Two more weeks – that’s all that’s left until the election, folks. Election Day 2022 is almost here, and with that we have only four more ratings updates after this one. Yes, I said four. We will now also be updating our ratings every Thursday in these last two weeks. With that in mind, we have five changes in our House ratings this week, and two in our Gubernatorial ratings.
(Also, the Phillies are going to the World Series – how about that!)
In our gubernatorial race ratings, we’re making two changes. Starting in Kansas, there has been a surprising dearth of polling in what is expected to be one of the closer gubernatorial races this cycle. The last poll we got was an Emerson poll from mid-September that showed Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly up two points, 45-43. We haven’t even gotten so much as a sniff of internals either, although polls have shown Kelly to have an approval rating that is above water. The fact neither side is bragging about anything and that we haven’t seen any internals tells us this race is probably very close. With that in mind, we don’t think we can say anyone is favored right now. We’re moving this race from Tossup to Leans Republican, and we don’t expect to make a final call until November 7th.
In Michigan, a combination of factors sees us move this race back from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic. First, the Republican Governors Association is actually spending in this race. That makes a clear difference compared to fellow rust belt state Pennsylvania. Polling has also narrowed in this race, and Gretchen Whitmer now leads by mid-to-low single-digits. This is still a clear lead for Whitmer, but it’s clear that the race has tightened from Whitmer’s early September highs. The possibility Dixon pulls an upset is better than it seemed when we first moved this race to the Likely Democratic category.
The five changes we have in the House all favor Republican candidates. First off, we’re bringing two races back on the board out of absolute caution. We at Elections Daily want to make sure that none of our Safe ratings end up flipping; a Safe rating shouldn’t flip unless something truly unexpected happens. So in that cautious mindset, we’re moving both NY-04 and VA-10 from Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic. This does not mean we think Democrats will lose either of these rather, that there’s a small chance they could be upset here.
We’re also moving two races to Lean Republican. First, CO-08 is moving to Lean Republican. Internal polls have only come from Democratic candidate Yadira Caraveo, and they all have one thing in common: they show her losing. The latest one shows her down two points (46% to 44%) to Republican Barb Kirkmeyer, the same margin as it was before spending really ramped up against Kirkmeyer. Being down in your own internals is never a good thing, and with how little time is left until Election Day, we feel comfortable saying that Kirkmeyer is a slight favorite in this race. We’re moving this from Tossup to Leans Republican.
The same can be said in Texas’s 34th district. Republicans are increasingly confident they can flip all three Rio Grande Valley districts in South Texas. They’ve collectively raised almost twice as much as Democrats have over the last quarter. They’re actually more confident about TX-34 than TX-28. Republican Mayra Flores has a lot of momentum since her special election win in June, and it hasn’t stopped. On top of this, Democrat Vincente Gonzalez (who relocated from TX-15 following redistricting) is running one of the worst races of any incumbent House member this cycle, with a campaign marred by allegations of racist and sexist comments. It would have been unbelievable if you told someone two years ago that Republicans would be favored in two Rio Grande Valley seats, but we’re in that timeline. The seat moves from Tossup to Leans Republican.
Finally, we’re moving a seat into the Tossup category. and it’s certainly a seat I would never have expected to move here at the start of the cycle; we’re shifting Oregon’s new 6th district from Leans Democratic to Tossup. Democrats have redirected millions in spending from OR-05 to OR-06, prioritizing this shockingly competitive race while seemingly triaging progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner in OR-05. A whole bevy of factors have contributed to this, including the fact this is a brand-new seat with no incumbent. The chaos of Oregon has caused a lot of interesting moves, and even in internals Democrat Andrea Salinas can’t seem to get above a one or two-point lead. Against all odds, we can’t say either Salinas or Republican Mike Erickson are favorites at this point; this means we now have two of Oregon’s house seats in the Tossup column, and another (OR-04) in the Leans Column.