Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe in going out on a limb -- even at the risk of plummeting to the ground and ending up with lump on my hindquarters.
Until now, I've had two governor's races rated as toss-ups: North Carolina and Washington. But, in my opinion anyway, rating an election a toss-up on election eve is lame. So, it's time for some bold predictions.
I'm changing the Washington governor's race to "leans Democratic." Gov. Christine Gregoire has led in the last seven polls. In the final Rasmussen poll, final University of Washington poll, final Strategic Vision poll and final SurveyUSA poll, Gregoire led by 2 percentage points every single time.
I'm not sure if Republican Dino Rossi has been hurt by a lawsuit against the Building Industry Association of Washington -- a lawsuit that alleges the association violated campaign finance law by aiding Rossi's campaign. But, even if Rossi has been hurt slightly, that's enough to alter the outcome of this exceedingly close race.
Another prediction: We don't know the result of this one tomorrow. Most voters in Washington cast their ballots by mail. Washington (unlike Oregon, for example) doesn't require mail ballots to arrive by election day, only to be postmarked by election day. For that reason, vote counting in Washington tends to move about as fast as frozen molasses.
I'm changing the North Carolina governor 's race to "leans Republican." Honestly, most polls still give Democrat Bev Perdue a slight lead. This is more of a hunch than anything else -- and it's always dangerous to trust your hunches over empirical evidence.
Perdue's challenge is that her opponent, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, is going to overperform in the Charlotte area. That means she'll have to do better in the rest of the state than the other Democrats running statewide (Barack Obama, Kay Hagen, etc.).
I'm also wondering whether some voters in North Carolina will ultimately decide they don't want to vote Democratic for all of the major offices. Hagen, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate against Elizabeth Dole, is now a solid favorite to win. Will the independents, moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats in North Carolina ultimately decide that they don't want to vote Obama, Hagen, Perdue?
If so, McCrory could benefit. Then again, perhaps John McCain is the one who will benefit. I don't expect either the presidential race or the governor's race in North Carolina to be called early, so it will be very interesting to watch whether Obama or Perdue is in a better position throughout the evening.
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