend the capability of the server and trying to keep up with 114 races, I'm having a hard time maintaining up-to-date and accurate numbers. I'm working feverishly to catch up!!
7:20pm EST: Polls in three states, Ohio, West Virginia and the critical North Carolina, will close in 10 minutes. (Yes, I did vote today in my home, the Old North State.) We'll start seeing Hagan vs. Tillis votes coming in soon.
7:05pm EST: Kentucky Senate called for McConnell right out of the shoot by Fox News. And Warner's "non-competitive" race in Virginia is "too close to call." This is a huge development that portends a great night for the GOP.
5:55pm EST: The first polls will be closing in any minute now. Indiana's polls close statewide at 6pm EST, and most of Kentucky's as well. The Kentucky Senate election between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes (D) is the only race I'm tracking here at EP from these two states. If an early call comes down for McConnell, look for a very good night for the GOP. If the race remains uncalled for a couple hours, it could be an indication that the GOP will underperform tonight.
You can follow tonight election returns at the links below.
58 New Polls: 22 Senate, 9 House, 21 Governor, 6 Others
16 Pundit Rating Changes: 9 Favor GOP, 7 Favor DEM Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.1Party Switchers In Republicans' Favor Maine CD-2Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain Other Ratings Changes In Republicans' Favor New Hampshire SenateMod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
Good morning and welcome to Election Day, 2014! If you have already voted, good for you; if not, go do it! I'll start of this morning's final countdown post by saying how much fun it has been watching all the polls and calculating all the projections. I hope you have enjoyed Election Projection's trek through the election season as much as I have bringing it to you.
Now on to the final numbers. In the Senate, EP projects the GOP will gain 8 takeovers against just 1 loss (to independent candidate Greg Orman in the Kansas Senate election) for a net gain of 7 seats. Democrats are projected to lose 8, bringing the projected balance of power in the upper chamber to 52 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 3 Independents.
In the House, Republicans are also projected to fare well, bagging 13 additional seats while losing just 2 for a net gain of 11. Democrats are set to avoid a House election sweep with projected takeovers in California CD-31 and the late-breaking Nebraska CD-2. All told, the House make-up after the elections is projected to be 245 Republicans and 190 Democrats. Today's party switcher, Maine CD-2, means the GOP will end on its highest projected House gain of the year.
Moving on to statehouse races, the bright spot in the these otherwise gloomy projections for the blue team, Democrats are projected to pickup three seats - and an ally in the form of Independent Bill Walker in Alaska - against just two losses. Their net gain of 1 seat, plus 1 seat for Walker, leaves the projected balance of power among the nation's governorships at 27 Republicans, 22 Democrats and 1 Independent.
Overall, there stands to be quite a bit more celebrating on the red side of the aisle tonight, but the biggest question of these elections - will the GOP take the Senate - might not be answered. Both the Louisiana and Georgia senate races are likely to go to runoffs. It is feasible, then, for the majority not to be known until January, 2015. I'm of the opinion we won't need to go to the Georgia runoff in January to get to a Republican majority. We may not even need to wait until Louisiana's runoff in December.
After the last 2 elections in which Election Projection experienced difficulties handling the increased Election Day traffic, I'm wary of that happening again today. I am working with my hosting service to ensure it doesn't. But in the event that is does, let me apologize in advance. If the website isn't being updated this evening as the returns come in, please rest assured I am diligently trying to update it.
One last thing before I conclude this post. Pending smooth website operation this evening, I will be posting results on the hour, every hour, starting at 7pm. You can follow the returns as they come in on each state race page and on the pages below.
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...
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.
Democrats score big on the gubernatorial front in Saturday's update, reclaiming two statehouses that were previously projected to flip to the GOP. In Colorado, incumbent John Hickenlooper edges out Republican Bob Beauprez in the Colorado governor poll average by just 0.2%. With nine polls in the calculations, we can have a high level of confidence that the Colorado governor election is pretty much a toss-up.
The other retention comes from Connecticut where another Democratic incumbent has inched his way back into the lead. Though we have far fewer samples in the Connecticut governor polling pool, Dan Malloy, nevertheless, has taken a 0.7% lead over Tom Foley in their rematch of 4 years ago. Still razor-close, the 2014 Connecticut governor elections promises to be one of the closest in the nation.
As promised, I added six new races to EP's 2014 House elections page. Two Republicans seats increased the total number of GOP seats I'm tracking to 13, while four new Democratic seats - minus 1 seat which is not so competitive anymore - raises the competitive count for the blue team to 30.
One of the Democratic additions, New York CD-24, went straight to the red column. Republican challenger John Katko has polled very strongly against Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei in the limited number of surveys out there, and the pundits have sensed this race moving decidedly in his direction. A look at the pundit ratings for this race since I started tracking the election early this year reveals the rapid shift in their perceptions.
At 10 seats, Saturday's projected net gain for Republicans in the House is their largest projected haul so far this cycle.
Three polls from the Iowa Senate election show how close this race is. Two give Republican Joni Ernst leads of 1 and 2 points, while the third puts Democrat Bruce Braley in the lead by 1 point.
23 New Polls: 8 Senate, 5 House, 5 Governor, 5 Others
1 Pundit Rating Change: 1 favors GOP Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.3Party Switchers In Republicans' Favor Alaska SenateWeak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain Other Ratings Changes In Democrats' Favor Utah CD-4Strong GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain In Republicans' Favor Kentucky SenateWeak GOP Hold to Mod GOP Hold Virginia SenateStrong DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold
Early voting is coming to a close today in many areas, and the results are mixed. In the 2014 North Carolina Senate election, for example, black voters are turning out in greater proportion than in 2010. That's good news for Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. But 2010 was a big time Republican year, so the GOP can withstand a marginally increased African-American slice of the electorate and still perform well. That said, almost all recent NC Senate polls give Hagan a slight lead. With just 3 days until the voting concludes, for her to fall short would be a mild upset.
Colorado, on the other hand, looks good for Republicans. As of noon Thursday, the red team's share of the early vote is higher than the 2010 electorate. That's probably bad news for Democratic Senator Mark Udall. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger, is in a good position to earn the takeover in the Colorado Senate election, but we shouldn't forget Colorado's history. Ken Buck's situation in 2010 looked similarly rosy, but he lost to Democratic incumbent Michael Bennett anyway.
Voting in Georgia looks much like North Carolina with the percentage of black early voters outpacing their proportion of the total 2010 electorate. But like in North Carolina, Georgia Republicans have some buffer because of their substantial margin of victory in 2010. Regardless of who is actually performing better so far, it'll be hard for either candidate in the 2014 Georgia Senate election to earn the outright majority. A runoff has seemed likely these past several weeks, and these numbers do nothing to change that expectation.
Reacting to early voting numbers is somewhat like trying to compare apples to oranges, however. I couldn't find corresponding early voting percentages for 2010 - which would be a more consistent comparison. So, like in every cycle before this, we'll have to wait until Election Night for any definitive results.
Now that November has arrived, I wanted to extend the final opportunity of the 2014 election season to my readers to contribute to the efforts that go into providing Election Projection and its content. Since 2004, reader contributions have been invaluable to me in the labor of love that is Election Projection. If you would like to make a contribution, please click on the button below. You don't need a Paypal account to help out.
Thanks so much!!
This evening's update will feature six new seats: AR-4, CA-21, HI-1, IA-2, NV-4, NY-24. Four of the new seats are currently held by Democrats. FL-18, the one race to be removed, is also held by a Democrat.
Republican nominee Charlie Baker has now lead in all 5 of the latest Massachusetts governor polls. He must be considered the favorite to best Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2014 Massachusetts governor election. For Ms. Coakley, a loss would be her second statewide loss in the last 4 years or so - no small feat for the Democrat in the Bay State.
40 New Polls: 12 Senate, 12 House, 12 Governor, 4 Others
No Pundit Rating Changes Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.2, Previous: GOP +0.1Party Switchers In Democrats' Favor Alaska SenateWeak GOP Gain to Weak DEM Hold In Republicans' Favor Georgia SenateWeak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold New Hampshire CD-1Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP GainRatings Changes In Democrats' Favor Louisiana SenateMod GOP Gain to Weak GOP Gain In Republicans' Favor California CD-31Mod DEM Gain to Weak DEM Gain Minnesota CD-7Mod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold Rhode Island GovernorMod DEM Hold to Weak DEM Hold
Two Senate races have shed Monday's color for a new one after last evening's update. But since the two party switchers cancel out each other, the projected balance of power in the 2014 Senate elections remains 51 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and 3 Independents.
The Alaska Senate election is now projected to be a Weak DEM Hold. Democrat incumbent Senator Mark Begich benefits from an apparent outlier poll giving him a 6-point lead to reclaim the advantage over Republican Dan Sullivan. I'll discuss outliers and how I've decided to handle them this year in the notes.
Moving in the opposite direction is the Georgia Senate election. After a short time in the lead, Democrat Michelle Nunn has again relinquished the lead here as Republican David Perdue is now projected to earn a Weak GOP Hold. I want to reiterate a point I made earlier. Perdue's newfound success does not imply a victory on Election Day. Instead, all signs point to a January runoff to decide who will succeed outgoing GOP Senator Saxby Chambliss.
In the House, one race has flipped. Last night's numbers from the ever-changing New Hampshire 1st District re-rematch between Carol Shea-Porter and Frank Guinta fall in the Republican Guinta's favor. He is now projected to win by a fraction, pushing this race from Weak DEM Hold to Weak GOP Gain.
But back and forth they go. Since I began tracking this race in early May, these two have switched places no less than 7 times. And it wouldn't surprise me if another switch or two comes down between now and next Tuesday. With Guinta in the lead, for the moment at least, Republicans are projected to enjoy a nice increase in their majority in the 2014 House elections. The current tally of 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats would be a net gain of 8 seats.
A word on outliers. If you were with me last election, you may remember that I incorporated an outlier test in my projection formula which would eliminate polls too far out of the norm. I am not doing that this year, but I do reserve the right to ignore grossly irregular polls at my discretion any time up to and including Election Projection's final projections on Monday, Election Eve.
Speaking of outliers, the polls coming out of New Hampshire have been all over the map. To illustrate, the two polls in the calculations for NH-CD1 are 10 points apart. The latest, a University of New Hampshire survey, gives Democrat Shea-Porter a 4-point lead, while the second most recent, from New England College, puts Republican Guinta 6 points ahead.
Upset alert? Hawaii's 1st District is not on my competitive House race list. However, that will change before the election. Three of the last four polls from the district have the open seat race between Democrat Mark Takai and Republican Charles Djou exactly tied. The fourth has Takai up by 7, but that survey is a partisan poll from Democratic-leaning Global Strategy.
We are now just one week from Election Day, one week from knowing (most of) the losers and winners. Here are the stats from
last evening's update.
New Polls: 56 - 7 Senate, 4 House, 38 Governor, 7 Others
Pundit Rating Changes: 2 - both favor Republicans Generic Poll Adjustment: New: GOP +0.1, Previous: GOP +0.3Party Switchers In Republicans' Favor Iowa CD-3Weak DEM Gain to Weak GOP Hold Wisconsin GovernorWeak DEM Gain to Weak GOP HoldRatings Changes In Democrats' Favor California CD-31Weak DEM Gain to Mod DEM Gain Minnesota CD-7Weak DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold Hawaii GovernorMod DEM Hold to Solid DEM Hold Idaho GovernorSolid GOP Hold to Strong GOP Hold In Republicans' Favor Arkansas GovernorWeak GOP Gain to Mod GOP Gain Oregon GovernorStrong DEM Hold to Mod DEM Hold
The numbers seem to be moving ever-so-slightly toward the GOP, but the movement is less like a wave and more like a drift. However, if the GOP winds pick up a bit, they could push a lot of these razor-close races in their favor and make it look like a wave.
As things stand right now, I see the GOP gaining enough seats in the Senate to take the majority - and my hunch is it won't take until December (Louisiana) or January (Georgia) to ensure their advantage. I expect either North Carolina or New
Hampshire to join the six other projected GOP takeovers to be decided on November 4th and Pat Roberts to survive in Kansas. Even with Georgia and Louisiana undecided, that will give Republicans 51 seats.
I'll be the first to admit I may be viewing the election through rose (as in red) colored glasses. And, if you're worried, I won't
let my hunches impact the numbers I project here at EP. The calculations here will always be determined by my formula's use of polls and pundit predictions - no exceptions.
The latest CBS News/NYT/YouGov poll gives GOP Governor Sean Walker a three-point edge over Bill Walker in the Alaska governor election. That's the first poll to show the incumbent ahead against the independent Walker since Democratic nominee Bryon Mallot joined his ticket.
The last two North Carolina Senate polls peg the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis exactly tied with Libertarian Sean Haugh
siphoning off an average of 6 points. The North Carolina Senate race is tightening, and it is way too close for either candidate to be breathing easy.
We are almost certain to have a December runoff in the Louisiana Senate election. Republican Rob Maness is polling near 10 percent, essentially assuring that neither Mary Landrieu nor Bill Cassidy will reach 50% +1.
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 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?
As a way to kick off the countdown this morning, I thought we'd catch up on the party switchers we've seen over the last few days. Let's start with the 2014 House elections. A week ago, thanks to a favorable flip in the Maine CD-2 race, Republicans were projected to gain a net 9 seats in the lower chamber. That was the largest projected gain they've enjoyed so far this year.
Then came Thursday's update. A not-so-favorable generic congressional preference poll reduced the GOP's advantage in the House projection adjustment and caused three seats to move to the blue column. One of them was Maine CD-2, which didn't last long as a projected GOP gain. The second was New Hampshire's 1st District seat, and the third came from Arkansas' 2nd District - a rare competitive GOP seat - where Republican French Hill is battling Democrat Patrick Hays for the open seat of retiring Congressman Tim Griffin.
Accounting for these seats moved the projected balance of power in the House to 240 Republicans and 195 Democrats. That represents a projected net gain of 6 seat for the GOP - not a wave, to be sure, but still a nice haul given their existing strong majority.
In the Senate, Democrats can claim the only party switcher this week. Democrat Michelle Nunn has performed better than most expected all year and, lately, polls are starting to show her with a small lead in her Georgia Senate election contest against Republican businessman David Perdue.
A quick perusal of Georiga Senate polls reveals her improving fortunes. In 12 polls released from early September through the first week of October, Perdue enjoyed the advantage in all but one. However, Nunn is the one on top in 5 of 8 surveys released since then. As a result, she is now projected, by a very narrow 1-point margin, to earn a takeover for Democrats.
Hers is the lone bright blue race on the 2014 Senate election map. But it is, nevertheless, a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for Senate Democrats. Republicans boast eight projected takeovers as of today with seats from Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia set to move to the red team if the current numbers hold.
All those projected pickups would give Republicans a 52-seat majority in the Senate - even with Georgia going blue - except for an Independent named Greg Orman. His campaign in Kansas has been a major thorn in the GOP's side this year. Though it appeared Republican incumbent Pat Roberts was gaining ground after Orman enjoyed a big lead a few weeks ago, the latest Kansas Senate poll shows Orman maintaining a small but clear lead.
Moving on to the gubernatorial elections, party switchers have abounded this week with at least one showing up each day. On Monday, Republican Tom Foley started off the barrage by moving ahead of Democratic incumbent Dan Malloy in the Connecticut governor election. Tuesday showed Democrat John Hickenlooper losing ground to Bob Beauprez in Colorado's governor race.
Wednesday, it was another Republican challenger's opportunity to push into the lead. This time, Charlie Baker took an unexpected advantage over Martha Coakley in the open Massachusetts governor election. The next day, Hickenlooper regained the upper hand in Colorado, but Democratic Governor Pat Quinn lost his lead to Bruce Rauner in Illinois. Finally, on Friday, Republican Sam Brownback, embattled Kansas governor, fell behind Paul Davis again after a short run on top there.
With the week's dust settled, the projected balance of power among the nation's governorships now stands at 28 Republicans, 21 Democrats and 1 Independent. Despite nine projected takeovers, that tally represents very little change in the current makeup. Republicans are set to lose a net one chair with the net gain going to Independent Bill Walker in the Alaska governor election.
Well, that's enough for today. Don't expect everyday's countdown post to be as lengthy as this one - I had a lot to cover to get us all up to date. However, do expect some electoral observations from me each morning from now until Election Day. So, y'all come back, y'hear?
Connecticut is colored red on today's 2014 governor election map thanks
to Rasmussen's latest survey which shows Republican challenger
Tom Foley enjoying a 7 point lead over incumbent Democrat Dan Malloy. The margin is unchanged from Rasmussen's
previous poll released back in August, but it differs considerably from Public Policy Polling's latest published just over a week ago.
That poll gave Malloy a 6 point lead.
Situated almost perfectly between those two polls is a survey from Quinnipiac pegging the race at a dead-even 46-46 tie.
It's probably safe to conclude from these three polls that the 2014 Connecticut governor election will be a
nail-biter. If you'll remember, these two gentlemen fought one of the nation's closet gubernatorial races four years ago with
Malloy earning a scant 6400-vote victory out of over 1 million votes cast.
I'm looking forward to another poll testing this race to see which whether the projected outcome moves closer to Rasmussen
or Public Policy Polling. For now, though, the GOP can add a projected statehouse takeover. However, even with this
change, they still stand to lose a net two governorships next month. The gubernatorial tally stands today at
27 Republicans, 22 Democrats and
One of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country comes out of the Badger State. Incumbent Republican Scott
Walker is trying to fend off a very strong challenge from educator Mary Burke. Scott has a history of surviving tough election
challenges, having earned an historic recall election victory here in 2012. But this year could see a change of fortune for
Democrats bent on seeing the union antagonist overthrown.
Election Projection currently projects Burke to win the
2014 Wisconsin governor election by a scant 0.5%. With
just two polls included in the calculations, her slim margin clearly indicates a toss-up situation. However, after seeing Walker
best her in four out of five Wisconsin governor polls released in
September, Burke's lead likely reveals a bit of momentum in her direction since the beginning of October.
I hope more polling is done on this race over the next 2 1/2 weeks. We really need more data to get a better sense of
how this race is unfolding down the stretch. And I imagine that's what we'll get since the Walker-Burke matchup should be one of
the closest and most closely-watched races in the
2014 governor elections.
Whew! That was a lot of work! Today's update is posted - finally - and the House numbers have shifted a bit more in
the GOP's favor. Republicans are now projected to extend their majority by a net 6 seats. That's one more than they
were projected to gain yesterday. The new member of the red team is seeking a spot in Congress from
Maine's 2nd district. Republican Bruce Poliquin edges just ahead
of Democrat Emily Cain for this open seat.
Coincidentally, the man who currently owns that seat makes the update write-up today for reclaiming the lead in the
Maine governor election. Democrat Mike Michaud is trying to deny
incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage a second term and is looking like a good bet to do so if the latest numbers hold up.
A Bangor Daily News/Ipsos poll released this week puts him 6 points ahead of LePage, 42-36, with Independent Eliot Cutler earning a
Countering the Democratic pickup in Maine, Republican Sam Brownback earns a Weak GOP Hold rating
in his bid to retain the top job in Kansas. Over the summer, it looked like Brownback was one of the more vulnerable sitting
governors this election. Recent polling data shows the race
Even if we cast a suspicious eye on a partisan poll and a Fox News poll giving him leads of three and six
points, respectively, the latest Public Policy offering, which puts Democrat Paul Davis up by just one, indicates a much closer race than their September poll showing Davis up 6. We'll see if Brownback can keep his momentum going as Election Day nears, but it's clear
he's in much better shape than he was a month ago.
I've been able to secure access to the website today and post new numbers. Three party switchers are on the board after
adding the results of today's poll report in the projection calculations. They include two
governorships, both of which have flipped from Weak GOP Gain to Weak DEM Hold, and one House race which represents a new projected GOP takeover.
In the 2014 Massachusetts governor election, Democratic nominee Martha Coakley reclaims the lead over
Republican Charlie Baker on the strength of
two polls this week giving her small leads of two and four points. The other
gubernatorial flip also comes from New England where Incumbent Democrat Dan Malloy vaults back in front thanks to a
Public Policy survey showing him up by 6 over Republican Tom Foley in the Connecticut governor election.
The lone party switcher in the House comes from the California CD-52 election. Republican Carl DeMaio
polls ahead of incumbent Democratic incumbent Scott Peters in this competitive district by an average of 0.5%. The narrow
advantage is enough to barely overcome a Democratic-leaning 0.4% generic polling adjustment. With this change, the GOP is projected to extend their majority by a net 5 seats in the current 2014 House election projections.
Before I get into today's numbers, I want to give you a programming note. I am currently traveling and will have limited access to the website this week. So, I'm not sure how much updating I will be able to do between now and the weekend. However,
regular daily updates will resume on Saturday and, barring unforeseen circumstances, continue uninterrupted until Election Day.
Now back to today's new numbers. In the Senate, Democratic Senator Mark Udall has moved back in front of his
Republican challenger, Congressman Cory Gardner in the
Colorado Senate election. Even though Republicans are also
projected to lose the seat in Kansas to Independent Greg Orman, the projected majority remains in their sights thanks to 7 other
Democratic seats currently leaning their way.
Among the nation's statehouses, the
2014 Georgia governor election, briefly projected to go to Democrat
Jason Carter, flips back to red today with Republican Nathan Deal two points in the lead. The GOP holds the majority of
governorships, but that edge is projected to decrease with both the Democrats and an Independent (in Alaska) draining one state
executive from the Republican fold.
Finally, we come to the House where we find the third of today's party switchers. A favorable WeAskAmerica
Illinois 12th District poll gives Republican Mike Bost a razor thin 0.2%
advantage over incumbent Democrat Bill Enyart in the
Illinois 12 District election. The new projected GOP takeover
would give Republicans a net 4-seat gain in the House, shifting the current balance of power to.
238 Republicans and 197 Democrats.
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
This article was published Tuesday, September 9 on PJMedia.com.
How primary results have affected the parties' general election prospects.
Republicans enjoyed a hurricane force wind at their backs going into the 2010 elections. On Election Day, GOP candidates running for seats in the House realized the full potential of the wave they were riding by earning a massive and historic 63-seat net gain. However, Republican candidates vying for their place in the Senate did not. Sure, they did well, picking up six seats in the upper chamber, but they missed out on several additional opportunities.
Amy Walter, National Editor for CookPolitical.com, points out a major reason why. She writes:
In 2010, in what was a "wave year" just two of the seven toss-up races went to Republicans, though public polling predicted that four of those seven (57 percent) would flip to the GOP. Terrible GOP candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and Ken Buck were the real culprits in the GOP underperformance that year.
Party nominees matter - even in wave elections. So, with the primary season drawing to a close, let's take a look at the candidates from each party who made it past the qualifying round and evaluate how those choices impact their party's prospects for success in Senate and gubernatorial elections this November.
Thirty-six Senate seats are up for grabs this year. Twenty-three of them are non-competitive races which the incumbent party is very likely to retain. The remaining thirteen seats are either competitive or non-competitive projected takeovers (South Dakota, for example). Coincidentally, thirty-six governorships, of which 14 are currently competitive, are also on tap. Looking at the primary lineups for these competitive races, we see that they fall into three different categories.
Incumbent Running Seven senators, 6 Democrats and 1 Republican, are seeking reelection in competitive races this year. The Democrats are Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Udall (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Kay Hagan (NC). They are joined by Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY). Eleven incumbent governors are also facing competitive reelection bids in 2014. They consist of 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.
Non-competitive Primaries Thirteen Senate primary contests from eight different states and twelve gubernatorial primaries in eleven states held primaries that were, well, no contest. I won't list them all here, but it is worthy to note that in some cases - Arkansas GOP Senate, Georgia DEM Senate, for example - having a non-competitive primary meant the nominee was the top choice of the party from the outset. In other cases - Michigan GOP Senate, Montana DEM Senate - the absence of primary competition resulted from the best choice deciding against running.
The first two categories are included for completeness. However, these races are not very useful when evaluating the role of primary voters in their parties' prospects. Their impact is gleaned best from races which featured a primary election in doubt.
Competitive Primaries Let's take a look at several of these primaries race by race and grade primary voters on whether they have improved or impaired their parties' chances by the choice they made.
Alaska Senate (GOP) Republicans here are salivating at the opportunity to unseat Mark Begich in this conservative state. Three high profile candidates vied for that honor. GOP voters made the right choice by selecting Former Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan. While Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell would have given Begich a strong challenge, Republicans avoided a concession by not picking lightning rod Joe Miller. GRADE: AGeorgia Senate (GOP) Businessman David Perdue and Congressman Jack Kingston got the most votes in the primary election. However, since neither was able to eclipse the requisite 50% +1 to avoid a runoff, Georgia Republicans had to return to the ballot box a month later to finalize their pick. They get high marks for picking Perdue, but the prolonged runoff period subjected the nominee to more intra-party conflict and gave Democrat Michelle Nunn a longer grace period. GRADE: BIowa Senate (GOP) The biggest accomplishment by GOP primary voters here was to avoid having the state convention decide their nominee. Joni Ernst, who has an enviable bio well-suited to run for public office, captured more than enough votes to earn the nomination outright. A convention-brokered selection could have resulted in an untenable general election option. GRADE: ANorth Carolina Senate (GOP) Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan is one of the more vulnerable incumbents in the Senate this cycle, and Tarheel Republicans had at least three viable options who were faring well, pre-primary, against her in the polls. Thom Tillis, the GOP establishment candidate, prevailed, avoiding a potentially damaging runoff in the process. While Tea Party fans aren't as keen on the career politician as they would have been with either physician Greg Brannon or Pastor Mark Harris, Tillis is an electable choice in the general election - and avoiding that runoff is a big positive. GRADE: A-Colorado Governor (GOP) Primary voters on the Republican side get high marks for not nominating unelectable Tom Tancredo. They settled on Bob Beauprez, 2006 gubernatorial nominee, by just 3 points over Tancredo in a four-way race. And while Beauprez was not impressive in his failed bid for governor 8 years ago, he has seemed a stronger candidate so far this year. GRADE: A-Hawaii Governor (DEM) Democratic voters in the Aloha state made history this year by handing Neil Abercrombie the largest primary defeat of a sitting governor in U.S. history. Judging from pre-primary polling, they made a great move in doing so. As a result, they have improved their chances of keeping this deeply blue state in the fold. State Senator David Ige still trails Republican nominee Duke Aiona, Jr. in the polls (ed. note: not anymore), but he has the potential of staging the comeback Abercrombie could not. GRADE: A+Illinois Governor (GOP) Bruce Rauner has the funds to finance his campaign for governor. That's important in a state that contains the expensive Chicago media market. Also, as a political newcomer, he doesn't have the track record the other Republican contenders have. That's likely a good thing as well in this race against a wily, battle-tested incumbent like Democrat Pat Quinn. GRADE: AWisconsin Governor (DEM) Democrats would like to get rid of Scott Walker perhaps more than any other governor. He survived their recall election in 2012 and has taken steps to undermine their power base in the state. Democratic primary voters selected educator Mary Burke to take him on in 2014. Judging from how she is performing in the polls so far, it looks like they have made a good choice. As of this writing, Election Projection shows Burke defeating Walker by a fraction. GRADE: A
That's a lot of good grades! Unlike the Republican primary disasters noted by Walter, this year's primary results show that voters from both parties have done a good job picking the right nominees to make the most of their general election opportunities.
Yesterday, voters went to the polls in the last four primaries of the 2014 Election season (if you don't count Louisiana's open primary on
Election Day). The final four states were Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, where Scott Brown won
the GOP nomination to set up his much anticipated battle against Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. The other
noteworthy result from yesterday was John Tierney's loss in the Democratic primary in Massachusetts' 6th District. Tierney's
defeat marked the first time this election that a Democratic incumbent failed to survive a primary challenge.
I'm always glad when no more primaries remain on the
calendar because that means I can finalize all the races I'm
tracking here at Election Projection. This election, I'm tracking 116 races in all -
44 House and
36 Governors. The projection update I'll post later this evening
will include all finalized matchups - no more undetermined candidates.
So today we begin the 8-week sprint to the finish line. The year is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans and signs
are starting to indicate it may be "wave-worthy" yet. Regardless, I hope you'll make Election Projection a routine source for your
election news and numbers. I'll be updating the projections with new polls every day, Monday-Saturday, from now until my final
projections on Election Eve. Strap in and hold on - it's going to be an exciting ride!
A second poll dump from the collaboration between CBS, The New York Times and YouGov has shaken up the numbers here
at Election Projection, producing a total of eight Senate rating changes. However, despite all the movement, the projected balance of
power in the 2014 Senate elections remains unchanged at 51-46-3.
The Iowa Senate election is back in the Democratic fold with Bruce Braley
forging a small lead over Republican Joni Ernst, but Democrat incumbent Mark Begich is now projected to lose the
Alaska Senate election to Republican Dan Sullivan.
Here is the list of rating changes in today's projection update:
In addition to the eight Senate rating changes - which split evenly between the parties - the list also includes a change in the
Oklahoma governor election. GOP Governor Mary Fallin moves comfortably ahead of Democratic
challenger Joe Dorman.
Last week saw two major developments in the elections this year. In Alaska, Democrats abandoned their frontal assault on
Republican Governor Sean Parnell and merged their nominee, Byron Mallott, into the ticket of Independent Bill Walker. By
engineering a deal where Mallott becomes Walker's lt. governor candidate, Democrats hope to pool the Democratic and other non-GOP
vote to overwhelm Parnell's support and unseat the incumbent.
In a three-way race, Parnell held a large lead
in the polls but struggled to get to 40% with the combined Mallott/Walker vote edging
into the low 40's. The new two-man race between Parnell and Walker has been polled but once - a prior Public Policy Polling
survey. Parnell's new found challenge is highlighted by the poll which gives him a scant 1-point lead over Walker, 41-40.
This race has moved from Solid GOP Hold to a much more competitive Weak GOP Hold.
The other significant shift occurred in the Kansas Senate election
where Democratic Chad Taylor announced he was withdrawing from the race. After Kansas Secretary of State Kris Koback (R) ruled Taylor would not be removed from the ballot, the Democrat reiterated that he would not serve if elected. The net of
his decision is that Republicans find themselves with yet another very challenging race in this deep red state.
Now, in addition to trying to save embattled
Governor Sam Brownback, Sunflower State Republicans must also fret over a two-way
race between their incumbent, Senator Pat Roberts, and upstart Independent Greg Orman. As in the race for Alaska governor,
I could find but one poll testing the new matchup.
It isn't good news for the red team. I'm doubtful the poll's findings will be confirmed by subsequent polling, but for now, Orman
takes a commanding 10-point lead in the 2014 Kansas Senate election.
Until we have further polling data, this race moves from a Mod GOP Hold to a
Strong IND Gain, our first Independent pick-up. The projected tally in the Senate now stands at
51 Republicans, 46 Democrats, and
3 Independents. As you can see, Republicans are still projected to take the majority, but
Kansas' sudden competitiveness complicates their efforts to make that quest a reality.
With Labor Day, summer break's symbolic end, behind us, the 2014 election season is underway in earnest. The next 9 weeks
will witness ever-increasing interest in the upcoming elections as part-time political observers start turning their attention to who is
running for office - and who's projected to win.
So, if you're looking for a good time to take a baseline measurement, today's
numbers here at Election Projection provide a useful starting point. Will this cycle fulfill its current promise of a
or will Republicans start to see a wave building as interest builds and likely voter models become better defined? As they say, only
time will tell, but I hope you'll make Election Projection a daily stop as we keep our finger on the pulse of the American electorate, 2014 edition.
This one comes as a surprise to me. The Boston Globe
has released a poll showing Republican Charlie Baker ahead of
Democrat Martha Coakley in the race for
Massachusetts Governor. This is just one poll and
Massachusetts remains extremely liberal. However, this race might be worth keeping a close eye on. The primaries
here aren't until September 9 - the final day of the
2014 primary season - but Coakley and Baker are heavily favored
Point to note: Coakley was Scott Brown's opponent when he surprised the nation in January, 2010 by winning the open Senate
seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and ushering in the Republican wave that year. Perhaps she's headed toward a similar
defeat in November. Again, it's way too early to make any such predictions - especially in a state like Massachusetts.
Look for updated numbers this evening after I publish today's Election Projection. Coakley will still be projected to win, but
the race looks much closer than previously calculated.
Scott Walker, tried and true political survivor, faces yet another stiff challenge in the
2014 Wisconsin governor election. You may remember
Walker's unprecedented electoral feat back in 2010 when he
survived a gubernatorial recall election.
His political opponents are more resolved than ever to unseat the Republican in this bluish battleground state, and recent polling data
indicates they have a decent chance of succeeding. This week's survey published by Marquette University gives the incumbent
47%, two points less than his Democratic opponent, educator Mary Burke. Rasmussen's poll from earlier this month put Walker
one point ahead of Burke, but the average of the two pushes Burke into the lead and gives her a projected
Weak DEM Gain in the race.
This flip is the second for Democrats in today's
governor projections and brings the projected tally to
28 Republicans and 22 Democrats. These numbers
represent a net 1-seat gain for the blue team.
Yesterday, Republicans in Arizona settled on state Treasurer Doug Ducey to face Democrat Fred DuVal in the battle to replace
term-limited Governor Jan Brewer (R). Before the primary, Election Projection carried a preliminary projection of
Mod GOP Hold for this race. Now that the nominees are known, I've calculated an "official"
projection that is based on actual polling data.
The only two polls I have found testing a Ducey-DuVal matchup are from early in the year. Nevertheless, they are what I
have to go on, so they'll have to do until other polls are conducted. For the time being, the projection calculations land this race
in Weak DEM Gain territory with DuVal
projected to win by 1.5%. My hunch is that DuVal's lead will
last just long enough for a couple more polls to be released. Despite Arizona's bright blue color on EP's
2014 governor election map, I view this race as Ducey's to lose.