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Brown Gains Ground in California; Few Other Changes in Gubernatorial Forecast

The Senate forecast that we release tomorrow ought to be pretty fascinating. Between the ongoing developments in Alaska, some good polling numbers for Democrats in California, and some very good polling numbers of Republicans in West Virginia and Wisconsin, the model is going to have a lot to chew on.

But in our weekly gubernatorial forecast update, there’s not so much excitement. Over an average of 100,000 simulation runs, Democrats are projected to control 19.6 governorships after the Nov. 2 elections and Republicans 30.1. The numbers are essentially unchanged from last week.

Three individual races, however, have been a bit more lively and are worth highlighting:

  • California, which had shown movement toward the Republican Meg Whitman last week, has this week moved back toward the Democrat, Jerry Brown, and the race is now close to being a tossup. Mr. Brown benefited from a Public Policy Poling survey giving him a 5-point lead, and a Fox News poll showing the race moving into a tie after Ms. Whitman had led by 6 points last week.
  • In Georgia, a new poll from InsiderAdvantage shows a tied race between the Democrat, former Governor Roy Barnes, and the Republican, former Representative¬† Nathan Deal. While other polls of the race have shown Mr. Deal with a lead, Mr. Deal has recently endured criticism over his financial problems, and the race may be becoming more winnable for Democrats. The model now gives Mr. Barnes a 25 percent chance of prevailing in Georgia, up from 16 percent last week.
  • In Wisconsin, two new polls show the Republican, Scott Walker, with a lead in the high single digits against the Democrat, Tom Barrett. Although Mr. Walker had been favored before, he has now improved his chances of winning to in excess of 80 percent, according to the model — making it more likely that Republicans can achieve a near-sweep of Midwestern governorships (although Democrats remain favored in Minnesota in spite of some erratic polling there).
  • Republicans have also made slight gains in New Hampshire — but probably not enough to threaten the Democratic incumbent there, John Lynch.

    There is not yet enough polling in New York to determine whether the Republican, Carl P. Paladino, has any tangible chance in the race; we could not use the new Rasmussen poll because it excluded the Conservative Party’s nominee, Rick Lazio, and we are modeling New York as a three-way race.

    Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.