The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up


Archive for Pollapalooza


Pollapalooza Saturday

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Georgia: This Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial runoff between Sarah Palin’s Karen Handel and Mike Huckabee’s Nathan Deal is too close to call, according to a new poll by InsiderAdvantage. The two are tied with 46% of the vote, with 8% still undecided. (Polling conducted 8/5, 514 Likely GA Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

Michigan: The voters had barely finished casting their ballots in the Wolverine State gubernatorial primaries when Razzmatazz Reports took their first snapshot of the general election contest between Democrat Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder.  The GOP businessman leads the Lansing mayor 49%-37%. The 12-point margin is unchanged from the one previous look the same pollster took at the then-hypothetical matchup in early June, when Snyder led 42%-30%. (Polling conducted 8/4, 500 Likely MI Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Rhode Island: A new Brown University survey of the Ocean State’s three-way gubernatorial contest finds Democrat Frank Caprio and Independent Lincoln Chafee in a virtual tie with Caprio at 28% and Chafee at 27%. Republican John Robitaille is a virtual non-factor in the contest garnering only 8%. Nearly a third of respondents remain undecided. (Polling conducted 7/27-30, 702 RI voters, MoE +/-3.7%)

South Dakota: The prolific gang over at RazzleDazzle Reports takes another look at the South Dakota race and find Republican Dennis Daugaard opening a more than two-to-one advantage over Democratic challenger Scott Heidepriem, 59%-27%. It has been nearly four decades since a Democrat won there, but can the gap really be that big? (Polling conducted 8/3, 500 Likely SD Voters, MoE +/- 4%)


Pollapalooza Thursday

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Alabama: The gang over at RazzleDazzle Reports takes their first post-run-off look at the Alabama guber contest between Republican Robert Bentley and Democrat Ron Sparks and finds the Bentley with an imposing 20-point lead. (Polling conducted 7/22, 500 AL Likely Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

California: Jerry Brown’s lead over Meg Whitman in the Golden State gubernatorial contest has been cut in half since May when he held a 12-point advantage.  Neither candidate is particularly well-liked, according to Public Policy Polling’s latest numbers. From the pollster’s blog:

Brown’s lead is in no way a reflection that he is particularly popular or well liked by California voters. Only 41% have a favorable opinion of him, while 43% view him in a negative light. Republicans dislike him (74%) more than Democrats like him (just 63%) and independents see him unfavorably by a 40/44 margin.

Brown’s numbers certainly continue to look good compared to Whitman’s though. Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of her and 50% see her unfavorably. Just like Brown, voters across party lines dislike her (66%) more than voters within her own party (59%) like her. What’s most remarkable in Whitman’s numbers though is how independents feel about her. A whooping 61% say they have an unfavorable opinion to only 21% who see her positively.

Another nugget from the poll: a majority (52%) feel there should be a limit to how much money a candidate can contribute to their own campaign. Californians have a long history of rejecting wealthy self-funders who try to buy Senate seats or the Governor’s mansion. Will eMeg be added to the list? (Polling conducted 7/23-25, 614 CA voters, MoE +/- 3.95%)

Florida: Rick Scott seems on the verge of successfully buying the GOP gubernatorial nod, according to the latest survey from Quinnipiac. He leads the one-time front-runner (and establishment backed) AG Bill McCollum by a 43-32% margin. The lead is similar to the what the Q-Poll measured in early June but both Republicans have seen their unfavorable numbers rocket up (McCollum up from 19% to 34% and Scott up from 12% to 26%, meaning the biggest beneficiary may be Democrat Alex Sink. (Polling conducted 7/22-27, 760 Likely FL GOP Voters, MoE +/- 3.6%)

Nevada: The gang over at Razzmattaz Reports has the shocker of the day. Rory (reid) seems to have gained some traction in his gubernatorial matchup against former federal Judge Brian Sandoval. While the Republican still has a double-digit lead (50-40%), it’s much smaller than the 21-point margin the same outfit found only a month ago. Could Sharron Angle be a drag on the entire GOP ticket in the Silver State? (Polling conducted 7/27/10, 750 Likely NV GOP Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

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Pollapalooza Tuesday

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Maryland: Gonzalez Research has new numbers on the O’Malley v Ehrlich rematch which show a tight contest, with the Democratic incumbent holding a very slight (although statistically insignificant) 45-42% edge. O’Malley sports a respectable (especially these days) job approval rating of 48-39%. The pollster points out that for Ehrlich to win in the overwhelmingly Democratic state he needs to get between 25%-30% of Democratic voters. Currently, he wins over just 19%.  (Polling conducted 7/13-21, 807 MD registered voters, MoE +/-3.5%)

Massachusetts: The latest numbers on the Bay State’s three-candidate guber contest comes from the prolific pollsters over at RazzleDazzle Reports.  They show a race unchanged since the last time they checked in with incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick holding a 6 point lead over Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill attracting support in the mid-teens. (Polling conducted 7/22, 500 Likely MA Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Oregon: Chris Dudley maintains a slim lead (47%-44%) over Democratic guber nominee John Kitzhaber, according to the latest numbers from Razzmattazz Reports. (Polling conducted 7/26, 750 Likely OR Voters, MoE +/- 4%)

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Pollapalooza Saturday

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Arizona: Accidental Governor Jan Brewer continues her demagoguing ways straight to a gubernatorial victory  in her own right. A survey from  Razzmattazz Reports that Brewer has opened nearly a 20-point lead over AG Terry Goddard who has seen his chances of winning the governor’s office slip as the governor’s national profile has risen as she’s become the GOP’s barricade the borders leader. (Polling conducted 7/21, 500 AZ Likely Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Florida: While it’s not exactly a poll of the guber contest, it may have implications if Bud Chiles’ third party bid begins to gain traction. According to RazzleDazzle, 41% of Floridians are more likely to vote for an Independent this fall.

Rhode Island: Now that the Democrats have a presumptive nominee in Frank Caprio after Patrick Lynch abandoned his guber bid, RazzleDazzle Reports has the first polling out and finds that Linc Chafee still wins in each 3-way scenario. (Polling conducted 7/21, 500 RI Likely Voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Tennessee: Mason-Dixon has a poll of the GOP gubernatorial primary showing that the contest appears to be Nashville Mayor Bill Haslam’s to lose. He leads his two main rivals, Rep. Zach Wamp and state Sen. Ron Ramsey by double digits. The race (Polling conducted 7/19-7/21, 400 TN GOP Likely Voters, MoE +/- 5%)


Pollapalooza Thursday

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Arkansas: A poll from Razzmattaz Reports shows a much closer race than the conventional wisdom anticipates for incumbent Democrat Mike Beebe. They’ve got little-known restauranteur Jim Keet within 10 points of the popular Democrat, at 50-40%. Before dismissing this poll, it should be noted this is the second public poll showing Beebe falling to the 50% threshold. Could the Democratic brand be dragging him down? (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 AR likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Florida: Public Policy Polling has Democrat Alex Sink ahead of both potential Republican candidates, Bill McCollum and Rick Scott. She leads the former congresscritter (and Clinton impeachment manager) McCollum, 37-23% and the former healthcare executive Scott, 36-30%. Former Democrat Bud Chiles, whose independent candidacy could pose a problem for Sink, is currently polling in the mid-teens. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 900 FL voters, MoE +/- 3.26%)

The Democrat’s lead may be more a function of the Republicans sinking rather than Sink rising. The intense, negative campaign being waged on Sunshine State television has seriously weakened both GOP candidates. Of the four candidates, only Sink boasts a net positive favorability rating. From PPP’s press release:

The Republican primary battle is taking its toll on both McCollum and Scott. Both candidates are undoubtedly better known than Sink, but it is not necessarily in their favor. 41% of Florida voters have an unfavorable opinion of Scott and 51% have an unfavorable opinion of McCollum.

Georgia: The busiest pollster in America has a quick look at the potential Georgia gubernatorial matchups. Only 24 hours after the primary ended (and the GOP run-off began), RazzleDazzle Reports that former congresscritter Nathan Deal is the stronger Republican against Democratic nominee Roy Barnes. Deal leads Barnes 49-43% while Karen Handel and Barnes are essentially tied, at 45-44%. (Polling conducted 7/21, 500 GA likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)

Idaho: Could Republican incumbent Butch Otter actually face a serious challenge from Democrat Keith Allred? Razzmattaz Reports – essentially the only polling outfit looking at the race in scarlet red Idaho – shows Allred creeping up on Otter. Two months ago he trailed by 22 points. He’s shaved 5 points off that deficit and now trails 53-37%. It’s also important to note that Allred has actually been outraising Otter. (Polling conducted 7/15, 500  ID likely voters, Moe +/- 4.5%)

Nevada: Will the son be paying for the sins of the father? It appears that while Reid the Elder may survive to serve another term in the US Senate, his kid Rory will be the Reid Silver State voters punish at the polls this November. PPP has dismal numbers for Reid the Younger in his gubernatorial contest against former federal judge Brian Sandoval, 52-38%. (Polling conducted 7/16-18, 630 NV voters, MoE +/- 3.9%)

New York: Andrew Cuomo continues to be the safest bet for Democrats as they look toward the 2010 elections. A survey from RazzleDazzle Reports shows Cuomo holding a better than two-to-one advantage over both Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino. Cuomo, a well-known quantity in the Empire State remains astonishingly popular in a year where politicians of all stripes are targets of voter rage. He’s sporting a 64-33% favorable/unfavorable number. (Polling conducted 7/20, 500 NY likely voters, MoE +/- 4.5%)