For the Cook Political Report, every year may feel like an election year – but a midterm election often counts as their “crunch period.” One of their latest and hottest predictions deals with the upcoming governor races. They noted that people’s opinions are changing rapidly in nine states, and in eight of these, shifts seem to favor the Republican Party.
While the G.O.P. may be privately celebrating, voters should expect to see public apologies from the Democratic Party.
Who is Shifting and Why
Data on voting intentions is often a reflection of a specific leader’s popularity, especially when the incumbent rapidly loses support. However, it can just as quickly speak to a larger malcontent with their overarching organization or a way to react to conflicting news and priorities.
Before examining why so many states are shifting Republican, it is crucial to check what changes and how much.
The Cook analysts identified the following States as moving towards the Republican side:
However, each of these States seems to be operating under different mechanisms.
The states of Iowa and South Carolina are traditionally thought of as Republican strongholds, which made their recent Democratic uptick a surprise. However, the latest polls saw the Republican position consolidating, as both states shifted from “likely Republican” to “Solidly Republican.”
Republicans now govern both Iowa and South Carolina, so it is easy to see these trends as a show of support for their respective governments. In Iowa, the strong stance on inflation taken by Governor Kim Reynolds seems to be appreciated by her voters.
On the other hand, Oregon, New Mexico, and up to a certain point, Maine had all been listed as Democratic wins on the latest poll. And yet, the first two just shifted their “Solidly Democratic” results into “Likely Democratic,” while Maine went from “Likely Democratic” to just a narrow “Leans Democratic.”
Several months before the election, this should trigger alarm bells: they may lose control over a sizeable part of the U.S. map if these trends continue. Although the report itself does not offer conclusive reasons for this shift, all three states are largely rural and suburban areas, where driving distances are long – and therefore, gas prices often play a major role in the list of concerns of regular families.
Finally, we have Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Here, shifts have been more modest but have opened space for three possible wild cards. All three states were tilting slightly towards the Democrats and have been declared a “toss-up.” One of these states, Wisconsin, will be holding state-wide local and school board elections later this month, putting its voters in the eye of the storm.
So, where are Democrats making gains? For now, only in the State of New York. Small, well-connected, and relatively shielded from the effects of gas prices, people in New York are enjoying the post-COVID bonanza. As a result, the New York governor’s race is now listed as “solidly Democratic.”
Why Trust the Cook Political Report?
In 1984, the Cook Political Report began as a non-partisan printed publication devoted to political analysis. Since 2012, they have shifted their operations online, enabling them to handle more information faster.
News agencies and independent analysts routinely value their input and predictions. Why? So far, their proprietary Cook Partisan Voting Index has consistently proven to be more accurate than those of other political think tanks.
Naturally, no prediction is 100% accurate, and nothing is set in stone until Election Day. Nevertheless, their fierce independence and data-driven approach offer a simple way to keep the pulse on each region of the country.
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