House Results 2006: Winning percentages by Party and Region
by David Kowalski, Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 09:49:07 AM EST
A simple snapshot of the past election can be found by looking at two narrow winners from the small freshman class of 2004. Brian Higgins won two years ago in NY-27 with 51%. This year he was barely challenged and piled up 79%. Freshman Democrat Stephanie Herseth (SD-AL) had an even harder time in 2004 winning both a special election in a squeaker and a general election by a slightly larger margin. Herseth was on many lists of endangered Democrats. In the end, Stephanie cruised to an easy win with 69% of the vote.
In an election where Democrats did wvery well, Herseth and Higgins typified many of the trends. No Democratic seats were lost, and most elected Democrats (117 out of 232) were either unopposed or received 70% or more of the vote. In fact, in the Northeast, 45 of 68 Democratic winners (and nearly all the incumbents) pulled in 70% or more. Herseth was typical of the second largest group of Democrats: those polling from 60% to 69% (73 of 232). Overall, twice as many Republicans were elected with percentages under 60% (85) as Democrats (42). In the closest elections, where winners drew 52% or less, Republicans won by a 26 to 19 margin. If you wonder why Democrats did not win 40 or more seats, there's the answer. Unlike in 1994, the losing Republicans managed to win a lot of close elections.
The Republican edge grew as the margins moved up a bit. from 53 to 55%, GOPers posted 16 wins to 15 for Democrats. But from 56% to 59% the Republican edge was a stunning 43 to 8. If you want to find eighty seats to challenge hard in 2006, they are clearly available within this group.
Although Republicans enjoyed a 92 to 73 edge for races won with 60% to 69% of the vote, Democrats had a whopping 117 to 25 edge in seats won with 70% or more of the vote (or unopposed). The margins in this super safe class outside the South are amazing. Democrats won 45 seats in the Northeast with 70% or more; Republicans won none. In the six Great Lakes States, a region where Republicans have 39 seats to 38 for Democrats, Democrats have a 20 to one edge in these walkovers (the only Republican win in this category was Tom Petri's unopposed effort in Wisconsin). In the five states bordering the Pacific, Democrats won 23 70+ contests to just 2 for Republicans. Even in the South, Democrats won more seats by 70% or more than Republicans by a 24 to 19 margin. The edge came from thoroughly gerrymandered Florida, where all 7 seats held by Democrats before the election produced 70%+ wins (6 inopposed and 70% in an open seat) vs.just 1 70+ win for the Republicans.(Note: All percentages are from the NY Times web site. A winning percentage of 52% or under is used for Democrats in LA-2 and for Republicans in FL-13 and the Texas seat in the special election)