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Pennsylvania governor's race moves away from Democrats (and other ratings changes)

No state better epitomizes the pendulum swing toward Republicans nationally in this election than Pennsylvania.

In 2006, then state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) crushed Sen. Rick Santorum (R) by 18(!) points in the Senate race while Gov. Ed Rendell (D) was winning re-election by 20 points over Pittsburgh Steelers great Lynn Swann.

Two years later, President Barack Obama won the Keystone State by 10 points -- a vast improvement over the three-point margin Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) won Pennsylvania by in the 2004 presidential election.

In the 20 months since President Obama came into office, however, Pennsylvania voters -- particularly independents -- have soured on Democrats.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this morning showed state Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) with a 15 point edge over Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato (D) in the governor's race -- a margin due, in major part, to the Republican's massive 27 point edge among independents.

Given that, the Pennsylvania governor's race moves from "Toss up" to "Lean Republican" in our 2010 campaign ratings. (Sidenote: We will be watching tomorrow's release of Q numbers in the Pennsylvania Senate race very closely.)

Our other ratings changes -- and there are a bunch -- are after the jump.


* Alaska Senate (Move from "Safe Republican" to "Lean Republican"): Sen. Lisa Murkowski's decision to run as a write-in candidate this fall complicates Republican attempts to hold the seat with GOP nominee Joe Miller. Whether Murkowski can win enough votes to make Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams (D) viable is still a major question mark but the race is clearly more competitive today than it was a week ago.


* Maine Governor (Move from "Lean Democrat" to "Toss Up"): Polling suggests that Waterville Mayor Paul LePage (R) has an edge over state Senate President Libby Mitchell (D) in the race to replace term-limited Gov. John Baldacci (D). Both national parties are up with ads in the state and Democrats believe that LePage's decision to storm out of a press conference last week is a game changer. Time will tell.

* Maryland Governor (Move from "Lean Democrat" to "Toss Up"): Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) crushed a Tea Party candidate in the Republican primary earlier this month and can now focus all of his fire on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Polling has the race close and Ehrlich, who spent four years as governor from 2002 to 2006, remains popular in the state. O'Malley will benefit from the Democratic underpinnings in the state and a very well-funded campaign.

* Ohio Governor (Move from "Toss Up" to "Lean Republican"): Throw out a recent Quinnipiac poll that had former Rep. John Kasich (R) ahead by 17 points over Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and the data on the race still points to an edge for the Republican nominee. Kasich's edge is attributable to massive spending by the Republican Governors Association on ads hitting the incumbent for the loss of several hundred thousand jobs in the state over the past four years. Strickland is now up full force on the airwaves and his side insists the race is close.

By Chris Cillizza  | September 21, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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