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Gubernatorial Scorecard: The Last 10 Elections by State

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Democrats have stumbled to their third worst record in the country in Rhode Island but have won 31 of 40 gubernatorial races in Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, and Wyoming

kentuckyseal10.pngWith gubernatorial campaigns well underway in two states on the ballot in 2013 (Virginia and New Jersey) and gearing up in another 36 for the 2014 cycle, Smart Politics offers an at-a-glance scorecard summarizing how Democrats, Republicans, and third parties have fared in each state's last 10 gubernatorial contests.

With a few exceptions (e.g. states that have held special or recall elections or those that hold contests every two years), this scorecard captures gubernatorial contests since the mid-1970s.

Currently, no party has a 10-cycle winning streak in any state - although three states come close.

Republicans have run off nine consecutive gubernatorial wins in South Dakota and Utah while Democrats have done the same in Washington.

Democrats have also won nine of their last 10 races in Kentucky and Maryland.

Maryland also holds the mark of the only state in which one party has averaged at least 60 percent of the vote over the last 10 contests (with Democrats coming in at 60.0 percent; South Dakota is next with Republicans averaging 58.4 percent).

Republicans have rattled off at least two consecutive wins in 16 states totaling 68 contests: South Dakota and Utah at nine, North Dakota at six, Idaho and Texas at five, Florida, Nevada, and Nebraska at four, Alaska, Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina with three, and Louisiana and Wisconsin with two.

Democrats, meanwhile, have tallied at least two victories in a row in 15 states totaling 54 contests: Washington at nine, Oregon at seven, Delaware at six, New Hampshire and West Virginia at five, Illinois and Montana at three, and Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Vermont with two.

The political discourse surrounding the partisan leanings of a state frequently seems to be defined by its vote in federal elections (namely president, but also U.S. Senate).

However, the red-blue-purple guideposts that federal elections provide can widely miss the mark when it comes to gubernatorial contests.

For example:

· Over the last 10 contests, Democrats have amassed their third worst record in any state in the country in Rhode Island - with just two victories since 1984 (in 1990 and 1992).

· Democrats in the Midwestern states of Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin are also under water in gubernatorial contests with a 3-7 record in each - tied for the fourth worst mark for the Party in the nation (although Illinois Democrats have turned the tide and won each of the last three contests).

· Meanwhile, Democrats have amassed a formidable gubernatorial record in 'red' states like Kentucky (9-1) and West Virginia (8-2) as well as generally strong performances in Arkansas (7-3), North Carolina (7-3), and Wyoming (7-3) over the last 40 years.

Of course, '10' is not a magic number when it comes to examining the voting trends in any state - and in many ways 10 cycles can be a lifetime in politics.

However, looking simply at the previous election cycle as a guide can be deceiving as well - just like many states flipped in 2010, many are sure to do so again in 2014.

The Last 10 Gubernatorial Races by State

State
Years
% DEM
% GOP
% 3rd
DEM
GOP
3rd
Streak
Washington
1976-2012
53.4
45.9
0.7
9
1
0
DEM - 9
Kentucky
1975-2011
57.7
39.5
2.8
9
1
0
DEM - 2
Maryland
1974-2010
60.0
39.6
0.4
9
1
0
DEM - 2
Oregon
1974-2010
50.2
45.7
4.1
8
2
0
DEM - 7
New Hampshire
1994-2012
53.8
43.3
2.9
8
2
0
DEM - 5
West Virginia
1980-2012
54.5
42.8
2.7
8
2
0
DEM - 5
Colorado
1974-2010
54.3
39.4
6.3
8
2
0
DEM - 2
Hawaii
1974-2010
49.3
43.6
7.1
8
2
0
DEM - 1
North Carolina
1976-2012
52.6
45.8
1.6
7
3
0
GOP - 1
Wyoming
1974-2010
51.3
46.9
1.8
7
3
0
GOP - 1
Georgia
1974-2010
56.7
41.7
1.6
7
3
0
GOP - 3
Arkansas
1980-2010
55.2
44.1
0.7
7
3
0
DEM - 2
New York
1974-2010
52.1
40.2
7.7
7
3
0
DEM - 2
New Mexico
1974-2010
51.1
47.1
1.8
6
4
0
GOP - 1
Oklahoma
1974-2010
50.01
44.3
5.7
6
4
0
GOP - 1
Delaware
1976-2012
52.7
46.3
1.0
6
4
0
DEM - 6
Montana
1976-2012
51.5
46.8
1.8
6
4
0
DEM - 3
Massachusetts
1974-2010
50.6
45.6
3.8
6
4
0
DEM - 2
Missouri
1976-2012
50.1
48.6
1.3
6
4
0
DEM - 2
Vermont
1994-2012
49.6
41.9
8.5
6
4
0
DEM - 2
Connecticut
1974-2010
44.7
47.3
8.0
5
4
1
DEM - 1
Maine
1974-2010
37.0
33.3
29.7
4
3
3
GOP - 1
Arizona
1974-2010
47.7
46.6
5.7
5
5
0
GOP - 1
Kansas
1974-2010
45.0
52.2
2.8
5
5
0
GOP - 1
New Jersey
1973-2009
51.1
45.9
3.0
5
5
0
GOP - 1
Pennsylvania
1974-2010
49.7
47.1
3.2
5
5
0
GOP - 1
Tennessee
1974-2010
48.2
50.7
1.1
5
5
0
GOP - 1
Virginia
1973-2009
43.1
51.3
5.6
5
5
0
GOP - 1
Louisiana*
1975-2011
48.9
41.9
0.9
5
5
0
GOP - 2
Mississippi
1975-2011
49.0
49.6
1.4
5
5
0
GOP - 3
Florida
1974-2010
51.5
47.8
0.7
5
5
0
GOP - 4
Nevada
1974-2010
50.0
43.2
6.8
5
5
0
GOP - 4
Idaho
1974-2010
49.1
48.3
2.6
5
5
0
GOP - 5
Alaska
1974-2010
40.0
41.1
18.9
4
5
1
GOP - 3
Minnesota
1974-2010
45.8
44.7
9.5
4
5
1
DEM - 1
California
1978-2010
45.7
47.7
6.6
4
6
0
DEM - 1
Michigan
1974-2010
48.2
50.6
1.2
4
6
0
GOP - 1
Alabama
1974-2010
54.3
44.4
1.3
4
6
0
GOP - 3
Indiana
1976-2012
48.8
49.9
1.3
4
6
0
GOP - 3
Nebraska
1974-2010
44.8
53.8
1.4
4
6
0
GOP - 4
Illinois
1976-2010
41.0
52.2
6.8
3
7
0
DEM - 3
Iowa
1974-2010
45.9
52.7
1.4
3
7
0
GOP - 1
Ohio
1974-2010
47.5
49.7
2.8
3
7
0
GOP - 1
Wisconsin
1978-2012
45.0
52.6
2.4
3
7
0
GOP - 2
South Carolina
1974-2010
49.4
49.4
1.2
3
7
0
GOP - 3
Texas
1974-2010
44.9
50.0
5.1
3
7
0
GOP - 5
North Dakota
1976-2012
41.8
57.3
0.9
3
7
0
GOP - 6
Rhode Island
1984-2010
46.0
47.3
6.7
2
7
1
IND - 1
South Dakota
1974-2010
40.5
58.4
1.1
1
9
0
GOP - 9
Utah
1980-2012
34.7
58.1
7.2
1
9
0
GOP - 9
* Louisiana does not sum to 100 because, if no run-off election is forced, multiple candidates from the same party may appear on the final ballot. The Democratic and Republican averages reflect the top candidate in the final ballot, whether a run-off election or otherwise. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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1 Comment


  • that's great list.

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    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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