Despite a fairly stable polling environment over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of movement underneath the surface. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw a wrench into the race. While the impact isn’t quite known yet, we’re keeping an eye on it as a factor in future ratings. As we get closer to election day, expect to see our Tossup column continue to shrink.
- Arizona – Tossup > Leans Democratic
- Nebraska’s 2nd – Tossup> Leans Democratic
- Utah – Likely Republican > Safe Republican
These are three races we have been keeping an eye on for a while now. Arizona is a state that has long been a Democratic target. President Trump won this state by 3.5% in 2016, and polling now shows a stable Democratic advantage. In 538’s polling average, Joe Biden now holds a lead of 4.5%. Even more concerning for Republicans: Trump has only led in one poll in the last two months. We’re not discounting the possibility of a Trump win here, but Biden seems to have an edge at the moment. We’re moving it to Leans Democratic
We are also shifting Nebraska’s second congressional district and its one electoral vote to Leans Democratic. President Trump only won this seat by 2.2% in 2016 and has trailed in every public poll here. Other outlets like Sabato’s Crystal Ball have recently shifted this race, and we find there’s compelling evidence to do so.
Finally, we’re moving Utah back to Safe Republican. Utah was surprisingly competitive in 2016. Trump only received 45% of the vote here and the predominantly Mormon state has been notoriously averse to him. There were indications that a Biden landslide could include a surprisingly close race here. However, neither side seems to be even remotely contesting it. In fact, a recent poll from Deseret News found President Trump with a commanding 18-point lead. Despite his poor performance last time, Trump seems set to carry the Beehive State again.
We aren’t making any changes to our gubernatorial races this time. We are fairly comfortable with where our ratings are at for the moment, and most of the races simply aren’t competitive. However, we’re keeping an eye on two races: Missouri and North Carolina.
Missouri’s gubernatorial election still seems strongly set to favor incumbent Republican Mike Parson. Missouri is a generally red state now. While Democrats like their nominee, State Auditor Nicole Galloway, her campaign’s emphasis on social issues like abortion is a poor fit for this socially conservative state. Parson has led in every single public poll so far by high-single to low-double digits. Despite this, there are murmurings of a tightening race here due to shifts in the St. Louis suburbs. We’re not ready to move this race from Likely Republican yet, but we are keeping an eye on it.
Similarly, polls have tightened somewhat in North Carolina. In an article last week, I explained why the race is Likely Democratic. What was once a double-digit lead for Cooper has evaporated into a single-digit lead. In fact, the most recent NYT/Siena poll only gives him a narrow five-point lead. However, Cooper still has a solid fundraising advantage and hasn’t trailed in a poll since June. We’re sticking with Likely Democratic for now, but we are keeping a close eye on any further developments. If polling continues to decline, this race might shift.