Thursday, September 30, 2010

Governing Mag: State Legislative outlook for Democrats worsens

In our new assessment -- the second of three we will do before Election Day -- we find 28 chambers "in play," a net increase of one from July. Of the 28, the Democrats currently control 25, with just one held by the GOP and two currently tied. (Chambers that are rated tossups and lean Democratic/lean Republican are considered to be "in play.")

As we indicated in July, this is a terrible combination for the Democrats -- both an unusually large number of chambers are in play at the same time (32 percent of all chambers up this cycle -- the highest percentage recorded in the five cycles this author has been handicapping the legislatures), and there's a startlingly unprecedented lean toward one party, the GOP.

In none of the previous five cycles -- which included two national wave elections (2006 and 2008) and a heavily anti-incumbent cycle for governors (2002) -- was there ever this wide a difference in projected risk between the two parties. Instead, the typical ratio of vulnerable chambers between the parties has been close to even.