Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Executive Officials/Election Racetracking

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Ballotpedia provides a racetracking service for Governors, Lt. Governors, Attorneys General and Secretaries of State as part of its election coverage of state executive offices.

E-mail Kristen Mathews (kristen.mathews@ballotpedia.org) with any questions or concerns.

For each of the state races, the expected outcome is displayed in 1 of 7 classifications. The 7 classifications include:

  • Safe Democrat
  • Likely Democrat
  • Leans Democrat
  • Toss-up
  • Leans Republican
  • Likely Republican
  • Safe Republican

These are the standard 7 classifications typically used by organizations when assessing the likely outcomes of races for U.S. Congress and governor.

Ballotpedia's methodology

These are the 7 classifications and the considerations taken into account when deciding how to classify a particular race.

In some cases, the only two highly relevant pieces of information that are available to allow an assessment are (a) how the statewide electorate voted in the 2008 presidential election and (b) the most recent election outcome for the specific office.

Basic considerations

  • Safe Democrat
    • If a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position and faces no major challenge in the election
    • If a Democratic candidate vying for the office faces no Republican challenger
  • Likely Democrat
    • If a state (55% of the electorate or above) went to Barack Obama in the November 2012 presidential election
    • If a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position
  • Lean Democrat
    • If a state (below 55% of the electorate) went to Barack Obama in the November 2012 presidential election
    • If a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position
  • Toss-up
    • If the state went to Barack Obama in November 2012, but a Republican currently occupies the statewide position
    • If the state went to Mitt Romney in November 2012, but a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position
  • Lean Republican
    • If a state (below 55% of the electorate) went to Mitt Romney in the November 2012 presidential election
    • If a Republican currently occupies the statewide position
  • Likely Republican
    • If a state (55% of the electorate or above) went to Mitt Romney in the November 2012 presidential election
    • If a Republican currently occupies the statewide position
  • Safe Republican
    • If a Republican currently occupies the statewide position and faces no major challenge in the election
    • If a Republican candidate vying for the office faces no Democratic challenger in November

Additional considerations

However, as election day approaches, in some high profile or high intensity elections, additional information will become available. The additional information that is likely to be judged as relevant for predicting the outcome of a race is:

  • Campaign fundraising
  • Polls for the office
  • Key or surprising endorsements
  • Polls for the top of the ticket (U.S. Senate or governor campaigns in the state, if there are any) that might be taken as evidence of a pronounced political tide in effect in that state that could carry down-ticket races along with them.

Presentation

Election overview articles

Example:

See article: Secretary of State elections, 2010 and Attorney General elections, 2010

Election outcome predictions

For the methodology of this racetracking analysis, see Election Racetracking

With a week left until the 2010 midterm elections, Ballotpedia made its predictions regarding the thirty State Attorney General contests, believing that Republicans would win 18 of these races while the Democrats would walk away with 12. Additionally, Ballotpedia also contended that of these eighteen elections the Republican Party was projected to win, seven of them - Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, and Oklahoma - would have been offices that were previously held by Democrats.

Month Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
August 4 7 3 8 1 5 2
September 2 7 4 3 7 5 2
October 2 8 2 1 7 8 2


As of May 3, 2011 the accuracy of Ballotpedia's State Attorney General Race Tracker stands at 93.3% having correctly predicted 28 out of the 30 contests that have been called. What has not been taken in account as of yet are the appointments made by newly elected governors and state legislatures, decisions that are not likely to be made until at least January of next year.

State election articles

Example:

See article: Alabama Attorney General election, 2010 and New Mexico Secretary of State election, 2010

Race tracker

Ballotpedia predicted a Republican would become Alabama's new Secretary of State.

2010 Ballotpedia Race Rankings for Alabama Secretary of State
Race Tracker Race Rating
Ballotpedia Likely Republican
Overall Call Likely Republican

See also

Projected outcomes