Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Executive Officials/Election Racetracking

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Main project page: Ballotpedia:WikiProject State Executive Officials

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

E-mail Nick Katers (nkaters@ballotpedia.org) with any questions or concerns.

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

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

These are the standard seven classifications typically used by organizations when assessing the likely outcomes of congressional and gubernatorial races.

Ballotpedia's methodology

These are the seven 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 last 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
    • If a Democratic candidate vying for the office holds an average lead of more than five percent in opinion polls obtained by Ballotpedia
  • 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
    • If a Democratic candidate vying for the office holds an average lead of less than five percent or is behind another candidate by less than five percent in opinion polls obtained by Ballotpedia
  • 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
    • If either candidate holds an average lead of less than five percent in polls obtained by Ballotpedia
  • 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
    • If a Republican candidate vying for the office holds an average lead of less than five percent or is behind another candidate by less than five percent in opinion polls obtained by Ballotpedia
  • 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
    • If a Republican candidate vying for the office holds an average lead of more than five percent in opinion polls obtained by Ballotpedia
  • 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
  • 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.

Outside source tracking: alternative methodology

Another way to present election projections is with the {{Race tracking}} template. This template will generate a table showing the predicted outcomes for a given race as reported by a group of reliable outside sources, including The Cook Political Report, Governing, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball and The Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report. Information displayed in the table is drawn entirely from ratings reports published by this selection of sources and is not based on Ballotpedia's racetracking methodology.

Installation

To use this template, copy and past this code onto an election overview page and fill in each of the given fields:

{{Race tracking
|Office=
|Cook url = 
|Gov url = 
|Larry url = 
|Roth url = 
|Cook Rating=
|Gov Rating =
|Roth Rating =
|Larry Rating =
|Overall call=
|}}

Examples

Below are examples of how a racetracking section or component would appear on different types of election overview pages in a given election year. For example: Gubernatorial elections, 2015 and Mississippi gubernatorial election, 2015

First 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 30 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 18 attorney general seats projected to be won by Republicans, seven of them - Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio and Oklahoma - would be 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


Second example

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

Racetracker

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

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

Third example

See article: Gubernatorial elections, 2015

Racetracking

2015 Race Rankings - Governor of Kentucky (Open seat)
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report Toss-up
Governing Toss-up
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball Lean Republican
The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report Toss-up
Overall call (as of May 2015) Toss-up


See also

Projected outcomes