Sunday, March 13, 2011

Congressional v. Presidential Voting

Last week I looked at how 2008 Presidential voting compared to how candidates normally did statewide. Republicans do much better in California, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan, while Democrats do much better in Arizona. Some states weren't included because they didn't have enough 2006 and 2010 races to provide good data.

In order to take another view of congressional races, I'm comparing how a party's statewide congressional total (indexed to 50%) compares to the presidential total (indexed to 54% Democratic 46% Republican). I wasn't able to include all the states again, however. Some states have such a small congressional delegation that the congressional vote is heavily/entirely influenced by one strong candidate. Earl Pomeroy has done much better than Obama did in 2008, but that may be all Pomeroy. Looking at his numbers wouldn't be able to tell us how another Democrat might do. I once again averaged 2006 and 2010, with the belief that the two years that bookended the 2008 election would produce a good average since one was a Republican year, while the other was a Democratic one.

I also excluded some legacy states. Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia have had very strong Democratic congressional totals, but increasingly weak presidential ones.

While I was able to fill in an expected number of votes to give an accurate read when a candidate ran unopposed Oklahoma, New York and Texas had too many unopposed candidates to the point that I'd be using too many estimated votes.

Florida, Michigan, and Iowa again come up very strong, showing that Republican statewide elections translate to congressional races. Illinois isn't much of a surprise, as President Obama likely skewed that state too Democratic.

Tennessee may qualify as a Democratic legacy state. So I'm not sure their strong congressional showing, when compared to the Presidential race, is that telling. The rest of the list doesn't contain a lot of surprises. Arizona was overblown Republican due to John McCain, while we've seen strong Democratic congressional wins in Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, and Washington.

Overall, the numbers skew slightly Republican. This may mean that 2010 was a better Republican year than 2006 was a Democratic one or that Republicans are very good on a congressional level or John McCain was very bad. You could deduct about 1 point from each if you think that's the case That'd still leave a significant number as congressional overachievers. Republicans shouldn't have that much to fear from Fair Districts Florida. They also should be able to gerrymander their gains in Wisconsin and Michigan, and do better than expected with the contraction in Illinois and Iowa.

Notable on the list are the states which are fairly neutral. Republicans may have a tough time gerrymandering their gains in Ohio and Pennsylvania. as mediocre McCain numbers may translate into mediocre congressional numbers.
When looking at the

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