New Jersey and Virginia Governor contests tighten in final week

The news from Virginia is that the opinion polls are showing a close race for the governorship with Democratic Party candidate Tim Kaine the leader. This represents a turnaround since my last posting, when I forecast a Republican victory in the "Old Dominion".

In off-year elections (especially perhaps for elections occurring the year after a Presidential election) turnout is everything. I note that the online bookies still rate Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore as the favourite, whereas the pollsters seem to have made up their minds for Mr Kaine.

I'm going to stick with my forecast of a Republican gain in Virginia, partly because this was a state that Democrats and pollsters said would be close this time last year, before producing an eight percentage point lead for President George W. Bush.

In New Jersey we see a state that in gubernatorial contests has often been competitive (indeed the last Governor of New Jersey to be elected, as opposed to nominated by the State Senate was Republican Christine Whitman). Last year the polls for the presidential election showed a far closer result than was in fact the case, with Democratic candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry winning by nearly seven percentage points.

The online bookies are clear in backing Jon Corzine, the Democratic candidate with odds in the region of 90 percent. The pollsters however aren't so sure. Republican candidate Doug Forrester has not come within four percentage points of his opponent in 32 of 33 opinion polls.

I'm also sticking with a Democratic Party hold for New Jersey, but Forrester's odds are so bad on Tradesports that it might be worth a bet. You could win nearly seven times your stake, when I last looked.

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