Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


If Democrats Lose Control of the US House in 2010, Will the Minnesota House Follow Suit?

Bookmark and Share

Potential tidal wave election year for the GOP in D.C. is no guarantee for similar gains in the Minnesota House

As Republicans continue to hold a fair lead in national generic congressional matchup polls, speculation by D.C. watchers and political strategists revolves around the extent to which the GOP will make gains in the 2010 mid-term elections.

Some political strategists (e.g. Dick Morris) have been predicting a Republican takeover of the U.S. House for months, while other D.C. experts (e.g. Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook) have put forth scenarios for double digit to 20+ seat gains for the GOP.

But if a 'wave' election should occur in 2010 to vault the Republicans into control of the U.S. House, what can we expect to happen to the DFL's large majority in the Minnesota House? How tied to the national political scene are Minnesota's state House races?

In what might not be a shock to Gopher State residents, Minnesota's political pulse is often not in sync with what is happening elsewhere across the country.

Smart Politics conducted an analysis of the partisan shifts in the U.S. House and Minnesota House over the past six decades and found that what happens in the Gopher State is often the reverse course of what is happening nationwide.

First, the political party that has made gains in the U.S. House is the party that has lost seats in the Minnesota House in 6 of the last 11 election cycles dating back to 1988 (1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, and 2004).

In three of these years (1992, 1998, 2004) the partisan makeup of the Minnesota House changed at least 10 percentage points while a change in the opposite direction occurred in the US House:

· From Election Day 1990 to 1992, the DFL seat advantage in the MN House increased from 19.3 percent (an 80 to 54 seat advantage) to 29.6 percent (an 87 to 47 seat advantage) - a 10.3 percent net change in partisan control. In the U.S. House, Republicans gained 9 seats during this span.
· From Election Day 1996 to 1998, the DFL saw its 4.4 percent seat advantage (70 to 64 seats) turn into a 5.9 percent seat deficit (63 to 71 seats) - a 10.4 percent net change in partisan control. In the U.S. House, Democrats gained 5 seats.
· From Election Day 2002 to 2004, the DFL whittled its 22.2 percent seat deficit (52 to 82 seats) to just a 1.5 percent seat deficit (66 to 68 seats) - a 20.7 percentage point gain. Republicans in the U.S. House, meanwhile, gained three seats in the '02 election cycle.

Secondly, dating back to the early 1950s, Gopher State residents have bucked national shifts toward the Republican Party on seven occasions.

In 1952, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, and 2004, the DFL (and previously liberal) caucus made gains in the Minnesota House while the Republican Party made gains in the U.S. House.

(Note: According to the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, from 1913 through 1973, while Minnesota legislators were elected on nonpartisan ballots, legislators ran and caucused as "liberals" or "conservatives" - roughly equivalent in most years to Democrat / DFL and Republicans respectively).

Some of these GOP gains in D.C. were, in fact, quite substantial: 22 seats in 1952, 21 seats in 1960, 12 seats in 1972, and 34 seats in 1980.

Overall, across the 29 election cycles since 1952, partisan shifts in the Minnesota House have been in sync with the shift in the U.S. House in just 17 cycles:

· Democrats picked up seats in the Minnesota House and the U.S. House on 11 occasions: 1954, 1956, 1958, 1964, 1970, 1974, 1982, 1986, 2000, 2006, and 2008.
· Republicans picked up seats in both bodies on 6 occasions: 1962, 1966, 1978, 1984, 1994, and 2002.
· Democrats made gains in the Minnesota House while losing seats in the U.S. House on 7 occasions: 1952, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, and 2004.
· Republicans picked up seats in the Minnesota House while losing seats in the U.S. House 4 times: 1988, 1990, 1996, and 1998.
· In 1976 there was no change in partisan composition of the Minnesota House with a slight GOP gain in the U.S. House.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: A Year in Smart Politics
Next post: Will Brett Favre Yet Be the Vikings Stadium Savior? (A Case for Favre as MVP)

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting