Heading into the true “home stretch,” national eyes remain on the last strategic maneuverings of the two candidates for President. But across the country another critical set of dynamics is also at work -- turnout and voter mobilization for state executive offices. More than a dozen states will hold elections for key state offices -- Governors, Attorneys General, legislatures, and a host of other key officials -- and these races are just as competitive, and just as influential, for a host of issues like economic policy, business regulation, health care, and tax.
The impact of the global credit crisis is already being felt at the state level, with budget deficits and potential spending cuts and tax increases looming in many states. Economic development and efforts to bring states into the “new economy” are central to the minds of voters, along with traditional concerns such as property taxes, health care infrastructure, roads and bridges, and ballot referenda. In a number of stated incumbents have tied their fate to key ballot initiatives on issues such as slot machines and bond issues, and education remains top of mind for many voters.
The impact of dramatic changes in voter demographics and increased registration and turnout among Democrats in traditionally “red” states also has the potential to alter the political makeup for state governments. With a number of swing states in the Presidential election also seeing chief executives of state government on the ballot, the political landscape in states like Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indi-ana is unparalleled in terms of intensity -- making these states “ground zero” for the 2008 elections. Though it is unclear how severely the recently passed Wall Street rescue plan and the ongoing volatility in the equities markets will affect political races across the country, it is clear that these issues will weigh heavily on the minds of voters as they head to the polls.
In advance of our Post-Election analysis, Sonnenschein’s political team has highlighted the key races at the state level, and offers a snapshot of the current trends in a number of races across the country. With only a few days before the election, candidates are engaged in their last efforts to convince the dwindling universe of undecided voters and boost supporter turnout before Tuesday.
Please click here to view State Projection Scorecard.