Presidential Ratings Changes – Eric Cunningham
- Michigan – Likely Democratic > Leans Democratic
In our last ratings update, I mentioned the possibility of moving Michigan in our presidential ratings. Over the last week, there have been further indications the state has narrowed somewhat. We’re moving the state back to Leans Democratic out of an abundance of caution.
While we still see Joe Biden as the favorite here, he’s no longer the prohibitive one and it’s a more viable target than states like Nevada (which we rate as Likely Democratic). Democrats remain fairly well-positioned and have maintained leads in most polls, however, so a Democratic win here is still more likely than not.
We’re keeping an eye on other states as well. In Indiana, a state we have listed as Safe Republican, the exact state of the race in the suburban 5th district remains unclear. Some polls have shown Biden with a considerable lead in this Trump+12 seat. Indiana is an incredibly hard state for Democrats to succeed in at this point, but dominance in suburbia would be a place to start. It is the only other state we can foresee moving to Likely Republican in the near future.
New Hampshire, meanwhile, remains a poorly-polled state. Current polling averages show a substantial lead for Biden, ranging anywhere from eight to ten points. Further complicating things is the lack of quality pollsters and the state’s extremely elastic nature. If additional polls show this sort of lead, it could be a state we move to Likely Democratic.
A Note On Our Ratings
Some might question why we have states like Arizona, Georgia, or North Carolina as Tossups while many rust belt states are Leans Democratic. The answer comes from a phenomenon we’re starting to see where Democratic fortunes are declining fairly rapidly in many of the elastic, working-class midwestern states.
While Democrats are making progress in the sun belt, their gains haven’t been nearly as rapid or assured. It’s not impossible that Minnesota and Texas are only separated by five percentage points or so; the rust belt states aren’t simply snapping back to exactly where they used to be before 2016.
Senate Ratings Changes – Adam Trencher and Kraz Greinetz
- Minnesota – Safe Democratic > Likely Democratic
Our only Senate change this week is towards the GOP. We’re moving Minnesota’s Senate race to Likely Democratic due to recent polling in the state. While we haven’t had a lot of high-quality polling, the polling we do have shows a close race. Both presidential candidates are investing in the state, signaling that they think it is at least somewhat competitive. We believe Tina Smith is likely to outrun Joe Biden, but the race at the top of the ticket appears close enough that we’re moving this contest onto the board.
House Ratings Changes – Harrison Lavelle
These changes will be explained, along with our other ones, in tonight’s edition of The Report. We’ll be going live at 7:00 eastern, so be sure to tune in.
Gubernatorial Ratings Changes – Eric Cunningham
There has been little change in the gubernatorial races over the last month. The biggest development came in Vermont, where Progressive David Zuckerman, as expected, emerged victorious in both the Democratic and Progressive primaries. Incumbent Republican Phil Scott remains the considerable favorite here; he is wildly popular and Zuckerman is both controversial and a perennial under-performer. The race remains at Safe Republican, as does neighboring New Hampshire. Given the limited number of competitive races, we’re not expecting to see rapid shifts in these races.
An honorable mention goes to Puerto Rico. While we aren’t covering the territories in our ratings, this race is notable for one reason: it’s now a guaranteed flip. In the primary for the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP), Pedro Pierluisi defeated Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced. Unlike Garced, who is affiliated with the Republican Party, Pierluisi is affiliated with the Democratic Party. Because the nominee for the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), Carlos Delgado Altieri, is also affiliated with the Democratic Party, the next Governor of Puerto Rico is almost certainly going to be a Democrat.