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Ballotpedia:WikiProject Secretaries of State/Election Racetracking

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See: State Executive officials/Election Racetracking for racetracking methodology for years following 2010.

Ballotpedia is providing a Secretary of State election racetracking service as part of its coverage of the 2010 Secretary of State elections.

Joe Kastner does the race-tracking analysis for Secretary of State elections, and for the 2010 state Attorney General elections. E-mail him (kastner.joseph@gmail.com) with any questions.

For each of the 26 Secretary of State races in 2010, Kastner puts the expected outcome in one of 7 classifications. The 7 classifications are "Safe Democrat", "Likely Democrat", "Leans Democrat", "Toss-up", "Leans Republican", "Likely Republican" and "Safe Republican." These are the standard 7 classifications typically used by organizations such as Congressional Quarterly when assessing the likely outcomes of races for U.S. Congress and governor.

2010 Methodology

These are the 7 classifications and the considerations Kastner takes 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 of Secretary of State.

Basic considerations

  • Safe Democrat
    • If a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position and faces no major challenge in the November 2010 election
    • If a Democratic candidate vying for the office faces no Republican challenger in November
  • Likely Democrat
    • If a state (55% of the electorate or above) went to Barack Obama in the November 2008 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 2008 presidential election
    • If a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position
  • Toss-up
    • If the state went to Barack Obama in November 2008, but a Republican currently occupies the statewide position
    • If the state went to John McCain in November 2008, but a Democrat currently occupies the statewide position
  • Lean Republican
    • If a state (below 55% of the electorate) went to John McCain in the November 2008 presidential election
    • If a Republican currently occupies the statewide position
  • Likely Republican
    • If a state (55% of the electorate or above) went to John McCain in the November 2008 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 November 2010 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.

The chart

Month Safe D Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R Safe R
August 0 7 4 6 1 8 0
September 0 7 1 2 4 9 0
October 0 7 3 1 6 9 0