Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Republicans Winning House of Representatives Vote

I spent part of today accumulating the House of Representatives vote. You can find it here.

I’ll give a few caveats. One is that this isn’t the final vote. There are a lot of ballots to be counted, especially in California. That should help Democrats. The second is that I don’t have vote totals for 15 districts where a candidate ran unopposed. These votes are included in the final official canvass for every state but Florida and Oklahoma. There are 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans who ran unopposed and the vote totals haven’t been published. I expect we’ll eventually have them for 8 of the Democrats and 5 of the Republicans. That should help Democrats too.

The results are surprising. The meme has been that the Democrats had a big advantage in Presidential years and it was only going to get bigger. Yet the two party vote is 52.1%R-47.9%D. The 2014 vote was 52.9%R-47.1%D. That margin should narrow a bit when all votes are counted. This should dispel the idea that the Democrats have a majority coalition and Republicans will lose every election.

If Republicans did so well, why did the party only pick up three seats and lose nine others? Four of the nine Republican losses were in seats that were redistricted. As were two of three Republican gains. The other losses were mostly in swingy/light blue districts. Republicans already have most of the districts they'll retain with 52% of the vote. The party lost a few seats narrowly that would be unsurprising for them to pick up again in a future cycle. Considering that a couple of weeks ago people were saying the House was in play this isn't a bad result for the GOP. In two years they'll have a more favorable electorate. Mid-terms do usually go badly for the incumbent party and that might cancel out an electorate advantage.

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