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Forecast Update: Republican Governors Are Well Positioned

As has become customary in our gubernatorial updates, our focus is more on a race-by-race basis, since while Republicans are overwhelming favorites to control a majority of governorships after Nov. 2, that has little more than symbolic value. Here are the races that have moved the most toward the Democrats since last week’s update.

California: There has been an abundance of polling in California and, the protestations of Meg Whitman’s campaign notwithstanding, it has been quite consistent, showing margins ranging from an exact tie to a 5-percentage-point advantage for Jerry Brown, the Democrat. Mr. Brown is now a 60 percent favorite to win, according to the model; two weeks ago, Ms. Whitman, the Republican nominee, had been almost a 2-to-1 favorite.

Ohio: It’s Everybody Poll Ohio! week, with four organizations, including The New York Times, having released polls there in the last few days. All the new polls show the same thing: a widening margin for the Republican senatorial candidate, Rob Portman, but a narrowing one for their gubernatorial candidate, John Kasich. We now show Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, with a 13 percent chance to save his seat, up from 8 percent last week.

I’m sure some people will ask why Mr. Strickland is still at 13 percent and not higher, when the two polls released Tuesday show him only 1 point behind Mr. Kasich among likely voters. There are several reasons. First, while the polls show Mr. Kasich’s lead narrowing, they still show him with the lead, and even a small lead can be surprisingly meaningful with barely more than a month left in the campaign. Second, the model is not in a rush to discard some slightly older polls, like those from SurveyUSA and Quinnipiac University, which had given Mr. Kasich a double-digit advantage; if these firms resurvey the race and find a different result, Mr. Strickland’s chances should improve in our model. Third, it is hard for any incumbent governor to be re-elected in a state where unemployment exceeds 10 percent, and other Midwestern Democrats are faring poorly in gubernatorial contests this year.

There’s also the odd fact that Mr. Kasich’s lead is dwindling as Mr. Portman’s is growing. On the one hand, it may be a sign that voters are beginning to scrutinize Mr. Kasich, whom strategists regard as having run a mediocre campaign. On the other hand, it’s possible that Mr. Kasich could be assisted by Mr. Portman’s coattails (although Mr. Portman’s lead appears to come more from persuading independent voters than from being able to motivate a huge turnout).

Connecticut: Here’s another case where the gubernatorial polling isn’t tracking with the Senate polling. While Richard Blumenthal, the Democrats’ Senate nominee, watched a sure-seeming victory turn into a tight race, we have their gubernatorial candidate, Dan Malloy, now established as an 89 percent favorite over the Republican candidate, Tom Foley, with Mr. Malloy up slightly from last week. It isn’t necessarily that Mr. Malloy’s lead is expanding, but Mr. Foley is running out of time to catch up.

Several other races, meanwhile, have trended toward the Republican candidates since last week.

Maine: People — myself sometimes included — have been skeptical that Paul LePage, a Tea Party-backed candidate, could prevail in moderate Maine. But the last three nonpartisan polls all show Mr. LePage with at least a 13 point advantage over the Democrat, Libby Mitchell — and Ms. Mitchell’s own polling also shows her behind. The model now pegs Mr. LePage as an 87 percent favorite.

Hawaii: We have the Republican candidate, James Aiona, improving his chances to 9 percent, from 4 percent, but for purely technical reasons: Hawaii hasn’t been polled in more than a month, so the model is hedging because of the absence of data. Neil Abercrombie, the Democrat, remains the clear favorite.

Florida: The polls here are in conflict, with Mason-Dixon showing a 7-point lead for Alex Sink, the Democrat, while Rasmussen Reports has a 6-point lead for Rick Scott, the Republican. On balance, the new polls show that Mr. Scott’s chances have improved slightly: while he is still the underdog in the race, his chances of winning have improved to 42 percent, from 37 percent, according to the model.

New Hampshire: A poll from American Research Group is the second consecutive one to show the Democratic incumbent, John Lynch, who had seemed a safe bet for re-election, with only a 2-percentage point advantage. American Research Group’s polls have been unreliable in the past, so the model does not give their survey much weight, but the chances for the Republican, John Stephen, have improved to 11 percent, from 7 percent last week. One thing that could be harming Mr. Lynch is that Republicans are favored to win the Senate race in New Hampshire, as well as both House races.

Iowa: Few polls, on the other hand, have a stronger track record than those conducted by Ann Selzer for The Des Moines Register. That her latest survey gives the Republican, Terry Branstad, a former governor, a 19-percentage-point lead over the Democratic incumbent, Chet Culver, means that Mr. Culver is in deep trouble; our model gives him only about a 1 percent chance of mounting a comeback.

Oklahoma: This is another state that Republicans seem almost certain to win. Rasmussen Reports, the only firm to have surveyed the race recently, has the Republican, Mary Fallin, moving out to a 26-point advantage.

Pennsylvania: The chances that the Republican, Tom Corbett, will win are now at more than 90 percent, as the polls show his lead holding steady as the number of undecided voters in the electorate dwindle.

Georgia: In a reversal from last week, InsiderAdvantage now shows the Republican, Nathan Deal, with an 8-percentage-point lead after their previous poll had shown the race tied. This race would benefit from some more polling, however.

One contest, meanwhile, is notable for its absence from this list. That is the race in New York, where the model gives the Republican, Carl P. Paladino, only about a 2 percent chance of winning. Even though Mr. Paladino has significantly narrowed his deficit with Andrew Cuomo, Mr. Cuomo’s lead averages 10 percentage points in three polls that did not include Rick Lazio on the Conservative Party’s ballot line (although pollsters probably ought to have included Mr. Lazio, who dropped out of the race this week), and averages 17 points if the two polls that included Mr. Lazio’s name are added in. However much Mr. Paladino might have closed his gap, a lead of the magnitude of Mr. Cuomo’s will ordinarily be fairly safe with five weeks remaining in the campaign, and there is no guarantee that the race will tighten further.

Over all, the model sets the over-under line on the number of governorships Republicans will control after Nov. 2 at 30 to 31, which is unchanged from last week.

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