July 14th, 2010
03:06 PM ET
13 years ago

Analyst sees large number of state legislatures in play

Washington (CNN) - Democrats racing to protect their congressional seats also face a serious battle on their other flank: state capitals. One analyst has found that a quarter of state legislatures are in play this November, with the vast majority of the bodies at risk controlled by Democrats.

"I've been doing this for five cycles now and already we have the most chambers in play as basically at any point, going back to 2002," said Lou Jacobson, who writes for PolitiFact and recently completed an extensive analysis on state legislatures for Governing magazine.

"The other really striking thing," he said, "is this (election) is the biggest differential between the two parties."


Jacobson estimates a quarter of all state legislative chambers could see a change in power from one party to another this year, and that 21 out of 25 of those are chambers are now controlled by Democrats, but could switch to Republican hands after the election. Four chambers are currently Republican and could move Democratic.

He believes those numbers will grow.

"Usually the pattern is that the further you go along in the cycle that the figure starts to rise," he told CNN Radio. "So we're already starting out at the highest point (in recent memory) and it will probably only go up from here in terms of chambers in play."

Jacobson believes his is the only published handicapping of the battle for state capitols in the country.

He admits his results are not based on polling. With thousands of races involved, the elections analyst instead relies on one-on-one interviews with approximately 100 contacts in state capitols and inside the political parties.

Jacobson will update his assessment twice more before the election.

His first take on 2010 lists these chambers as potential takeover scenes, with an indication of which way he believes the chamber leans right now:

Leaning Democratic: Colorado House and Senate, Delaware House, Iowa Senate, Maine Senate, Michigan House, Minnesota House, Nevada Senate, North Carolina House and Senate.

Tossups: Alabama House and Senate, Alaska House, Iowa Senate, New Hampshire House and Senate, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House, Wisconsin House and Senate.

Leaning Republican: Alaska House, Indiana House, Montana Senate, Tennessee House and Senate. }

Filed under: 2010 • CNN Radio • State Legislatures
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. weird

    Not that I vote for a party, but I do hope that the republicans are able to restore a balance to the political process. 4 years of democratic control of Congress has killed our economy (with the help of government forced lending practices to banks & Fanny and Freddie).

    Obama, Pelosi and Reid have used their super majority to push through a bad 'healthcare' bill, a democratic slush fund (stimulus), an auto and banking takeover, and are about to kill the economy with their Enron-esque cap and trade legislation.

    I like our democratic Congressman, but there is a good chance that I'll be voting to replace him with a qualified republican.

    July 14, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. thor

    Looks like we are going to decide if we want to choose between the system that our founding fathers wanted and the system that's been in place for nearly 200 years or go with Obama's socialst's utopia that has failed in every place in the world were it's been tried.

    July 14, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Todd

    The democrats have noone to blame but themselves. They have done a terrible job governing.

    July 14, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    Fire All incumbents!
    On all levels of Government, I know everyone knows these federal and state fake representatives are crooks, but not my representative. Well I have news for you if your representative has been in and your taxes are going up, your state fees are going up and they were part of problem too.
    I do not care if you were the dog catcher if you are an incumbent welcome to the unemployment line with the rest of us.

    July 14, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Adelita

    I hope and pray that the American voters are not the morons that the comments on the Ticker imply they are.

    July 14, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Leftist lunatics In Charge

    Hope someone with some sense takes over. Also hope all the states stand up the way Arizona did.
    This administration seems to promote breaking the laws that the feds themselves are supposed to be enforcing.

    July 14, 2010 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Augsbee

    Wow, can you imagine having to go back to work in the real world amongst us and have to actually work for a living?????? I'd be freaking out too if I had to give up that beautiful life of power, leisure, goodies.

    July 14, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. jules sand-perkins

    Only a quarter of state legislative chambers may change?
    I believe that far more states than 25% have been affected by Obamanomics.

    July 14, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    The democratic party has finally shown what it really is, a far left fringe group dedicated to the State.

    Americans are revolted by this.

    July 14, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |