2022 Elections Update: Final Projections

On October 31, 2022, I published an updated set of projections for who will have the majority in the United States House of Representatives (“House”) following the 2022 elections, as well as who will win the 35 elections for United States Senate (“Senate”) and 36 elections for governor. Since then, an additional 22 generic ballot polls – which I use to estimate the probability Democrats retain their House majority – have been released, along with 116 new Senate polls and 129 new governor’s race polls.

Over the last eight weeks, I have constructed an argument that boils down to this: There is very likely a systematic polling error of 1-3 points in favor of Democrats. This suggests some elections that appear to be moving rapidly away from Democrats – for Senate in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin; for governor in Arizona – may still be very much in play. The early voting data from these states are interesting, but tell us little other than that turnout looks high in Arizona and North Carolina (registered Democrats have single-digit leads over registered Republicans, with 25-30% of the electorate not registered with either party) and that turnout seems about average in Ohio and Wisconsin thus far.

However, while I strongly suspect Democrats will overperform my polling averages, I need to assume they are unbiased for now. Here, then, are projections of the final outcomes of every election with at least 20 post-Labor-Day polls, using post-Labor-Day polls only. I calculate vote percentage neither Democratic nor Republican using the average percentage for such candidates in polls conducted entirely within the last three weeks of the campaign (i.e., field dates starting no earlier than October 18, 2022), substituting “0” if no such candidates were tested. There are three projections for each election: undecideds break 2-1 Democratic, undecideds break even, undecideds break 2-1 Republican.

Arizona Senate

Kelly (D) 51.8%, Masters (R) 46.5%, Other 1.7%

Kelly (D) 50.8%, Masters (R) 47.5%, Other 1.7%

Kelly (D) 49.8%, Masters (R) 48.5%, Other 1.7%

Democrat wins every time.

Arizona Governor

Hobbs (D) 49.7%, Lake (R) 49.9%, Other 0.4%

Hobbs (D) 48.8%, Lake (R) 50.8%, Other 0.4%

Hobbs (D) 47.9%, Lake (R) 51.7%, Other 0.4%

Republican wins every time, though once only barely.

Florida Senate

Demings (D) 47.5%, Rubio (R) 52.0%, Other 0.5%

Demings (D) 46.3%, Rubio (R) 53.2%, Other 0.5%

Demings (D) 45.2%, Rubio (R) 54.3%, Other 0.5%

Republican wins every time.

Florida Governor

Crist (D) 45.7%, DeSantis (R) 53.8%, Other 0.4%

Crist (D) 44.9%, DeSantis (R) 54.7%, Other 0.4%

Crist (D) 44.0%, DeSantis (R) 55.6%, Other 0.4%

Republican wins every time.

Georgia Senate

Warnock (D) 49.8%, Walker (R) 47.5%, Other 2.7%

Warnock (D) 49.0%, Walker (R) 48.3%, Other 2.7%

Warnock (D) 48.2%, Walker (R) 49.1%, Other 2.7%

Candidates swap leads, runoff likely

Georgia Governor

Abrams (D) 46.6%, Kemp (R) 52.0%, Other 1.4%

Abrams (D) 45.7%, Kemp (R) 52.8%, Other 1.4%

Abrams (D) 44.9%, Kemp (R) 53.6%, Other 1.4%

Republican wins every time.

Michigan Governor

Whitmer (D) 53.1%, Dixon (R) 46.1%, Other 0.8%

Whitmer (D) 52.2%, Dixon (R) 46.9%, Other 0.8%

Whitmer (D) 51.4%, Dixon (R) 47.8%, Other 0.8%

Democrat wins every time.

Nevada Senate

Cortez Masto (D) 50.0%, Laxalt (R) 48.5%, Other 1.5%

Cortez Masto (D) 48.8%, Laxalt (R) 49.7%, Other 1.5%

Cortez Masto (D) 47.6%, Laxalt (R) 50.9%, Other 1.5%

Candidates swap leads.

Nevada Governor

Sisolak (D) 49.4%, Lombardo (R) 48.7%, Other 2.2%

Sisolak (D) 48.1%, Lombardo (R) 50.0%, Other 2.2%

Sisolak (D) 46.9%, Lombardo (R) 51.2%, Other 2.2%

Candidates swap leads.

New Hampshire Senate

Hassan (D) 51.3%, Bolduc (R) 46.5%, Other 2.2%

Hassan (D) 50.7%, Bolduc (R) 47.1%, Other 2.2%

Hassan (D) 50.1%, Bolduc (R) 47.7%, Other 2.2%

Democrat wins every time.

New York Governor

Hochul (D) 54.3%, Zeldin (R) 45.1%, Other 0.6%

Hochul (D) 53.3%, Zeldin (R) 46.2%, Other 0.6%

Hochul (D) 52.3%, Zeldin (R) 47.2%, Other 0.6%

Democrat wins every time.

North Carolina Senate

Beasley (D) 48.3%, Budd (R) 49.6%, Other 2.2%

Beasley (D) 47.2%, Budd (R) 50.6%, Other 2.2%

Beasley (D) 46.1%, Budd (R) 51.7%, Other 2.2%

Republican wins every time.

Ohio Senate

Ryan (D) 49.9%, Vance (R) 50.1%, Other 0%

Ryan (D) 48.5%, Vance (R) 51.5%, Other 0%

Ryan (D) 47.1%, Vance (R) 52.9%, Other 0%

Republican wins every time, though once only barely.

Ohio Governor

Whaley (D) 42.2%, DeWine (R) 57.8%, Other 0%

Whaley (D) 40.2%, DeWine (R) 59.8%, Other 0%

Whaley (D) 38.3%, DeWine (R) 61.7%, Other 0%

Republican wins in a landslide every time.

Pennsylvania Senate

Fetterman (D) 51.4%, Oz (R) 47.4%, Other 1.2%

Fetterman (D) 50.3%, Oz (R) 48.5%, Other 1.2%

Fetterman (D) 49.2%, Oz (R) 49.6%, Other 1.2%

Democrat wins twice, narrowly loses once.

Pennsylvania Governor

Shapiro (D) 56.2%, Mastriano (R) 43.0%, Other 0.8%

Shapiro (D) 55.0%, Mastriano (R) 44.2%, Other 0.8%

Shapiro (D) 53.8%, Mastriano (R) 45.4%, Other 0.8%

Democrat wins solidly every time.

Wisconsin Senate

Barnes (D) 49.3%, Johnson (R) 50.7%, Other 0%

Barnes (D) 48.6%, Johnson (R) 51.4%, Other 0%

Barnes (D) 47.8%, Johnson (R) 52.2%, Other 0%

Republican wins every time.

Wisconsin Governor

Evers (D) 50.2%, Michaels (R) 49.1%, Other 0.7%

Evers (D) 49.6%, Michaels (R) 49.7%, Other 0.7%

Evers (D) 48.9%, Michaels (R) 50.4%, Other 0.7%

Candidates swap leads, though all elections are very close.

Only a handful of elections appear truly in play right now, barring a multi-point polling error in either direction. Democrats have a clear path to maintaining the Senate, even adding a few seats – though a net loss of one or two seats is still possible. The story is similar with governor’s races.

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The House. As of November 6, 2022, I estimate Democrats and Republicans are essentially tied on the generic ballot, 44.60% to 44.63%. Based upon this value, I estimate the probability Democrats retain a House majority is 25.3%. This is down 1.8 percentage points (“points”) from last week. I estimate Democrats will lose 10.9 seats, putting them at 211 (compared to 222 following the 2020 elections), with a 95% prediction interval of -32.6 to +10.1.

Using only the 132 generic ballot polls conducted entirely after Labor Day, meanwhile, Democrats trail by 0.4 points, 44.6% to 45.1%, which equates to a 21.7% chance of retaining their House majority and an average loss of 12.2 seats (95% CI: -33.9 to +8.9). These values are, again, down noticeably since last week. For Democrats to be nominal favorites to retain their House majority (p>50%), they need to win nationally by at least 2.3 points.

My estimates still diverge from those from FiveThirtyEight.com, whose probabilities range from 17% (Deluxe) to 26% (Classic), with 213 seats assigned >50% probability of being won by the Democrat in the methodologically-conservative Deluxe model. However, if Democrats win every seat with probability≥35%, they maintain a bare House majority across all three models.

Bottom line: A narrow House Republican majority remains more likely than not, with Democrats’ position again declining this week.

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The Senate. As of November 6, 2022, 564 publicly-available Senate election polls have been conducted since November 1, 2021. These include six polls assessing the likely final matchup between two Republicans in Alaska: incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski and former state official Kelly Tshibaka; Murkowski currently edges Tshibaka 53.2% to 46.8%. Only the Senate elections in Hawaii – which incumbent Democrat Brian Schatz is a near-lock to win – and in Idaho and North Dakota – which incumbent Republicans Michael Crapo and John Hoeven, respectively, are near-locks to win – do not yet have publicly-available polling. Table 2 shows updated projections for all 35 Senate elections. I now weight polls with a field date starting November 1, 2022 – one week prior to Election Day – six times higher.

Table 2: Democratic Senate win probabilities and projected final margins, 2022

StateFundamentalsPolling (WAPA)Poll WtFinal Projection
Democratic seatMarginP(D win)MarginP(D win) MarginP(D win)
Hawaii34.5100.0%n/an/an/an/a100.0%
Vermont28.9100.0%25.4100.0%0.8825.8100.0%
Maryland31.7100.0%23.0100.0%0.7025.6100.0%
California26.7100.0%24.2100.0%0.8924.5100.0%
New York25.7100.0%15.8100.0%0.9716.1100.0%
Connecticut19.499.6%14.7100.0%0.9115.2100.0%
Washington19.299.5%6.7100.0%0.927.7100.0%
Illinois18.899.4%14.0100.0%0.8814.599.9%
Oregon15.698.1%14.9100.0%0.9314.999.9%
Colorado11.292.9%8.599.9%0.918.899.2%
New Hampshire6.777.1%4.199.1%0.924.397.4%
Nevada5.072.0%-0.840.1%0.89-0.143.7%
Arizona-4.338.9%3.798.9%0.882.791.9%
Georgia-4.737.5%0.758.0%0.910.256.2%
Estimated Democratic seats lost = 1.1 (range = 0.5 to 2.3)*
 
Republican seat       
Pennsylvania-2.346.2%2.791.3%0.912.387.0%
Wisconsin-5.833.8%-2.65.1%0.93-2.87.0%
Florida-8.924.0%-6.70.0%0.87-7.03.1%
North Carolina-5.833.6%-3.012.4%0.91-3.214.3%
Ohio-9.821.3%-2.021.1%0.89-2.821.1%
Iowa-13.213.4%-9.70.0%0.94-9.90.8%
Alaska-19.24.8%n/an/an/an/a0.0%
South Carolina-19.34.7%-18.50.0%0.72-18.71.3%
Missouri-19.04.9%-11.00.0%0.98-11.20.1%
Indiana-23.02.2%-2.342.4%0.76-7.432.6%
Kansas-24.71.5%-19.20.0%0.90-19.80.2%
Louisiana-25.71.2%-23.40.0%0.84-23.70.2%
Utah-31.00.3%-9.30.0%0.83-12.90.1%
Alabama-29.20.5%-31.10.0%0.93-31.00.0%
South Dakota-33.00.2%-26.20.0%0.87-27.00.0%
Kentucky-33.70.1%-15.50.0%0.39-26.50.1%
Arkansas-33.70.1%-22.90.0%0.73-25.80.0%
Idaho-38.20.0%n/an/an/an/a0.0%
North Dakota-38.80.0%n/an/an/an/a0.0%
Oklahoma (1)-41.20.0%-20.60.0%0.81-24.40.0%
Oklahoma (2)-41.20.0%-15.40.0%0.81-20.20.0%
Estimated Republican seats lost = 1.7 (range = 0.8 to 3.2)
Overall expected Democratic seats gained/lost = +0.6 (range = -1.5 to +2.7)

    *Adding or subtracting 3 points to all WAPA, including generic ballot estimates

Italics indicate open seats, while boldface indicates a likely “flip.” “Fundamentals” is the sum of state’s partisan lean (3W-RDM), current generic ballot estimate (D+0.3) and incumbency advantage (Senate values: 5.5 points for Democrats, 3.3 points for Republicans); I assign one-third incumbency advantage to Democrats Kelly and Warnock because they first won their seats in 2020 special elections. Essentially, this is what one would expect the Democratic margin to be for a generic Democratic vs. a generic Republican. The “fundamentals” probability the Democratic candidate wins is the likelihood of a Democratic margin of ≥0.0000001 given a normal distribution, with mean of +1.3 (mean historic “miss”) and standard deviation of 10.7.

Based solely on the “fundamentals,” Kelly and Warnock are modest underdogs, while Democratic incumbents in New Hampshire and Nevada are only modest favorites. On the flip side, the open Republican seat in Pennsylvania – vacated after two terms by Pat Toomey – is essentially a toss-up, albeit with the Republican candidate barely favored. Two other Republican-held seats – in North Carolina and Wisconsin – tilt Republican. On average, I now give 14% weight to fundamentals and 86% weight to WAPA, an increase of 3.0 points in polling weight since last week.

Recall these “projection categories”:

Safe Republican (<5%)

Solid Republican (≥5 to <10%)

Likely Republican (≥10 to <20%)

Lean Republican (≥20 to <33%)

Tilt Republican (≥33 to <45%)

Toss-up (≥45 to ≤55%)

Tilt Democratic (>55 to ≤67%)

Lean Democratic (>67 to ≤80%)

Likely Democratic (>80 to ≤90%)

Solid Democratic (>90 to ≤95%)

Safe Democratic (>95%)

The difference between “Safe” and “Solid” is not especially illuminating for Republicans, so let us combine them:

Safe/Solid Republican (n=15). Incumbents John Boozman (AR), Crapo, Chuck Grassley (IA), Hoeven, John Kennedy (LA), Jim Lankford (OK), Jerry Moran (KS), Rand Paul (KY), Tim Scott (SC) and John Thune (SD) are near-locks to win. Republican nominees Katie Britt, Markwayne Mullin and Eric Schmitt are also prohibitive favorites to win open seats in Alabama, Oklahoma and Missouri, respectively. Republican Senator Mike Lee is favored to defeat Independent former CIA operative Evan McMullin (effectively the Democratic nominee) in Utah, while I project Murkowski has the edge over Tshibaka.

Likely Republican (n=4). Two polls have been conducted in the Indiana Senate election between Republican incumbent Todd Young and Democratic Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. These mediocre (B-/C+, using FiveThirtyEight.com pollster ratings) polls, one skewed Democratic and one skewed Republican, suggest Young leads McDermott by only 2.3 points, when he “should” be winning by more than 20 points. Moreover, neither candidate tops 42% on average, which combined with Libertarian candidate James Sceniak (6% in the most recent poll) suggests extreme volatility – which is why McDermott has a roughly one-in-three chance to win.

On paper, Florida’s Senate contest is Lean Republican, which is supported by incumbent Republican Marco Rubio leading overall by 6.7 points (n=42 polls; B-/B), and by 6.9 points in 20 polls conducted since Labor Day (B/B-). Rubio is now at 49.8% since Labor Day, and registered Democrats are 7.5 points behind in the early vote, so he looks safe.

Incumbent Republican Ron Johnson is now favored to win reelection in Wisconsin, in line with fundamentals. He leads Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes 49.2% to 46.6%, in 28 polls (B+/B) overall, and 49.3% to 46.4% in 24 polls released since Labor Day (B+/B).

On paper, Republicans are modest favorites to retain the Senate seat being vacated by Richard Burr in North Carolina (R+5.8). Indeed, Democratic former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley trails House member Ted Budd by 3.0 points (43.9% to 46.9%) in 36 polls (B/B+) overall. Moreover, she trails by 3.5 points in 18 polls conducted since Labor Day (B/B+). And while the early vote in North Carolina shows registered Democrats leading by 6.8 points, this may not be enough to overcome a possible Republican surge on Election Day.

Lean Republican (n=1). Republicans should also be modest favorites to retain the Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman in Ohio (R+9.8). However, Democratic House member Tim Ryan now trails Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance 44.4% to 46.7% overall (n=42; B), and 44.2% to 47.2% points in 27 polls conducted since Labor Day (B+/B).

The giant asterisk next to the North Carolina and Ohio Senate races, however, is that the most recent polling is primarily a combination of low-quality and Republican pollsters (e.g., Cygnal, Trafalgar Group). These elections COULD be much closer than they appear, putting Beasley and Ryan in position to win IF late-deciding voters break their way.

Tilt Republican (n=0).

Toss-up (n=1). In Nevada, Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has again fallen behind Republican former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, 45.2% to 45.9% (n=42; B/B-). In 28 polls conducted since Labor Day (B), Cortez Masto trails by a similar 45.2% to 46.1%. With neither candidate ever topping 46%, and with ~9% of the electorate up for grabs, this truly is a toss-up, though one in which incumbency and a history of Democratic candidates outperforming polling in Nevada give Cortez Masto the tiniest edge.

Tilt Democratic (n=1). Perhaps no state has been flooded with bad polling than Georgia (R+6.6). In 64 polls overall (B/B+), Warnock leads Republican former National Football League star Herschel Walker just 46.5% to 45.8% – and by a similar 46.6% to 45.9% in 38 post-Labor-Day polls (B+/B). However, in five non-partisan, high-quality polls (A) conducted in the last two weeks,[1] Warnock leads 47.8% to 44.6%. Walker’s inability to crack 46% in a nominally Republican state should make the GOP very nervous. Moreover, the enormous, Democratic-leaning early vote – already 63.7% of the 2018 turnout for governor – suggests Warnock has a significant edge. The only question for Warnock, really, is whether this election goes to a December runoff because no candidate topped 50%.

Lean Democratic (n=0).

Likely Democratic (n=1). The Senate seat most likely to change partisan hands is that held by retiring Republican Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania. While (Republican-leaning polling) has shown a much tighter election lately, Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman still leads Republican television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz overall 47.2% to 44.4% (n=54, B). That lead drops to 47.0% to 45.1% (n=36, B/B+) since Labor Day. Still, using only post-Labor-Day polling, Fetterman still has a win probability of 73.1% (with a projected margin of 1.5 points) – and should be very encouraged by registered Democrats leading by 48.8 points in the early mail balloting.

Solid Democratic (n=1). Kelly remains on track to win the Arizona (R+6.1) Senate race, despite recent Republican-leaning polling. He now tallies 48.2% to 44.5% for Republican venture capitalist Masters overall (n=52, B/B-), and 47.9% to 44.6% in 42 post-Labor Day polls (B/B-). I expect Kelly to win by about 2.5 points.

Safe Democratic (n=12): Incumbents Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Maggie Hassan (NH), Patty Murray (WA), Alex Padilla (CA), Chuck Schumer (NY), Schatz, Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Ron Wyden (OR) are near-locks to win reelection. Murray was effectively reelected on August 2, when she won 52.3% of the vote in an all-candidate primary; all Democrats combined won just under 55% of the vote. Meanwhile, House member Peter Welch is all-but-certain to win the Vermont Senate seat being vacated by seven-term Democrat Pat Leahy.

Bottom line: There is a 68.9% chance (65.1% using post-Labor-Day polls) Democrats hold at least 50 Senate seats – and thus maintain the majority. There is also a 46.6% chance Democrats net add Senate seats. There is also a 23.2% chance Democrats net lose one seat, giving Republicans a narrow 51-49 majority. Overall, there is an 81.9% chance Democrats land between a net loss of one and a net gain of two Senate seats, for an over/under of +0.5. These values have dropped for a few weeks, partly due to undecided choosing Republican nominees, but primarily due to low-quality/partisan polling.

Figure 1: 2022 Senate election distribution

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Governors. As of November 6, 2022, 614 publicly-available gubernatorial election polls have been conducted since November 1, 2021. Only those in the open seat in Hawaii – which Democrat Josh Green is a near-lock to win – and Idaho which incumbent Republican Brad Little is a near-lock to win – do not yet have publicly-available polling. A net gain of three governor’s mansions by Democrats would give them 25, giving them parity for the first time since 2010. Table 3 shows updated values for all 36 gubernatorial elections in 2022.

Table 3: Democratic gubernatorial win probabilities and projected final margins, 2022

StateFundamentalsPolling (WAPA)Poll WtFinal Projection
Democratic seatMarginP(D win)MarginP(D win) MarginP(D win)
Hawaii93.8%29.0n/an/an/an/a94.0%
California35.297.0%20.6100.0%0.8922.299.7%
New York20.285.8%7.9100.0%0.909.198.6%
Rhode Island21.787.6%13.291.3%0.8514.490.7%
Connecticut24.290.1%14.6100.0%0.9415.299.4%
Illinois23.689.6%12.8100.0%0.8414.598.3%
Oregon10.170.3%0.655.3%0.852.057.6%
New Mexico16.681.1%6.398.3%0.996.498.1%
Colorado16.080.3%13.3100.0%0.9213.598.5%
Maine14.878.4%7.7100.0%0.878.797.2%
Minnesota12.274.0%8.3100.0%0.968.498.9%
Nevada9.969.9%-1.628.8%0.89-0.433.3%
Michigan9.769.5%5.6100.0%0.886.196.5%
Pennsylvania-2.344.8%10.8100.0%0.919.695.0%
Wisconsin8.066.3%0.050.4%0.950.551.3%
Kansas-10.927.8%3.673.6%0.881.968.1%
Estimated Democratic seats lost = 2.2 (range = 1.2 to 3.4)*
 
Republican seat       
Vermont15.078.6%-40.40.0%0.88-34.09.1%
Maryland26.291.8%29.2100.0%0.8828.999.0%
Massachusetts26.191.7%25.8100.0%0.9425.899.5%
New Hampshire-12.724.6%-16.30.0%0.92-16.02.0%
Florida-19.414.8%-9.80.0%0.87-11.12.0%
Arizona-6.136.9%-1.721.7%0.90-2.123.1%
Georgia-13.423.6%-6.40.0%0.92-6.91.9%
Iowa-23.710.1%-16.80.0%0.99-16.90.1%
Ohio-23.710.1%-19.20.0%0.92-19.50.8%
Texas-25.98.2%-8.10.0%0.88-10.31.0%
Alaska-29.75.5%-8.00.0%0.82-11.91.0%
South Carolina-29.85.5%-7.50.0%0.73-13.41.5%
Nebraska-25.18.9%-6.025.6%0.76-10.721.5%
Tennessee-41.11.4%-25.50.0%0.80-28.60.3%
Alabama-43.11.0%-36.10.0%0.93-36.60.1%
South Dakota-43.51.0%-13.90.0%0.87-17.70.1%
Arkansas-30.35.2%-19.50.0%0.83-21.40.9%
Idaho-48.70.5%    0.5%
Oklahoma-51.70.3%-4.410.4%0.82-13.08.5%
Wyoming-61.40.1%-54.20.0%0.99-54.30.0%
Estimated Republican seats lost = 2.7 (range = 2.4 to 3.5)
Overall expected Democratic seats gained/lost = +0.5 (range = -1.0 to +2.4)

    *Adding or subtracting 3 points to all WAPA, including generic ballot estimates

Gubernatorial incumbency advantages are 10.4 points for Democrats and 13.9 points for Republicans. On average, I now give 12% weight to fundamentals and 88% weight to WAPA, an increase of 2.0 points in polling weight since last week.

Safe/Solid Republican (n=16). Incumbents Mike DeWine (OH), Mike Dunleavy (AK), Gordon, Ivey, Bill Lee (TN), Little, Henry McMaster (SC), Kristi Noem (SD), Kim Reynolds (IA) and Chris Sununu (NH) are near-locks for reelection. University of Nebraska Board of Regents member Jim Pillen and former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be the next Republican governors of Nebraska and Arkansas, respectively.

Meanwhile, incumbent Republican governors Ron DeSantis, Brian Kemp and Greg Abbott of Florida, Georgia and Texas, respectively, all top 50% since Labor Day, likely ending these elections.

Likely Republican (n=2). Popular Republican governor Phil Scott will win reelection, despite Vermont’s D+28.9 status.

Meanwhile, 13 mediocre post-Labor-Day-polls (C+/B-) give Stitt “only” a 3.5-point lead over Oklahoma (R+37.8) Democratic state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, 45.7% to 42.2%, with fully 12.2% not choosing either. Stitt should still win by 12.4 points; something similar played out in the polls in 2018, when he won by 12.1 points.

Lean Republican (n=1). The open governor’s race in Arizona (R+6.1) continues to trend Republican in recent polling, albeit – once again – strongly Republican-leaning. Democratic state Attorney General Katie Hobbs now trails television personality Kari Lake 46.2% to 47.9% overall (n=46; B), and by 46.2% to 48.1% in 37 post-Labor-Day polls (B). And while the early vote is possibly encouraging, this election may be slipping away from Democrats.

Tilt Republican (n=1). In Nevada, incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak now trails Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo 46.0% to 44.4% overall (n=38, B/B-), and 46.2% to 44.3% in 23 polls (B) conducted since Labor Day. Indeed, despite his incumbency in a swing state, I now project him to lose by 0.4 points. This election may well come down to a handful of late-arriving mail ballots.

Toss-ups (n=1). The story is similar in Wisconsin, where incumbent Democrat Tony Evers’ lead over businessman Tim Michels is now just 0.4 points – 47.67% to 47.63% – overall (n=25, B+). He also trails 47.6% to 47.7% since Labor Day (n=20, B+). I still expect Evers to win by just under one point, but a narrow loss remains possible.

Tilt Democratic (n=0). The open governor’s race in strongly-Democratic Oregon (D+10.3) has finally begun to move in the direction of Democratic former State House Speaker Tina Kotek, as Independent Betsy Johnson, a former Democratic state senator, fades in polling support. Overall, Kotek leads Republican former State House Majority Leader Christine Drazan 39.6% to 39.0%, with 13.6% for Johnson (n=18, B-). In 14 polls conducted since Labor Day (B-), Kotek’s lead is a bit narrower: 40.1% to 39.8%, with 12.8% for Johnson. Kotek now appears headed for a two-point win.

Lean Democratic (n=1). The good news for incumbent Democrat Laura Kelly in heavily Republican Kansas (R+21.3) is that in two Emerson College polls (A-) conducted after Labor Day, she leads state Attorney General Derek Schmidt 47.2% to 44.1%. The better news is that in five polls overall, she leads 47.7% to 44.0%. I project Kelly to win by about two points.

Likely Democratic (n=0).

Solid/Safe Democratic (n=14). The two governor’s mansions Democrats are near-locks to flip are in Maryland and Massachusetts, with both former Army Captain Wes Moore and state Attorney General Maura Healey projected to win by between 25 and 30%. Two other Democratic statewide officials are heavy favorites to win governor’s mansions held by retiring Democrats: Lieutenant Governor Green in Hawaii and Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania.

That leaves nine incumbent Democrats who are at least 9-1 favorites to win reelection: Hochul, Ned Lamont (CT), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Dan McKee (RI), Janet Mills (ME), Gavin Newsom (CA), Jared Polis (CO), J.B. Pritzker (IL), Tim Walz (MN) and Gretchen Whitmer (MI). Yes, the polling has tightened – and become lower-quality and more partisan – in the Michigan and New York governor’s races, but both Whitmer and Hochul top 49.7% in post-Labor-Day polling, meaning only the margin of victory (high single digits) is truly in doubt.

Bottom line: Democrats remain the barest favorites to net at least one governor’s mansion (50.5% – 51.3% using post-Labor-Day polling), most likely (35.4%) one or two. However, there is also a one in three chance Democrats net lose governor’s mansions, most likely one or two (27.4%). There is a 79.5% chance Democrats land somewhere between a net loss of two and a net gain of two governor’s mansions, for an over/under of +0.5.

Figure 2: 2022 gubernatorial election distribution

***********

If these polling averages are unbiased, Senate control may well depend upon mail ballots in Nevada and a runoff in Georgia. The Senate will land somewhere between 49 and 51 Democrats. And Democrats will likely land between a net gain of 0 and 2 governors. The House appears likely to go Republican, though a pro-Democratic polling error of just 2.0 points makes that at least a 50-50 proposition. And, as of now, the political environment is anywhere from Democrats +2 to Republicans +2.

From a historical perspective – the first midterm elections of a Democrat president with an underwater approval rate and a grumpy electorate – these are excellent numbers for Democrats. They could easily be looking at a loss of four Senate seats, two governor’s mansions and a few dozen House seats. I addressed why this might be (Dobbs v. Jackson, candidate quality) in earlier posts.

Now, all that is left to do is count the votes, possibly into next week.

If you have read to this point, a) thank you very much and b) you are clearly a close student of American politics, meaning there are two folks I urge you to follow on Twitter. One is David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report (@redistrict), and the other is Professor McDonald (@ElectProject).

Until next time, if you are not already registered to vote, I urge you to do so immediately. And if you like what you read on this website, please consider making a donation. Thank you.


[1] Marist College (10/31-11/2), SurveyUSA (10/29-11/2), Emerson College (10/28-10/31), Fox News (10/26-10/30), Siena College/New York Times (10/24-10/27)

2 thoughts on “2022 Elections Update: Final Projections

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