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Tight governors' races heading into final weeks

Gov. Rick Scott, R-Florida, and Charlie Crist

They don't always get all the attention amid the battle for the Senate, but in many states the hottest races are for the governors' seats.

Our Battleground Tracker estimates in the spotlight governor's races show races that can still go either way.

In Florida, in one of the most expensive (and, some say, among the most negative) campaigns in the country, Republican Rick Scott (47 percent) holds a very slim lead over the former Republican Governor - now turned Democratic challenger - Charlie Crist (44 percent). Scott holds a 20-point lead among the Sunshine State's senior population, and double-digit leads among white voters (54-39 percent) and independents (55-34 percent). Crist, meanwhile, leads Scott among voters under 45, and moderates. Hispanics are divided. The senior vote is always important in Florida, of course (voters over 65 made up a quarter of its electorate in 2012) and the fact that they have been voting Republican across many gubernatorial and Senate contest of late continues to boost the GOP's fortunes in many races.

Things have tightened to within the margin of error in Wisconsin, with Republican incumbent Scott Walker (48 percent) estimated down one point to Mary Burke (49 percent) once leaners are included and up one point without leaners, so essentially they're neck-and-neck. As in Florida and Colorado, we see women and younger voters supporting the Democratic candidate. Walker holds a slimmer eight-point lead among seniors, and more substantial leads among men (57-42 percent) and independents (55-42 percent).

In another spotlight race in Colorado, Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper now holds a slight four-point edge over Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, 49 to 45 percent. Hickenlooper enjoys a double-digit lead among women and voters under the age of 45. Beauprez has a smaller eight-point lead among both men and seniors 65 and older, as well as a six-point lead among independents.

In Kansas, incumbent Republican Governor Sam Brownback has a lead over Democratic challenger Paul Davis that's also within the margin of error - Brownback (45 percent) to Davis (42 percent). Brownback still holds the support of nearly 8 in 10 Republicans, but Davis holds a double-digit lead among independent voters. Kansas is seeing two tight battles, the other for Senate, where independent candidate Greg Orman is deadlocked with incumbent Republican Pat Roberts.

Full results.

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How it Works

YouGov, of Palo Alto, Ca., assembled the panel of registered voters, and conducted the selection, interviewing and tabulation. All 107,623 respondents in the first wave were recontacted and 53,723 were re-interviewed for this wave. In addition, 39,751 new panelists were added for the second wave. All panelists have previously opted-in to a YouGov or other online survey panel.

Data in the third wave of the New York Times/CBS News Battleground Tracker are based on online interviews with 105,277 voters conducted September 20-October 1, in all 50 states and 435 Congressional districts across the United States.

In each state and district, respondents were selected to match the demographics of registered voters. In competitive House districts and the 15 smallest states with Senate elections this year, YouGov interviewed disproportionate numbers of voters to increase the sample size for these races.

Respondents were matched and then weighted to demographics from the 2010 U.S. Census Congressional District Summary File (age, sex, race and Hispanic origin), the 2012 American Community Survey (education, marital status, employment status, home ownership and citizenship), and the Current Population Survey November 2012 Registration and Voting Supplement (voter registration and turnout). Past voting information is based on the 2012 National Election Pool Exit Poll and 2012 election returns.

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    Anthony Salvanto is CBS News elections director