Louis Jacobson is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
Before the chaos of Election Day, we put together all of our final rankings and ratings for the 2012 elections. So, how did we do?
Pretty well, actually. In the interest of accountability (and perhaps a little gloating) here's a rundown.
Within each rating category (lean Republican, tossup, Likely Democratic and so on), we rank-ordered the states by their likelihood to favor one candidate or the other, except for states considered safe Democratic and safe Republican. So, beyond the safe categories, the list of states could be viewed as a continuum between the states most likely to go Republican (at the top) and the states most likely to go Democratic (at the bottom). If our prognostication was sound, we should be able to draw a line somewhere in the tossup category and find all the states above that line won by a Republican and all the seats below that line won by a Democrat.
That's exactly what happened. The states we rated likely Republican (Indiana, Missouri and one of Nebraska's five electoral votes) and lean Republican (Arizona) all went for Mitt Romney, as did the state in the tossup category ranked closest to lean Republican (North Carolina). Every other tossup state went to President Obama, as did all lean Democratic and likely Democratic states.
For gubernatorial contests, we ranked the states the same way we did electoral votes.
The lean Republican state (North Carolina) went Republican, the lean Democratic state (West Virginia) went Democratic, and, if current trends hold, the three tossup states (Montana, Washington state and New Hampshire) all went Democratic. So our rankings were sound.
State Attorney General Contests
We handicapped state attorney general races by categories; we did not rank-order them.
The lean Republican race (Montana) went Republican. The tossup race (West Virginia) went Republican. And the lean Democratic states (Washington state, Missouri and Pennsylvania) all went Democratic or, in Washington state's case, appear to be headed that way. Again, our ratings were accurate.
State Legislative Chambers
State legislative chambers often take some time to sort out, so it's possible that more chambers will switch partisan control in the coming days. As of now, though, 12 states have shifted control or seem likely to do so. Here are the switches, along with our final pre-election rating.
Shifted from Democratic to Republican
Arkansas Senate -- lean Republican
Arkansas House -- lean Republican
Wisconsin Senate -- lean Republican
Shifted from a Tie to Republican Control
Alaska Senate -- lean Republican
Shifted from Republican to Democratic
Colorado House -- lean Democratic
Maine Senate -- lean Republican
Maine House -- lean Democratic
Minnesota Senate -- tossup
Minnesota House -- tossup
New Hampshire House -- lean Republican
New York Senate -- tossup
Shifted from a Tie to Democratic
Oregon House -- lean Democratic
If these chambers do switch as noted, and if no other chamber switches occur, then we will have been correct in defining these chambers as competitive in our final pre-election ratings. The only mild surprises were the New Hampshire House (which we had rated as competitive but leaning Republican) and the Maine Senate (which we rated as competitive but leaning Republican).
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