One of the most interesting aggregate questions in 2022 midterm election odds is how far will the Republican advantage go in state government. Most notably, how many Governorships can the GOP win?
Fortunately, that market is available to bet on at PredictIt, and there’s a lot of value to be had.
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How many Republican governors will there be after the midterms?
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|Number||March 8, 2022 Price||Equivalent Odds|
|22 or fewer||$0.01||+9900|
|32 or more||$0.36||+178|
2022 midterm election odds: Current State Of Governorships
At the end of the Trump Presidency, the GOP had 27 state governorships, before flipping the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2021 to give them 28. With 36 states having elections this year, they could, if the year goes well for them, increase that number.
The problem for the GOP is if you’re trying to count them to 29 or more, you actually have to start with two likely losses – Massachusetts and Maryland.
In Massachusetts, two-term incumbent Governor Charlie Baker has decided not to run again, and in Maryland Larry Hogan is prohibited from running for a third term by state law. Both should easily return to Democrats.
Now, both states do pose a cautionary tale for Democrats – both are blue states won by the GOP in the 2014 red wave, and they should limit Democratic arrogance that all their safe states in normal states can be considered so this time, but for the GOP, they start with a notional 26.
The other thing worth noting is that Governorships are becoming increasingly partisan – in 2006, 16 of 36 states voted for a Governor of a different party than their Presidential vote in 2004. In 2018, that number fell to eight.
What Are The Contenders To Flip?
To hit the 32 or more bracket, the GOP needs to hold Arizona and Georgia and flip six more states, which is both definitely possible and highly unlikely.
State 27 for the GOP has to be Kansas, where a horrible GOP nominee in 2018 and a blue year led to the Kansas GOP botching the race and electing Democrat Laura Kelly. Kelly’s been a moderate Governor, but with the national environment where it looks likely to be, her winning again would be a truly remarkable event, and a sign that the GOP is having a terrible night.
Wisconsin would be next up – a Biden +0.6% state which has been getting increasingly Republican compared to the nation as a whole. Democrats have incumbent Governor Tony Evers there and not a whole lot else going for them. The GOP is going to be riding on Biden’s low approvals in the state (43/52 approve/disapprove, per Marquette last week), but even then, Evers is still personally popular with a 50/41 split.
The GOP might be considered slight favorites in the state, but it’s not an auspicious start that the GOP can’t be too confident about Wisconsin.
Here Democrats are the optimists, with the GOP’s favorable environment running up against the fact that their likely candidates are candidates with little money raised, no name recognition, and no record of ever being electorally viable.
Yes, if the tide takes out all Democrats one of them could win, but unless the environment is really bad, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro is likely to run ahead of both national environment and whoever the Democratic Senate nominee in Pennsylvania is. Plus, whoever that Senate nominee is, they’re probably the slight favorite to win, and is no worse than a tossup.
Here we have a lot of polling, and right now Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer is winning over her likely Republican challenger. In four polls this year, Whitmer leads in three and is tied in the fourth, but even the fourth is a GOP internal poll. A straight average of the four polls has her up 4%, and Whitmer’s approvals are a solid 50/43.
Could Whitmer lose? Sure, but she’s favored to win at this point, pretty clearly.
Here, Biden’s results are a bit of a mirage, with the pandemic hurting Democratic outreach efforts in 2020 and Democrats on a run of good form in the state. Having won every high-profile race in the state since 2016, including Governor Steve Sisolak’s election in 2018, Democrats should be favored here.
A recent poll had Sisolak up 4% over the likely GOP nominee, and his 50/39 favorable ratings make Democrats clear favorites in the Silver State.
Democratic incumbent Tim Walz is leading all his GOP opponents by nearly 10%, but more simply, Republicans aren’t winning Minnesota in a world where they’re struggling to win all three of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Where Could The GOP Lose Seats?
Here the GOP is trying to replace incumbent Doug Ducey against a strong challenge from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Kerri Lake, a TV personality turned election conspiracy theorist is the likely GOP nominee, and a recent poll had her up 1% on Hobbs.
Arizona has been a more reliable vote for the GOP for state office than federal ones, and there is a nascent fiscal conservatism amongst some Biden voters which will help the GOP, but even with all that said, the Arizona GOP cannot be considered anything other than slight favorites here.
Here, incumbent GOP Governor Brian Kemp is facing two battles – a tough primary from the Donald Trump-endorsed David Perdue and in a general election, if he gets there, with Stacey Abrams.
Kemp is in a tough primary for the supposed sin of being too soft when Joe Biden won Georgia and not engaging with the conspiracies about election fraud of then-President Trump. Whether that primary wins or not, the act of being primaried will hurt Kemp, creating bad blood with his right flank and distracting him from the main task.
Abrams is also a credible candidate in a blue state, and the 2021 Senate runoffs prove Democrats can get their turnout high even in off-year elections. This race is a tossup until further notice.
The GOP would need everything to go right for them, winning all eight of these states to hit 32, or winning one or two less of these and finding some other longshot flip. Plainly, that’s not gonna happen, and they’re not going to get 31 either.
The best the GOP can realistically hope to do is hold Arizona and Georgia and win Kansas and the Michigan-Pennsylvania-Wisconsin trio, but even that’s highly unlikely. The GOP will probably end up winning Kansas, meaning they have a floor of 25 and a ceiling of 30. Betting every option in that tranche would be a 45-cent bet for what is a very high % of the total equity.
But for 28 cents, 25-29 is an even better bet, because one of Whitmer, Evers, Shapiro, Abrams, and Hobbs will win, even if it’s hard to tell which one is most likely.
With so many outs for Democrats, they’ll keep the GOP under 30 Governorships. Bettors who know how to take advantage can profit from 2022 midterm election odds.