Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


'No' Vote on Health Care May Have Saved Several Democratic House Seats in McCain Districts

Bookmark and Share

House Democrats from McCain districts voting 'no' on health care were reelected at nearly four times the rate as those voting 'yes'

For some Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who decided to vote against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last March in order to save their job in Washington, it may have proven to be the best strategy in a dismal political environment.

A Smart Politics analysis finds that while just 11 percent of Democrats who voted 'yes' on the health care bill in congressional districts carried by John McCain in 2008 were reelected to the 112th Congress (2 of 18 representatives), 39 percent of those who voted 'no' in McCain districts will return to their offices in D.C. (9 of 23).

At first glance, it may seem like voting 'no' with the Republicans in March did not pay any dividends for Democratic incumbents on November 2nd.

In total, from the batch of 34 Democrats who voted 'no' on health care last March, only a baker's dozen will return to the 112th Congress - with 17 of 30 defeated at the ballot box on November 2nd, or just a 43 percent reelection rate.

By contrast, 82 percent of Democrats up for reelection who voted 'yes' on the bill won their contest: 167 victories and 37 defeats.

Democratic U.S. House 2010 Reelection Success by Health Care Vote

Vote
Won
Lost
Total
% Won
Yes
167
37
204
82.4
No
13
17
30
43.3
Data compiled by Smart Politics. Data presumes the handful of U.S. House races not yet called will be won by the candidate currently in the lead

However, it does not necessarily follow that these Democrats were voted out of office because of their 'no' votes, nor that those who were reelected were sent back to Washington because of their 'yes' votes. In general, 'yes' votes came from Representatives from more liberal districts and 'no' votes came from those in more conservative ones.

In fact, of the 34 Democrats who voted 'no' back in March, 26 came from districts won by Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, or 76 percent.

Overall, Democratic members of the U.S. House who represent districts carried by McCain in 2008 were 14.5 times more likely to vote against the bill (26 against versus 20 in favor, or 56.5 percent) than those representing districts carried by Barack Obama (just 8 against and 199 in favor, or 3.9 percent).

Of the 17 Democratic 'nay' votes on health care who were defeated in the general election, all but three represent McCain districts. Only Glenn Nye (VA-02), Michael Arcuri (NY-24), and John Adler (NJ-03) come from districts won by Barack Obama.

Of those in McCain districts, Chet Edwards suffered the biggest defeat - losing by 25.2 points. Edwards' loss was expected as he represents the 2nd most competitive U.S. House district in the nation this decade.

Lincoln Davis (TN-04, -18.5 points), Travis Childers (MS-01, -14.6), Zack Space (OH-18, -13.5), Frank Kratovil (MD-01, -13.1), and Harry Teague (NM-02, -10.8) also lost by double-digit margins.

However, this does not mean casting a 'no' vote with the Republicans was an ineffective strategy for Democrats in McCain districts .

In fact, the data suggests several Representatives may have saved their jobs by voting against their (unpopular) party leadership and president last March.

There were 18 Democrats from McCain districts running for reelection in 2010 who voted 'yes' on the health care bill.

Of those 18 Democrats, only two survived on Election Day, or an 11 percent rate of reelection: Nick Rahall (WV-03) and Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08).

The remaining 16 Democrats were defeated, including 10 by more than nine points: Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24, -19.4 points), Betsy Markey (CO-04, -12.3), Allen Boyd (FL-02, -12.1), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03, -11.2), John Boccieri (OH-16, -11.0), Chris Carney (PA-10, -10.2), Baron Hill (IN-09, -10.1), Harry Mitchell (AZ-05, -9.8), Earl Pomeroy (ND-AL, -9.8), and John Spratt (SC-05, -9.4).

Four other representatives casting 'yes' votes in McCain districts narrowly missed a reelection victory: Tom Perriello (VA-05, -3.7 points), John Salazar (CO-03, -3.7), Charlie Wilson (OH-06, -5.2), and Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01, -5.9).

Another Democrat who voted 'yes,' Alan Mollohan (WV-01), did not even make it on the general election ballot - getting defeated in his party's primary earlier this year.

Meanwhile, of the 23 Democrats up for reelection in November from McCain districts who voted 'no,' nine managed to pull out victories, or a 39 percent reelection rate.

Ben Chandler (KY-06) had the closest call, eking out an apparent 0.2-point victory on Election Day. Jason Altmire (PA-04, 2.2 points), Jim Matheson (UT-02, 4.8), Mike McIntyre (NC-07, 7.6), and Heath Shuler (NC-11, 8.6) also survived close races.

Four other 'no' votes in McCain districts enjoyed double-digit victories: Tim Holden (PA-17, 11.2 points), Dan Boren (OK-02, 13.0), Michael Ross (AR-04, 17.3), and Collin Peterson (MN-07, 17.6).

Reelection Success of U.S. House Democrats in McCain Districts by Health Care Vote

Vote
Won
Lost
% Won
Yes
2
16
11.1
No
9
14
39.1
Data compiled by Smart Politics. Data presumes the handful of U.S. House races not yet called will be won by the candidate currently in the lead

There were also seven Democrats who voted 'no' up for reelection who represent districts carried by Barack Obama.

Four of these Democrats were reelected (John Barrow, GA-12; Daniel Lipinski, IL-03; Stephen Lynch, MA-09; and Larry Kissell, NC-08) while three were defeated (John Adler, NJ-03; Michael Arcuri, NY-24; and Glenn Nye, VA-02).

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Minnesota Gubernatorial Recount Event to be Held at Humphrey Institute
Next post: Support for Minnesota GOP US House Candidates Rises 22 Percent in 2010

1 Comment


  • Of the 11 who won, it would be interesting to know how secure their position was regardless of their vote.

    Public sentiment brings parties in and out of power regardless of rational. Whereas there are some politicians who'll get reelected regardless of public sentiment because their district is entrenched with an ideology that is virtually impossible to break.

  • Leave a comment


    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).


    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