The Forecast: Republican Gov. Scott Walker is an underdog

House forecast: Democrats will win 226 seats (and t...

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 6:51 AM
Updated: Oct 23, 2018 6:51 AM

House forecast: Democrats will win 226 seats (and the House majority) while Republicans will win just 209 seats. A Democratic win of 202 seats and 260 seats is within the margin of error.

Senate forecast: Republicans will hold 51 seats (and maintain control of the Senate) next Congress while Democrats will hold just 49. Anything between Republicans holding 47 seats and 56 seats is within the margin of error.

2016 Presidential election

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Governors

Heads of government

Political candidates

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Primaries and caucuses

Scott Walker

US Congress

US Federal elections

US political parties

US Presidential elections

US Republican Party

US Senate

Four years ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was on his way to winning his second full-term as the state's governor. He had beaten back a recall attempt two years earlier and seemed destined to be a top tier candidate in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Then Donald Trump came. Walker was one of the first to bow out of the presidential race in 2015.

Today, Walker is an underdog for re-election.

I re-ran my Senate model, but substituted in the recent polling from the Wisconsin governor's race. The forecast was for Walker to lose by 4 percentage points to Democrat Tony Evers.

Now, the margin of error (+/- 12 percentage points) in this forecast is certainly wide enough to give Walker a chance. Walker held a 1 point advantage in a poll conducted by the best pollster in the state (the Marquette University Law School poll) earlier this month.

Evers though has clearly led in the polling throughout the campaign. Of the nine non-partisan polls taken, Walker has only led in two of them (22%). Evers has led in six (67%). One of them was a tie (11%).

This is vastly different than any of Walker's previous campaigns. According to RealClearPolitics, Walker led in every single nonpartisan poll during his successful 2010 bid. Walker led in all but two nonpartisan polls in his 2012 recall campaign, and he led in every single poll within three months of the recall. Even in his 2014 re-election campaign, when Walker was polling his weakest, he still only trailed in five of 25 (25%) of polls taken.

Walker's weak position can be attributed to a number of forces.

First and foremost, he's running in a bad political environment for the first time in his political career. Republican President Donald Trump's net approval rating stands at -5 percentage points in the latest Marquette University Law School poll of Wisconsin likely voters. If you knew nothing else, you'd think a Republican in a purple state would be in trouble given where Trump stands.

Walker was either running in a pro-Republican or neutral political environment in his three previous campaigns. In 2010, Democratic President Barack Obama's net approval rating was at -7 percentage points. During the 2012 recall, Obama's net approval was even. Finally, in 2014, Obama's net approval rating was at -12 percentage points.

Second, Walker's opponent doesn't seem to have alienated voters like past opponents have. Evers had a slightly positive (+3) net favorable rating in the Marquette poll. It was highly positive (+11) percentage points in a Marist College poll. That's very different from when Democrat Tom Barrett had a negative net favorable rating at the end of both the 2010 gubernatorial campaign as well as the 2012 recall. The same goes for Mary Burke at the end of the 2014 campaign.

Third, Walker may have simply worn out his welcome. We know from presidential politics that when a party runs for a third term it's usually a much more difficult campaign than the election for a full second term. There's a reason why only one party has won a third presidential term since the 1950s.

Today, Walker's net approval favorable is negative for the first time in any of his campaigns. If you believe Marquette, it's at -1 percentage points. If you believe Marist, it's at -12 percentage points. Either way, it's worse than in any of his previous bids.

Indeed, Walker's poor position is emblematic of the GOP in the Upper Midwest overall. Republicans are underdogs in the Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota gubernatorial races as well. That's quite a change from two years ago, when Trump rode the region to the White House. Now, it may end Walker's political career.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 80°
Decatur
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 73°
Dry start to the work week
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events