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U.S. House: GOP Losses Could Have Been Far Worse

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The headline in the battle for the U.S. House on Wednesday morning was how the Democrats not only took control from Republicans, but also gained an impressive 29 seats (up to a half-dozen races across the country are still classified as too close to call).

But what has been overlooked in the coverage is that the 'Democratic tsunami' could have been far worse for the Republicans. A closer examination of competitive districts that did not switch parties indicate the GOP was much more vulnerable at losing close races than Democrats.

Republicans held an additional 20 'very competitive' seats that were decided by 5 points or less. Only 1 Democratic district was held by this narrow margin.

Republicans also held another 16 'moderately competitive' seats that were decided by between 5 and 10 points. The Democrats only held 5 districts by this margin.

It is true several of the Democratic pick-ups were won by narrow margins: Democrats won 13 of these races by less than 5 points. However, 9 Democratic pick-ups were won by between 5 and 10 points and another 7 pick-ups were won by more than 10 points.

The cautionary message for Republicans is that if their party endures continued bad news into 2007 and 2008, many more seats are at risk of falling into enemy hands than Democratic seats switching to the Republicans.

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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