Saturday, November 06, 2010

2011 and 2012 Gubernatorial Predictions

Most recent updates: 8/27/12: DE, NH, NC, WA

Three states will hold their gubernatorial elections in 2011 and eleven will in 2012.

Delaware 2012

Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: Jack Markell (incumbent)
Republican: Terry Spence, former state Speaker of the House?
Overview: (11/6/10) Markell has had a very successful first term in office and should cruise to victory in blue-state Delaware.
(8/27/12) It's hard to even find information on this race. This suggests Markell has nothing to worry about.

Indiana 2012
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Congressman Mike Pence (incumbent Mitch Daniels term limited)
Democrat: Former Speaker of the state House John Gregg
Overview: (11/6/10) This is shaping up to be the most interesting of the 2012 races for Governor. Incumbent Daniels is term-limited, opening the door for rising Republican star Mike Pence. Former Senator Bayh may weigh in for the Democrats, who can expect a good turnout in Indiana in 2012. One of the biggest surprises of 2008 was President Obama's victory over John McCain in the Hoosier State.
(6/9/12) Pence will cruise to victory.

Kentucky 2011
Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Steve Beshear (incumbent)
Republican: State Senate President David Williams?
Overview: (1/16/11) Democrats are never going to have an easy time in red-state Kentucky, but I've yet to see any bold predictions that Republicans are going to topple Beshear this year. His polling numbers are solid.

Louisiana 2011
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Bobby Jindal (incumbent)
Democrat: ?
Overview: (1/16/11) Huge numbers of Democratic voters left Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and never went back. Given the state's hard swing to the right, the Louisiana Democratic Party is having a difficult time finding candidates willing to be sacrificial lambs in statewide elections.

Mississippi 2011
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Lt Governor Phil Bryant (Haley Barbour term limited)
Democrat: Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree?
Overview: (1/16/11) Phil Bryant is a very seasoned politician, and about as close to a sure-fire winner as you'll ever see in an open-seat race with a contested primary.

Missouri 2012
Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: Jay Nixon (incumbent)
Republican: Businessman Dave Spence
Overview: (11/6/10) This one is tough to gauge. President Obama nearly carried Missouri in 2008, but he is not currently popular is this part of the country. That may prove troublesome for incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon.
(6/9/12) Given that Republican prospects in Missouri this year are pretty good, it's strange that their gubernatorial candidate will be a nobody like Dave Spence. Nixon has nothing to worry about.
(8/27/12) Nixon was leading by a wide margin even before the Akin disaster crippled the GOP ticket in Missouri.

Montana 2012
Rating: Toss up
Democrat: State Attorney General Steve Bullock (incumbent Brian Schweitzer term limited)
Republican: Former congressman Rick Hill
Overview: (11/6/10) This open-seat race is anybody's game, but the northern plains are more friendly to Republicans.
(6/9/12) Current polling shows this race as a dead heat. I think Bullock has a slight edge. Rick Hill has won statewide before, but he only managed 34% of the vote in the GOP primary.

New Hampshire 2012
Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Former state Senator Margaret Hassan or former state Senator Jackie Cilley (incumbent John Lynch retiring)
Republican: Attorney Ovide Lamontagne or former state Representative Kevin Smith
Overview: (11/6/10) Lynch emerged victorious in 2010 against a tough Republican challenge. Things will probably be easier in 2012 when he seeks a third 2-year term.
(6/9/12) Ovide Lamontagne is a New Hampshire attorney who's been running for office for two decades without winning anything. Polls show him tied with either likely Democratic candidate. Lamontagne is just not a strong candidate, and I think New Hampshire is likely to go blue this year.
(8/27/12) The most recent PPP poll shows that a Hassan versus Lamontagne is most likely, with Hassan leading the Republican by 2 points for the November election. So far so good.

North Carolina 2012
Rating: Leans Republican takeover
Democrat: Former Charlotte mayor Walter Dalton (incumbent Beverly Perdue retiring)
Republican: Lt Governor Pat McCrory
Libertarian: Perennial candidate Barbara Howe
Overview: (11/6/10) Governor Perdue's approval ratings are nothing to write home about. She's likely to face a stiff Republican challenge. Many were shocked when President Obama carried North Carolina and Perdue won a toss up race in 2008. Can it happen again?
(6/9/12) Polls show this race as competitive, but Dalton is a much better known candidate. I think Obama may be able to beat Romney here this year, but the cards are stacked against the blue team in the gubernatorial race.
(8/27/12) Libertarian Barbara Howe is polling around 7%. Virtually all the votes she would get would be siphoned off from McCrory, giving Dalton a shot at winning this race. So far though, Dalton is polling remarkably badly.

North Dakota 2012
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Jack Dalrymple (incumbent)
Democrat: State Senator Ryan Taylor
Overview: (11/6/10) Dalrymple has just inherited the Governor's office from Senator-elect John Hoeven. He'd have to screw things up pretty badly to not win a term in his own right in conservative North Dakota.
(6/9/12) Dalrymple has raised enough money in this race to silence any doubts about his winning (if there was any doubt in the first place).

Utah 2012
Rating: Likely Republican hold
Republican: Gary Herbert (incumbent)
Democrat: retired General Peter Cooke
Overview: I had a dream where a Democrat won a statewide race in Utah. I also had a dream where it rained White Castle cheeseburgers. It's 1,600 miles from my house to the nearest White Castle.

Vermont 2012
Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: Peter Shumlin (incumbent)
Republican: State Senator Randy Brock
Overview: Shumlin won a very close open-seat race in 2010, but he probably has an easy path to reelection in 2012.
(6/9/12) Shumlin might double his opponent's vote total.

Washington 2012
Rating: Leans Democratic hold
Democrat: Congressman Jay Inslee (incumbent Christine Gregoire retiring)
Republican: State Attorney General Rob McKenna
Overview (11/6/10): In 2004, after multiple recounts, Christine Gregoire beat Dino Rossi by 129 votes out of more than 2.7 million cast. 2008 saw a wild rematch against Rossi, in which she beat him easily one day after the Seattle Post-Intelligencer all but guaranteed victory for Rossi. Gregoire may or may not run for a third term in 2012. The likely Republican candidate is already known however; Attorney General Rob McKenna has been grooming himself for the job for years.
(7/3/11) A new poll shows Inslee with a 3-point lead over McKenna. Unless something happens to Inslee late in the game that causes voters to abandon him, this race is already over. Obama crushed McCain in my home state by 17 points in 2008, and the number of crossover votes that McKenna might get from Obama voters in 2012 is nowhere near the number he would need to win this race.
(2/29/12) Please forgive my irrational exuberance over Inslee. McKenna now has a substantial lead in the polls. I'm also seeing his ads all over the darn place. I sort of get the impression that Inslee is using a rope-a-dope strategy and plans to come out fighting later in the contest. I certainly hope so.
(4/2/12) The very reliable polling firm PPP has this race as a tie. Considering the way McKenna has owned the media coverage so far, that has to be good news for Inslee.
(6/9/12) Documents show that while KcKenna was a King County Councilman, he illegally used his office for campaign activities. Whether or not this scandal will get a lot of attention remains to be seen.
(8/27/12) The most recent polls of this race show Inslee ahead. A recent SurveyUSA poll shows Obama leading Romney by 17 points here. If McKenna wants Obama voters to crossover and support him, he's got to make headlines. And he's just not doing that.

West Virginia 2012
Rating: Likely Democratic hold
Democrat: Earl Ray Tomblin (incumbent)
Republican: Businessman Bill Maloney
Overview: (11/6/10) As President of the West Virginia Senate, Tomblin inherited the Governor's mansion after Governor Manchin was elected to fill the remainder of the late, great Robert Byrd's Senate term. Tomblin was a member of the state Senate for 30 years. Presuming he wants to win a term as Governor in his own right, he's going to need his high name recognition and a lot of other resources, as President Obama is likely to lose West Virginia by a substantial margin.
(6/9/12) This race is a rematch of last year's special election, when Tomblin beat Maloney by 2.3%. President Obama may run very poorly here, but the only recent poll of this race shows Tomblin with a big lead.


Mike N said...

Speaking from Missouri, I'm going to say it's a likely D hold. Nixon is personally popular and gets a huge majority from the independents. Obama/McCain was close, Nixon/Hulshof was a blowout.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

Mike N, I hope you're right. Roy Blunt's blowout win over Carnahan this year was discouraging. Thanks, Joe

bigdawg said...

You're missing the Washington State Governor race. Gregoire has been a horrible Governor second term and has no chance at reelection. Inslee is seen as a dumb labrador, dodged constituents in town halls over Obamacare and is not real popular. McKenna is geeky looking, but smart as hell, honest, rock solid record. He will pull in Independents, Reagan Democrats (who don't like Gregoire) and will completely dominate Eastern Washington (farm country) votes. Latest polls show McKenna up +7. Also, Obama will lose large percentages of support from last election, decreasing the spillover votes of all D's. Many D voters will stay home, while R voters will go to the polls in record numbers. McKenna wins this easily and this heavily D state, while still supporting Obama for President, will flip and we will have our first Republican governor in decades.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

Bigdawg - Your analysis is interesting and McKenna does have a good chance of winning. In 2008 Obama beat McCain by 17 here, but Gregoire beat Rossi by only 6. That's pretty decent crossover support for Rossi by Obama voters. Right now, Obama is leading Romney in Washington by around 9, meaning that McKenna would only have to get about half the crossovers Rossi did to win.

LexiconNinja said...

Considering how much support Inslee got in the primary (compared to McKenna), I think King County will once again deliver this election to the Democrats. If you add in the strong Obama coattails that will have an effect in this race, McKenna's polling lead earlier this year looks like a desert oasis long since evaporated. Also, gay marriage is on the ballot this November, so expect liberals to come out harder than ever. I am not sure the church crowd can do much in Washington to counter-balance that effect as most Republicans here are of the Libertarian type, not the Southern Baptist variety.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

Lex - Washington's been waiting for years for McKenna to run for Governor. Now that it's finally happening, he can't seem to make headlines. Considering how far behind Romney is here, that's big trouble.