Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

For what it’s worth

I crunched a few numbers this morning and get this preliminary result: Democrats won 51.93% of the gross two-party Congressional vote, while Republicans won 48.07%. In raw numbers, that’s 36.1 million to 33.4 million. There are two things that make these numbers (which I took off the CNN website) inaccurate. First, not all the votes have been counted or recounted. I don’t think, however, that small shifts in the final totals will make a huge difference here. Second, CNN doesn’t provide numbers in races where the candidate runs unopposed. There were 4 unopposed Republicans and 30 unopposed Democrats. In other words, the Democratic edge in the national House totals, corrected for unopposed seats, is surely closer to 53-47 or 54-46.

Of course, these were 435 individual contests, all of which had a national dimension but also a local, individualized dimension. There were blue dog Democrat winners, as well as moderate Republican victors. There were good and bad campaigners. There were scandals to which voters paid attention and those to which they didn’t.

I don’t have comparative data for previous elections in front of me (can anyone point me to some?), so I don’t know how much of a shift this is (I’m betting not more than a couple of percentage points from the last few elections).

The nation remains closely divided.

Stated another way, the entire Democratic margin in the House vote can be found in three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Stated another way, the entire Democratic margin in the House vote can be found in three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts.

Three states with approximately 20% of the country’s population. Similarly, the pre-election Republican margin was more than made up of Texas and Florida, two states with only about 12% of the country’s population. This is sophistry, not analysis. Republicans have the non-minority south, very rural territory, and wealthy suburbs outside the northeast and much of the Pacific coast. That’s not 50% of the country.

I appreciate the number-crunching but it’s even less convincing than what the Democrats said about an almost 50-50 nation in 2002 which was, in retrospect, an even closer election.

I’ve been using the data from CNN for 2004 and 2002.

2004 CNN Results2002 CNN Results

I think you’ll find the same margin, but in reverse. Indies & greater # of self-described GOPers voted Dem this year.

Of course, this is a progressive mandate now, whereas Bush & the GOP didn’t have a mandate in ’02 or ’04.

or something like that.

St Wendeler
Another Rovian Conspiracy

Brittain33,

I’ll have more serious things to say about the numbers later, as should you. The distribution of Republican seats (and votes) is more complicated than you say. Stated another way, there are less polemical (and less sophistical) ways of describing the location of the Republican electorate. One example: the rapidly growing exurbs remain prime Republican territory, but they’re neither "very rural" nor "wealthy." Another example: lots of "wealthy" suburbs are trending Democratic.


The minority vote was the big difference.

Michael Steele won the white vote in Maryland but the black vote was so one-sided it sent Cardin to victory.

Democrats have padded their numbers in immigrant-heavy California and Northeast.

The immigration trends are indicating that Democrats will rule for decades to come.

Just to note: 53% of 435 seats = 230 seats, which is about what the Democrats got. So for all the gerrymandering on both sides, it looks like the districts (this time) were quite fair.

Thanks for the reply, and you are correct about the distinction between exurbs and wealthy suburbs. I had Orange and San Diego Counties in mind, but certainly in the northeast the GOP lost a bunch of those districts.


I fully agree, there are always less polemical ways to be used to say almost anything; but in a world where people describe the incoming House Speaker as "a combination of a Stepford Wife and Jesse Jackson," polemicism appears to have a long and healthy future.

This morning I heard MSNBC say that this election rivaled 1994. Oh really? In 1994 Republicans defeated the Democrats by 4,782,986 million votes. Furthermore, only 44.7% of votes went to Democrats whereas 51.5% went to the Republicans (the remaining 3.8% went to other parties). Thus, in comparing 1994 to 2006 it would seem that Republicans garnered approximately 2 million more votes in 1994 than Democrats did on Tuesday. Had the margins been the same as in 1994 the GOP would have lost many more seats on Tuesday (which is even more evidence of how fair the districts are). Moreover (and this is just my opinion), the political climate was much worse this season than in 1994. So, the Republicans held their own with all things considered. Finally, should we ever again trust those Congressional ballot measures? If your numbers are correct, the true Congressional spread was about 4%. CNN had the spread at a ridiculous 20%, Newsweek had it at 16%, and Time at 15%. But Pew, who is considered the best, had the spread at the correct 4%.

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