2021 Session Prep Toolkit
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Key Takeaways:

  • The 2020 state elections are two weeks away and a few things have changed since our initial analysis.
  • Republicans have a chance to increase their nationwide gubernatorial lead as polling in Montana shows a slight edge for the GOP candidate.
  • State legislatures are heading in an overall Democratic-friendly direction as forecasters give Democrats a slight edge to capture state legislative majorities in the Minnesota Senate, Iowa House, and both chambers in Arizona.
  • Republicans can capture control of the Alaska House away from the current coalition majority.
  • Our state elections resources have all our up-to-date research and analysis: bookmark our 2020 Elections Landing Page and our 2020 State Elections Data Dashboard.

We’re less than two weeks out from the 2020 general elections. After highlighting races over the past month, here is a quick update on shifts in races since our initial analysis. 

Republicans have a chance to increase their nationwide gubernatorial lead as polling in Montana shows a slight edge for the GOP candidate. State legislatures are heading in an overall Democratic-friendly direction as forecasters give Democrats a slight edge to capture state legislative majorities in the Minnesota Senate, Iowa House, and both chambers in Arizona. Even the North Carolina House and Texas House could be in play for Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans can capture control of the Alaska House away from the current coalition majority. Finally, Democrats favored to break up several Republican supermajorities in state legislatures and end a few Republican statewide trifectas. 

All projections referenced below are produced by election forecasters CNalysis

Governors

Current Status: There are currently 26 Republican governors and 24 Democratic governors. Click here for additional analysis on 2020 governors races

Forecast Shifts Since Last Update: 

  • The biggest change since our last update is the Montana gubernatorial race moving from “Toss-Up” to “Tilt Republican” as Republican candidate Greg Gianforte has a polling edge against Democratic candidate Mike Cooney in the race to replace term-limited Democratic Governor Steve Bullock. 
  • Washington and Delaware remain “Safe Democratic” seats and Indiana, North Dakota, and Utah remain “Safe Republican” seats, while the incumbent governors in Vermont and New Hampshire move from “Likely Republican” to “Safe Republican.” 
  • North Carolina moves from “Lean Democratic” to “Likely Democratic” giving incumbent Democratic Governor Roy Cooper a stronger chance of keeping the governor’s mansion.
  • Missouri shifts from a “Likely Republican” governor’s race to “Lean Republican.”
  • West Virginia is downgraded from a “Safe Republican” race to “Likely Republican.”

Today’s Projection: 

    • Democrats are hoping to hold on to their current 24 governor seats after this election. But current projections have Republicans slightly favored to pick up the seat in Montana, changing the nationwide gubernatorial makeup to 27 Republicans (+1) to 23 Democrats (-1).
    • Seven out of the eleven races are rated as safe seats for the incumbent party. That leaves only four states in play. West Virginia and North Carolina, rated as likely to remain with the incumbent, are a reach, Missouri could be a Democratic opportunity if they have a very good night, which they’ll also need to hold on to their governor’s seat in Montana.

    Legislatures

    Current Status: Republicans currently control 59 state legislative chambers, Democrats control 39 legislative chambers, and a coalition controls the Alaska House. Click here for additional analysis on 2020 legislative races. 

    Forecast Shifts Since Last Update: 

    • The Alaska House is now predicted to shift to Republican control (from “Tilt Democratic” to “Tilt Republican”) after moderate Republican members of the current majority coalition (who have aligned with Democrats) announced they would join a Republican majority in 2021.
    • Both the House and Senate in Arizona have moved from “Toss-Up” to “Tilt Democratic,” which would flip these chambers currently held by Republican majorities.
    • The Iowa House is now rated as “Tilt Democratic” from a previous “Toss Up” rating. It’s another opportunity for flipping political control of a state legislative chamber.

    Today’s Projection: 

    • Democrats are even more likely to flip chambers in Arizona and Iowa. The Michigan House is still a Toss-Up. And the Alaska House has gone from a Democratic edge to a Republican edge. So if Democrats win the Michigan House and the Tilt Democratic chambers, they’d pick up five new chambers but lose their coalition majority in the Alaska House.
    • Assuming those projections, Democrats would control 44 (+5) chambers nationwide and Republicans would control 55 (-4).
    • Remaining opportunities for Democrats to flip Republican chambers remain in the Pennsylvania House (“Lean Republican”), both the House and Senate in North Carolina (“Tilt Republican” and “Lean Republican,” respectively), and the Texas House (“Lean Republican”).

    Supermajorities

    Current Status: Republicans currently hold supermajorities in 30 chambers and Democrats hold supermajorities in 20 chambers. The remaining 49 chambers have one political party with a simple majority that cannot override the governor's veto of its legislation. Click here for additional analysis on legislative supermajorities.

    Forecast Shifts Since Last Update: 

    • Democrats have an edge in picking up new supermajorities in both the New York Senate and New Mexico House, as each chamber has moved from a “Toss-Up” rating to “Tilt Democratic Gain.”
    • In Kansas, Republicans are at risk of losing supermajorities in both the House and Senate, both with “Toss-Up” ratings.
    • The Arkansas House is now a “Toss-Up” for whether Republicans keep their supermajority in that chamber. 

      Today’s Projection: 

      • Democrats are favorites to gain supermajorities in the Delaware Senate (“Likely Democrat Gain”), New Mexico House (“Tilt Democratic Gain”), and New York Senate (“Tilt Democratic Gain”).
      • Republicans are also poised to deny Democrats their supermajority in the Oregon Senate (“Lean Democratic Loss”), and potentially the Nevada House (“Tilt Democratic Keep”), which would diminish any Democratic gains in supermajorities for 2021.
      • If Democrats gain the three favored supermajorities and lose one supermajority in Oregon, this would give Democrats 22 (+2) total supermajority chambers in 2021.
      • If Republicans can keep their majorities in Arkansas and Kansas (all rated “Toss-Up”), then they’d remain at 30 statewide supermajorities. However, if Democrats have a good night and break up those supermajorities, then the GOP nationwide number would fall to 27 (-3) in 2021.  

      Trifectas

      Current Status: A political party holds a “trifecta” in a state when it controls both state legislative chambers as well as the governor’s office. Republicans currently have trifectas in 21 states, Democrats hold 15 state trifectas, and the remaining 14 states are under split control. Click here for additional analysis on state government trifectas.

      Forecast Shifts Since Last Update: 

      • Republicans are now favored to gain a trifecta in Montana by winning this year’s governor’s race, which is now rated “Tilt Republican” from an earlier “Toss-Up” rating.
      • More good news for Republican trifectas in Alaska as the House is now predicted to shift to Republican control (from “Tilt Democratic” to “Tilt Republican”) after moderate Republican members of the current majority coalition (who have aligned with Democrats) announced they would join a Republican majority in 2021.
      • The chances of Republicans regaining a trifecta in North Carolina have diminished with incumbent Democratic Governor Roy Cooper “Likely” to retain his seat (moved from “Lean Democratic” earlier) and Republican majorities in both legislative chambers in play (“Tilt Republican” in the House and “Lean Republican” in the Senate).
      • A few legislative chambers have shifted in the direction of Democrats recently that would break up Republican trifectas in those states. This includes Arizona (both the House and Senate in Arizona have moved from “Toss-Up” to “Tilt Democratic”) and Iowa (House moved from “Toss Up” to “Tilt Democratic”).

      Today’s Projection: 

      • Democrats are still projected to pick up a trifecta in Minnesota by capturing control of the Senate (“Tilt Democratic”). Republicans are projected to pick up two new trifectas in Alaska and Montana.
      • Republicans can also expect some losses of state trifectas as well, including Arizona and Iowa.
      • Assuming the above, this would put Democrats at 16 trifectas (+1) in 2021 with Republicans’ total remaining at 21.
      • There’s also an outside chance Democrats break up additional Republican trifecta by winning control of the House in Texas (“Lean Republican”).

        Ballot Measures

        Currently, 32 states have certified a total of 120 statewide ballot measures for the November 3 ballot. Track all 120 measures, including links to official ballot language, on MultiState’s 2020 State Elections Data Dashboard. We’ve also provided in-depth analysis of a handful of the most high-profile ballot measures here and here

        Want More Election Coverage?

        For even more election coverage, visit MultiState's 2020 State Elections Landing Page, your source for up-to-date and accurate election results and analysis. Bookmark our page for updated maps on partisan breakdown of state governors and legislatures pre- and post-election, plus analysis on the races and key ballot measures from our MultiState Insider blog.