Skip to main content
ABC News
Gubernatorial Forecast Update: Can Tancredo Win in Colorado?

We’re gearing up for a more rapid schedule of updates to our forecasting models. You can expect Senate and House updates later today. We’ll then update all three of our models — Senate, House, Governor — again on Friday, and then just about every day from next Monday through the election on Nov. 2.

That pace may mean that the posts accompanying these updates will be somewhat more circumspect. In that spirit, here is a quick rundown of some of the more dynamic governors’ races, based on forecasts we ran last night.

Colorado: Tom Tancredo, who is running on the American Constitution Party’s ticket, is now within striking distance of the Democrat, John Hickenlooper, in some polls. Two surveys conducted using Rasmussen Reports methodology have him trailing Mr. Hickenlooper by 4 points and 5 points, with the Republican nominee, Dan Maes, running far behind.

Other surveys, like one conducted for Ipsos, show a more significant distance between Mr. Hickenlooper and Mr. Tancredo, who has taken some controversial stances on immigration policy and other areas. Even so, three-candidate races are always dynamic, and Mr. Tancredo has some chance of winning.

The key question is whether some of the voters who are still pledging their support to Mr. Maes might defect to Mr. Tancredo. That seems quite plausible — although the opposing point of view is that since Mr. Tancredo’s unfavorability ratings are fairly high, he could hit a ceiling of sorts, and that most Republicans who might be comfortable voting for him have already said that they will.

Still, Mr. Hickenlooper’s position is not totally safe and the model gives Mr. Tancredo about a 12 percent chance of winning.

Another number to watch in the race is the vote share that Mr. Maes ultimately receives. If it’s less than 10 percent of the total, the Republican Party would be relegated to minor-party status in the state for 2012, which could harm the party’s presidential nominee at the margins.

Florida: Recent polls in this topsy-turvy race, where the lead seems to be changing hands almost every week, have trended toward the Democrat, Alex Sink, although there remains significant disagreement among the polls. We now rate Ms. Sink a 59 percent favorite over the Republican, Rick Scott.

Vermont: We finally have a new poll here. Mason-Dixon surveyed the race and found the Republican, Brian Dubie, running 1 point ahead of the Democrat, Peter Shumlin. The only previous polls of the state had been from Rasmussen Reports; the most recent showed Mr. Shumlin with a small lead. The race is a tossup.

One interesting aspect of the close race in Vermont is that an outright majority is required to win on Nov. 2. If neither candidate surpasses 50 percent of the votes cast — a possibility, since there are some minor-party candidates on the ballot — state law leaves the outcome to be determined by the state legislature, which is ordinarily strongly Democratic.

California: There are no real signs of a recovery yet by the Republican, Meg Whitman, as Jerry Brown, the Democratic former governor, remains the favorite to win the job again. While the polling is close enough that Ms. Whitman could still win, she would be unlikely to do so if the election were held today — and since a fairly high fraction of Californians cast their ballots in advance of Election Day through the state’s absentee ballot law, she might have more trouble overtaking her opponent than most candidates with her polling numbers would have. Besides the early-voting factor, voters may also be feeling saturated with advertisements from Ms. Whitman, who has already spent more than $100 million on the campaign.

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