Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rasmussen Reports, this election cycle's most prolific pollster, tends to show results that are more favorable to Republicans than other survey firms. But, that doesn't necessarily mean Rasmussen is wrong. Polling guru Nate Silver has made a strong case (here and here) that Rasmussen's house effect likely reflects the pollster's methodological decisions -- decisions that might or might not be the best way to measure the electorate's preferences.
As a result, Rasmussen's numbers can be viewed as reflecting the best case scenario this cycle for Republicans and the worst case scenario for Democrats. So, what would that result look like?
Here are the general election results of the most recent Rasmussen poll for every race for governor:
As you can see, I have "presumed" the results in places where I don't think Rasmussen has polled yet, but where the gubernatorial race don't currently seem to be competitive. Also, I've assumed that both parties nominate the person who is currently their strongest general election candidate (according to Rasmussen). That's a questionable assumption in a few cases such as Georgia (where Democrat Roy Barnes is tied with John Oxendine, the actual Republican frontrunner, but trails other Republican candidates), but it was a lot simpler than trying to figure out who was ahead in every primary.
Under this scenario, Republicans would win 23 races, Democrats would win 9, independent Lincoln Chafee would win in Rhode Island, two races are tied and two others lack any current polling. Republicans would end up with eight more governorships than they have right now. Democrats would have nine fewer.
Those results would be similar to the Republican landslide of 1994. That year, Republican won 24 governors' races, Democrats won 11 and independent Angus King won in Maine. Republicans picked up a net total of 10 offices.
So, perhaps this isn't any great revelation. The worst case scenario for Democrats is roughly 1994 all over again.
GOVERNING Politics is the place for news and analysis on campaigns and elections. If there's a ballot measure in California, a legislative election in Alabama, a mayoral election in Anchorage or a governor's race in Rhode Island, GOVERNING Politics probably is writing about it. We love everything about state and local politics, from polls and campaign ads to policy debates and demographic trends.