The US Congress result

Yes, of course, I am very happy. Just too busy celebrating to post. Madison can rest in peace again. Still, the House gains were at the very low end of what I thought possible. The Senate, on the other hand, was the best outcome I could imagine.

No further analysis till the aggregate vote totals are in. The USA is the only (allegedly) advanced democracy in which aggregate national party vote totals are not immediately available. Given that I am one of those few (the only?) psephologists who actually use aggregate national party vote totals to understand US elections, I can’t do any analysis yet. I won’t be able to say for a while whether the House result was closer to my projection based on low responsiveness (225) than to a projection based on the longer-range relationship of votes and seats (245) because of a vote swing lower than could have been expected for such an unpopular president, or if the seat swing was low for the aggregate vote swing that resulted. Fortunately, majority control is a (mostly) binary outcome.

Once I have the time to look at all the completed district results, I can revisit my comparison of this election to 1994 in terms relative seat safety and swing propensity.

So, stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy checks and balances again. Apparently, the Republican Party is not the PRI and Bush is not Putin, after all.

0 thoughts on “The US Congress result

  1. Initial rough total based on CNN reported results
    Total votes: 72,959,590 401 districts
    Democrats: 37,384,882 51.2% 203 districts won
    Republicans: 33,937,956 46.5% 198 districts won
    Libertarians 600,715
    Green 209,383
    Others/Independents 826,654

  2. Adam, thanks! IS it 401 districts because the rest were not contested by one of the major parties?

    I am not sure how the Clerk of the House (the source I used for other years) treats such districts. Some sources count them (my preference), while others toss them out.

  3. I’m pretty sure the Clerk counts them. Clerk numbers are what we use for final DD releases, which do a whole bunch of seats/votes calculations (so we need to count those votes).

  4. Yes, as I explained on the dailykos posting those are rough numbers, incomplete and unofficial.

    The 401 districts are the ones where the winner faced no opponent at all. I believe the Republicans only ran 390 candidates this cycle (compared to 425 for the Democrats). In the other districts there was a minor party candidate on the ballot.

    As you correctly stated, in most states, an unchallenged candidate’s name still appears on the ballot. I believe Florida doesn’t list them, though.

    BTW, as I think I said earlier, I also compiled the 2002 and 2004 Congressional election totals based on the returns from each Secretary of State’s website. My numbers are somewhat different with the official clerk totals.

    I gather there are at least 2 reasons for the discrepancies:

    1.I have no idea. My total votes for 2004 is about 112,000,000, the official clerks total is 113,000,000. I have no idea where this difference comes from.

    2.The counting of third party totals. As you are probably aware, New York allows major party candidates to run on minor party ballots (Working Families, Liberal, Conservative). The official clerk of the house site counts them as a vote for the minor parties, whereas I count them as a vote for the Democratic or Republican Parties. I think my method is more accurate because I think the vast majority of people are voting for the name and don’t care about which ballot line the candidates name appears on.

    It doesn’t change the totals significantly, but that is a statistical discrepancy you should be aware of.

  5. This is the final U.S House national popular vote total for 2006. Every state finally has official results up.

    Total Votes: 80,139,239
    Democratic: 42,348,486 52.8%
    Republican: 35,946,572 44.9%
    Other: 1,844,181 2.3%

    This total covers 430 Congressional districts. Florida had 5 districts
    where Democrats were reelected by acclamation and did not appear on the
    ballot. In all other states, candidates facing no challenger still appear
    on the ballot.

    This is all from the November election. Not the runoffs.

    I’ll be doing the break down for ‘other’ in the next couple weeks.

    I’ve done other numerical analysis if you are interested.

    Alabama: 1,140,152 7 districts
    Democratic: 502,046 44.0% (6 candidates)
    Republican: 627,501 55.0% (5 candidates)

    Alaska: 234,645
    Democratic: 93,879 40.0%
    Republican: 132,743 56.6%

    Arizona: 1,493,150 8 districts
    Democratic: 627,259 42.0% (7 candidates)
    Republican: 771,246 51.7%

    Arkansas: 768,228
    Democratic: 457,899 59.6%
    Republican: 310,359 40.4%

    California: 8,295,816 (53 districts)
    Democratic: 4,720,164 56.9% (52 candidates)
    Republican: 3,314,398 40.0% (46 candidates)

    Colorado: 1,538,908 (7 disticts)
    Democratic: 832,888 54.1%
    Republican: 623,784 40.5% (6 candidates)

    Connecticut: 1,074,739
    Democratic: 648,653 60.4%
    Republican: 419,895 39.1%

    Delaware: 251,694
    Democratic: 97,565 38.8%
    Republican: 143,897 57.2%

    Florida: 3,851,942 (25 districts)
    Democratic: 1,599,968 41.5% (19 candidates)
    Republican: 2,182,833 56.7% (19 candidates)
    (includes the disputed district)
    (remember, there were 5 districts where the Democrat won by acclamation and did not appear on the ballot.)

    Georgia: 2,070,307 (13 districts)
    Democratic: 932,143 45.0%
    Republican: 1,138,048 55.0% (12 candidates)

    Hawaii: 337,944
    Democratic: 219,810 65.0%
    Republican: 118,134 35.0%

    Idaho: 445,306
    Democratic: 177,376 39.8%
    Republican: 248,105 55.7%

    Illinois: 3,452,582 (19 districts)
    Democratic: 1,986,431 57.5%
    Republican: 1,442,526 41.8% (18 candidates)

    Indiana: 1,666,922
    Democratic: 812,496 48.7%
    Republican: 831,785 49.9%

    Iowa: 1,032,981
    Democratic: 492,937 47.7%
    Republican: 522,388 50.6%

    Kansas: 845,127
    Democratic: 369,191 43.7%
    Republican: 459,267 54.3%

    Kentucky: 1,253,526 (6 districts)
    Democratic: 601,723 48.0%
    Republican: 611,780 48.8% (5 candidates)

    Louisiana 902,498 (7 districts)
    Democratic: 295,762 32.8% (6 candidates)
    Republican: 579,702 64.2%

    Maine: 535,935
    Democratic: 350,721 65.4%
    Republican: 163,165 30.4%

    Maryland: 1,701,202 (8 districts)
    Democratic: 1,099,441 64.6%
    Republican: 546,862 32.1% (6 candidates)

    Massachusetts: 1,923,657 (10 districts)
    Democratic: 1,632,307 84.9%
    Republican: 198,550 10.3% (3 candidates)

    Michigan: 3,648,502 (15 districts)
    Democratic: 1,923,485 52.7%
    Republican: 1,624,865 44.5% (13 candidates)

    Minnesota: 2,178,974
    Democratic: 1,152,621 52.9%
    Republican: 924,636 42.4%

    Mississippi: 600,697 4 districts
    Democratic: 260,330 43.3% (3 candidates)
    Republican: 304,308 50.7%

    Missouri: 2,097,322
    Democratic: 992,258 47.3%
    Republican: 1,049,346 50.0%

    Montana: 406,125
    Democratic: 158,916 39.1%
    Republican: 239,124 58.9%

    Nebraska: 596,087
    Democratic: 261,910 43.9%
    Republican: 339,177 56.1%

    Nevada: 574,827
    Democratic: 287,879 50.1%
    Republican: 260,317 45.3%

    New Hampshire: 402,354
    Democratic: 209,434 52.1%
    Republican: 189,615 47.1%

    New Mexico: 561,084
    Democratic: 313,124 55.8%
    Republican: 247,825 44.2%

    New Jersey: 2,136,842 (13 districts)
    Democratic: 1,207,784 56.5%
    Republican: 903,176 42.3% (11 candidates)

    New York: 4,140,378 (29 districts)
    Democratic: 2,794,262 67.5%
    Republican: 1,338,518 32.3% (25 candidates)

    North Carolina: 1,940,808 (13 districts)
    Democratic: 1,026,915 52.9%
    Republican: 913,893 47.1% (12 candidates)

    North Dakota: 217,621
    Democratic: 142,934 65.7%
    Republican: 74,687 34.3%

    Ohio: 3,961,195
    Democratic: 2,081,737 52.6%
    Republican: 1,870,390 47.2%

    Oklahoma: 905,194
    Democratic: 372,888 41.2%
    Republican: 518,025 57.2%

    Oregon: 1,357,434
    Democratic: 765,853 56.4%
    Republican: 557,491 41.1%

    Pennsylvania: 4,013,388 (19 districts)
    Democratic: 2,229,091 55.5%
    Republican: 1,732,163 43.2% (17 candidates)

    Rhode Island: 373,148 (2 districts)
    Democratic: 264,949 71.0%
    Republican: 66,363 11.2% (1 candidate)

    South Carolina: 1,086,236
    Democratic: 472,719 43.5%
    Republican: 599,615 55.2%

    South Dakota: 333,562
    Democratic: 230,468 69.1%
    Republican: 97,864 29.3%

    Tennessee: 1,715,426
    Democratic: 860,861 50.2%
    Republican: 799,547 46.6%

    Texas: 4,179,699 (32 districts)
    Democratic: 1,852,611 44.3% (31 candidates)
    Republican: 2,183,833 52.2% (28 candidates)

    Utah: 569,690
    Democratic: 244,483 42.9%
    Republican: 292,235 51.3%

    Vermont: 262,726
    Democratic: 139,815 53.2%
    Republican: 117,023 44.5%

    Virginia: 2,297,236 (11 districts)
    Democratic: 947,103 41.2%
    Republican: 1,222,790 53.2%

    Washington: 2,054,056
    Democratic: 1,244,095 60.6%
    Republican: 798,005 38.9%

    Wisconsin: 2,63,413 (8 districts)
    Democratic: 1,003,156 48.6% (7 candidates)
    Republican: 1,040,071 50.4%

    West Virginia: 454,813
    Democratic: 263,822 58.0%
    Republican: 190,893 42.0%

    Wyoming: 193,141
    Democratic: 92,324 47.8%
    Republican: 93,336 48.3%

    Please email me if you are interested in the rest of my numerical analysis.

  6. It’s interesting to compare the midterm elections going back to 1990. The most interesting thing is that the partisan leanings of the public changed each cycle, and the difference it caused in the voting.

    The 1990-1998 house vote is from the House Clerk site: http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/elect ionInfo/index.html

    I compiled 2002 and 2006.

    Their numbers and mine differ slightly. The primary reason for this is that in several states, especially New York, small parties are allowed to run major party candidates on their ballot line. Many here will be familiar with the Working Families Party and the Liberal Pary who often endorse Democratic Party candidates. (The Liberal Party also endorsed Rudy Guiliani, which I’m sure many Republicans will be hearing about if he should run for President :D).

    Anyway, they count those votes those candidates receive on the minor party ballot lines as votes for those parties. My argument is that the candidate is running primarily as a Democrat or a Republican, and they serve as a Democrat or Republican, so those votes should count for the Democrat or Republican Party. And, I’m right on this and they’re wrong 😀

    Anyway, that difference isn’t that big a deal.

    1990
    Total Vote: 62,354,853
    Democratic: 32,397,732 52.0%
    Republican: 27,402,036 43.9%

    1994
    Total Vote: 70,493,648
    Democratic: 31,542,823 44.8%
    Republican: 36,325,809 51.5%

    1998
    Total Vote: 66,604,802
    Democratic: 31,391,834 47.1%
    Republican: 31,983,612 48.0%

    2002
    Total Vote: 73,280,244
    Democratic: 33,623,365 45.9%
    Republican: 37,390,372 51.0%

    2006
    Total Vote: 80,121,069
    Democratic: 42,339,571 52.8%
    Republican: 35,938,282 44.9%

    As we can see, with the exception of 1998, each mid term cycle has swung from one party to the other with the winning party not winning by switching votes from the other side, but by getting millions of new voters to the polls.

    Obviously these voters have come from the pool of voters that voted in the general elections but didn’t historically vote in midterms.

    A couple observations:
    1.I think these results put a lie to the Republican spin that “Republicans lost in 2006 because conservatives stayed home.” In fact, the vast majority of Democratic gains were because they got millions of more votes out this time than in 2002.
    Never the less, if Republicans want to believe they lost because they weren’t conservative enough, I say we should encourage them in their beliefs.

    2.For 2002 and 2006, I think there are two theories that explain the increase in votes and partisanship.

    Theory A: The return of ‘serious issues’ (I.E Iraq). Unlike in 1998 when the concerns were about Clinton’s personal infidelities, the war is an issue that genuinely matters to people and drove them to the polls.

    Theory B: The God-help-me ‘Robert Novak theory’: Negative advertising, contrary to the conventional belief, drives up voter turnout. His view is that the U.S is so partisan that negative advertising gins up party supporters, turning it into a ‘my guy versus your guy kind of thing’ and gets people to the polls.

    I imagine there are other theories as well. It is interesting though, and obviously hard to argue given the numbers, that despite the increase in the negativity of negative ads (if not the number of negative ads themselves), that midterm turnout has increased substantantially over the last 16 years.

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