House Results 2006: Winning percentages by Party and Region

Bumped with light editing--Chris

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)

Tags: 2006 elections, 50 state strategy, Farm, Great lakes, margins, Mountain, Northeast, South (all tags)

Comments

5 Comments

Gerrymandering = 70% seats.

Interesting points.

We live in an era of Gerrymandering to the second power.  Gerrymandering squared.  Far more than was customary in the past.

Many of our 70 percent seats are a partial result of republican gerrymandering supported by Democrats who want super safe districts, Though some Democratic areas (such as Manhattan/Bronx) districts are so large that it's hard to avoid some 70% districts.

So in several years, we've got to fight off Republicans who want to group all Democrats (read also Blacks, Hispanics, etc) into one super Dem district so the Reps can take three others with 53 percent margins.  Particularly with racial/ethnic groups, sometimes hard to explain that their influence might be multiplied if they were in several districts.

Some of those gerrymanders in North Carolina and New York are truly bizarre.  And no doubt the same is true elsewhere.

by Reptile 2006-11-30 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: House Results 2006: Winning percentages by Par

Herseth's big win surprised me and gives me hope that Tim Johnson may get the easy ride in 2008 that his approval ratings suggest he should.

Higgins is a different story.  His toughest race was clearly going to be his first -- his district goes Democratic in most elections, but it was an open seat that had elected a Republican for 12 years.  Now that he has the power of incumbency behind him, he should be in Congress for as long as he wants.

by Tom 2006-11-30 11:29AM | 0 recs
Another way of scoring this

The Dems held 203 seats coming into this election.  The GOP held 232.

       Lost    Won     Won         Won      Runoff
                <60%   60-69.9%   >70%   Coming
Dem            23      73             117        
GOP    29    85      92               25          1

Moral: Playing offense is a lot more fun than playing defense!

by RT 2006-11-30 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: House Results 2006: Winning percentages by Par

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.
 

This "super-safe" democratic seats are due to Republican jerry-mandering attempting to put all the Democrats into as few seats as possible.

We need to re-district all around the country and the Congress ought to mandate that re-districting be impartial. There damn well ought to be no safe seats at all!

That's an impossible dream, but the goal should be to be like Colorado-07 as much as possible!

That seat won by (D) Ed Perlmutter was created by a state judicial commission that concluded that the State Republican efforts at gerrymandering were in violation of the state constitution.

Now both parties have a chance to win that seat, since registration is about even, something that's totally the opposite of almost every other seat in the country.

by Cugel 2006-11-30 12:52PM | 0 recs
Establishment/Machine Dominance

The other cost of all those 70% safe seats is that the winner is determined in the primary, not the general. CW holds that this  favors the more extremist voices in the party, those with a hard-core left or right-wing base. While I can think of many Republican candidates fitting this explanation, I'm not sure it describes more than a few Democrats.

The 70% gerrymander really favors the establishment candidate irregardless of ideology. Even when the incumbent retires, the party insiders have a lot of advantages in nurturing and funding the annointed successor. Insurgents (in this case I'm thinking of liberal democrats) have the difficulty of running against the party. It is true that succeess in the primary, gives them the same leg-up.

by MetaData 2006-12-01 07:51AM | 0 recs

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