CONFUSION reigns. With only a month remaining before the election, a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Aug. 22 primary is still awaiting decision. Gov. Jay S. Hammond (R), 56, apparently defeated ex-Gov. Walter J. Hickel (R), 58, by 98 votes for the GOP nomination and state Sen. Chancy Croft (D), 40, apparently defeated former state Sen. Edward A. Merdes (D), 52, by 255 votes for the Democratic nomination. The losers sued and last week 247 uncounted ballots were discovered in Anchorage.

Hammond would be favored over Croft, but the race is complicated by independent candidate Tom Kelly, who opposes both men's go-slow policy on development and plans for taxing the oil industry.

Sen. Ted Stevens (R), 54, is a strong favorite for a second term over Don W. Hobbs (D), 61, an Anchorage builder and staunch conservative. Rep. Don Young (R) should hold the only House seat. ARIZONA

GOV. BRUCE E. Babbitt (D), 40, who moved up from attorney general last March on the death of Gov. Wesley H. Bolin (D), is a strong favorite to defeat former state Sen. Evan Mecham (R), 54, who is making his fourth try for statewide office.

Republicans are throwing more of a challenge than usual at Rep. Morris K. Udall (D), but he and the other incumbents are all expected back. CALIFORNIA

GOV. EDMUND G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. (D), 40, has widened his lead over Atty. Gen. Evelle Younger (R), 60, in the latest polls. Mervin Field's California Pollsays the margin has increased from 5 points to 14 and the Los Angeles Timers said Brown was 19 points up among those most likely to vote. His surge is linked to state supreme court approval of tax-cutting Proposition 13 and poll findings that Brown is given the edge in "trying hard to make Proposition 13 work." Younger has now accepted Brown's debate challenge. While observers note the volatile nature of California politics this year, Brown is now a clear favorite.

In House races, Rep. John J. McFall (D), cited for official reprimand by the House Ethics Committee for failing to report a campaign contribution from Tongsun Park, is trailing badly in his bid for reelection, but two other "Koreagate" figures, Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D) and Charles H. Wilson (D), do not appear to have been damaged at home. Seven members are leaving the House. Democrats have a good chance to take one Republican vacancy but have two threatened incumbents of their own - Reps. Mark W. Handford (D) and James F. Lloyd (D). On balance the guess is that any net change would favor the GOP. COLORADO

INCUMBENT Democrats are threatened in the races for governor, senator and two House seats, but most of them are at least slight favorites to survive.

Gov. Richard D. Lamm (D), 43, thought to have recovered from the first-year problems of his administration and to have profited from defending the state's water projects against criticism from President Carter. But a Denver Post poll shows him slightly behind state Sen. Ted Strickland (R), 45, riding a spending-limitation initiative and helped by the efficient organization put together by Ronald Reagan backers in 1976. The race is now a tossup.

Sen. Floyd K. Haskell (D), 62, has long known he faced a severe challenge from Rep. William L. Armstrong (R), 41, an effective conservative campaigner, and the Denver Post poll confirms that, showing Haskell leading by 4 points among all voters but trailing by 8 points among those rated most likely to vote. Neither Haskell nor Lamm is rated a strong campaigner, but Haskell may be the more vulnerable of the two.

The threatened House incumbents are Reps. Patricia Schroeder (D) and Tim Wirth (D), but both of them campaign well and are favored to win their usual narrow victories. Each party has an open House seat it is expected to hold. HAWAII

YESTERDAY'S last-in-the-nation primary between Gov. George R. Ariyoshi (D), 52, and Honolulu mayor Frank Fasi (D), 58, longtime and bitter rivals, was expected to determine the identity of the next governor. Either man would be favored over state Sen. John Leopold (R), 35, but Leopold might have a better chance of an upset if Ariyoshi prevails. Democrats are strongly favored to hold both House seats. IDAHO

GOV. JOHN V. EVANS (D), 53, who moved up from lieutenant governor when Cecil Andrus became secretary of the interior, is a clear favorite over state House Speaker Allan Larsen (R), 59. Larsen, a Mormon leader who won a crowded primary with votes from the heavily Mormon southeastern part of the state, is still struggling to find a broader base.

Sen. James A. McClure (R), 54, should breeze to a second term over Dwight Jensen (D), 43, a journalist who receied the nomination when Andrus and other prominent Democrats declined.

In the House, conservative Rep. George Hansen (R), who survived by less than 2,000 votes in 1976, has the same opponent, school superintendent Stan Kress (D), and can expect at least as tough a race. Democrats count this as one of their best changes against an incumbent. MONTANA

IN THE JUNE primary, Rep. Max Baucus (D), 36, defeated Paul Hatfield (D), who was appointed to the Senate after the death of Sen. Lee Metcalf (D), and Baucus is a strong favorite for election in November. His opponent, investment counselor Larry Williams (R), 35, has had to seed his campaign fund with a $40,000 personal loan and his attacks on Baucus as a tool of the "eastern liberal establishment" do not appear to be sticking. A Democrat is expected to hold Baucus' old House seat. NEVADA

DESPITE the 5-to-2 Democratic resgistration edge , Atty. Gen. Robert F. List (R), 42, is a narrow favorite over Lt. Gov. Mike O'Callaghan (D). Local observers say the race is too close to call. Rep. James D. Santini (D) is assured reelection to the House seat. NEW MEXICO

IN THE CONTEST to succeed Gov. Jerry Apodaca (D), who is ineligible for a second term, ex-Gov. Bruce King (D), 54, has been favored over former state Sen. Joe Skeen (R), 50, a rancher. But Skeen, who came with 3,800 votes of beating Apodaca four years ago, has been campaigning aggressively and is within striking range.

Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R), 46, has a big advantage in money and organization in his second-term bid against Atty. Gen. Toney Anaya (D), 37, who made a reputation as a prosecutor of fellow-Democrats but has found little party support for his Senate bid.

No change is expected in the House delegation of one Democrat and one Republican. OREGAN

FOUR YEARS ago, Gov. Robert W. Straub (D), 58, defeated State Senate Minority Leader Victor Atiyeh (R), 54, by a comfortable 120,000 votes, but this year the odds are reversed in their rematch. The conservative Atiyeh rode the same antitax sentiment that swept neighboring California to a GOP primary upset victory over ex-Gov. Tom McCall (R) and has been leading Straub in all the polls. But Straub has been narrowing the gap since he pushed his own tax-limitation measure through the legislature and now is close enough to be able to salvage the seat, despite his limitations as a campaigner. Atiyeh is a light favorite.

Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R), 55, may challenge the modern record for victory margins in his expected third-term victory over maverick state Sen. Vernon Cook (D), 52.

Rep. James Weaver (D), an environmentalist in a lumber industry district, is struggling to avoid defeat at the hands of his 1976 challenger, Jerry Lausmann (R), a lumberman. Rep. Les AuCoin (D) also has an active challenger, but Democrats are really worried about Weaver. UTAH

THERE ARE no statewide races, and the two incumbent representatives - one Democrat and one Republican - are favored. Rep. Gunn. McKay (D) has the more aggressive challenger in Jed. J. Richardson (R), a Brigham Young University debate coach, but he is responding with a heavy television campaign. WASHINGTON

THERE ARE no statewide races, but contests of unusual interest are taking place in three House districts. The retirement of Rep. Lloyd Meeds (D) has created a classic open-seat battle, with total spending likely to top a half-million dollars. John Nance Garner (R), the insurance executive who almost beat Meeds two years ago, is a slight favorite, but Al Swift (D), a former Meeds aide and broadcaster, won an upset victory in the primary and may make it very close.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Thomas S. Foley (D) has been nervously watching Republican activity in his conservative-leaning Spokane district, but the GOP challenger is now viewed as an underdog. Rep. John E. Cunningham (R), who won an upset victory in a previously Democratic Seattle district in 1977, is favored to withstand a major Democratic effort to reclaim the seat. WYOMING

GOV. ED HERSCHLER (D), 59, whose administration has been rocked by corruption charges that forced the resignation of the attorney general, is fighting back in his second-term battle against state Sen. John C. Ostlund (R), 50. He now rates a slight favorite in a close race.

The Senate seat of retiring Sen. Clifford P. Hansen (R) is almost certain to go to former state Rep. Al Simpson (R), 47, the son of former governor and senator Milward L. Simpson (R). Simpson is opposed by Casper attorney Ray Whitaker (D), 58, but the seat seems sure to remain in Republican hands.

The GOP is strongly favored to pick up the House seat of retiring Rep. Teno Roncalio (D). Richard Cheney (R), White House chief of staff under Gerald R. Ford, is well ahead of Bill Bagley (D), a former aide to Roncalio.