Governors' Race Summary for Oct. 23:
The governor's race in Iowa has been among the closest in the country, but three new polls indicate consistent momentum for Democrat Chet Culver. Polls last month showed a dead-even race, but in the last two weeks, the Des Moines Register showed Culver leading Republican Jim Nussle by seven points, Research 2000 had Culver ahead by five, and a Rasmussen Reports survey out today has him up by four. Culver currently leads by just three percentage points on our last-five-poll average (46.4 percent to 43.4 percent), but the average includes two polls from September. Iowa remains a tossup on our scorecard, but just barely. The momentum meter is definitely pointed in Culver's direction.
Governors' Race Summary for Oct. 9:
Jennifer Granholm has regained a narrow lead in her bid to win re-election as governor of Michigan. Two new surveys in Michigan released late last week showed Granholm leading Republican challenger Dick DeVos by six (Detroit News/EPIC-MRA) and eight points (Rasmussen). Polls in mid-September indicated a much narrower race, but the two new surveys were conducted after an Oct. 2 debate that four out of five debate viewers (on the EPIC-MRA survey) said Granholm won. Granholm's 4.4 percent lead on our last-five-poll average (47.8 percent to 43.4 percent) moves Michigan from tossup back to "lean Democrat."
Three polls released in Oregon in late September showed Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski either leading by five (Rasmussen and the Oregonian/KATU) or trailing by two (Riley Research). Kulongoski had led Republican challenger Ron Saxton by 10 or more points in most of the polls done over the summer, but a "heavy rotation" of negative attack ads from Saxton helped narrow Kulongoski's lead on our last-five-poll average to just over three points (42.4 percent to 39.0 percent). Oregon, which we initially rated strong Democrat, is now a tossup.
Governors' Race Summary Sept. 26:
Two Democrats are looking like sure things.
Democratic nominee Deval Patrick got a big bump from his primary victory in Massachusetts. New automated polls by SurveyUSA and Rasmussen show Patrick leading Republican Kerry Healey by margins of 39 percentage points and 33 percentage points, respectively. Massachusetts' classification as "strong" Democrat is looking even stronger and making us consider whether we need a category called "shut out the lights and go home."
Four new polls in Pennsylvania in the last week confirm that Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell has significantly widened his already wide lead over Republican challenger Lynn Swann. The new polls increase Rendell's lead on our last-five-poll average from 15 points a week ago to roughly 23 points today (57.2 percent to 34 percent).
Governors' Race Summary for Sept. 18:
Three new polls from Iowa shift our classification of the governor's race from lean Democrat to tossup. Our last five-poll average now shows Democrat Chet Culver leading Republican Jim Nussle by an average of less than two percentage points (42.6 percent to 41.2 percent). That thin average nearly matches the Des Moines Register poll released yesterday, which showed both candidates tied at 44 percent each.
A new poll in Nevada from Research 2000 shows Republican Jim Gibbons leading Democrat Dina Titus by seven points (45 percent to 38 percent). Since previous polls showed Gibbons leading by wider margins, our momentum arrow now points in the Democrats' direction, although we continue to rate the state as strong Republican.
We also note other changes to the Governor Scorecard since our initial update two weeks ago: Michigan shifted from tossup to lean Democrat; Colorado and Maine from lean to strong Democrat; and Alaska from lean to strong Republican.
Governors' Race Summary for Sept. 5:
Democratic candidates lead in nine of the 12 competitive governor's races we are currently tracking, including four states now led by Republican governors (Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, and Ohio). Republicans lead in two states (Nevada and Alaska), with Michigan rated as a tossup. Although we are not yet providing data for Massachusetts, where a primary will determine the Democratic nominee on Sept. 19, recent polls have shown the Democratic candidates leading the likely Republican candidate there as well.