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Smart Politics Projections: U.S. House of Representatives

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Republicans aim to undo 2006 and 2008 election cycles in one fell swoop

Current partisan split
Democrats: 255
Republicans: 178
Vacant: 2

Analysis
With 24 Democratic districts won by less than 10 points in 2008 and another 33 decided by between 10 and 20 points, Republicans had several good departure points by which to pick off the dozens of Democratic seats they would need this cycle to recapture the U.S. House.

Of course, the reverse could also have been the case, had the first two years of the Obama administration been more warmly received by the electorate: Republicans won 26 House districts by less than 10 points in 2008 as well.

The number of Republican net gains has been projected by some analysts to potentially eclipse 70 seats. However, as this is an anti-Democratic, rather than pro-Republican political environment, not all anti-incumbent votes in Democratic districts will be cast to the GOP nominee. A record number of third-party candidates in midterm elections since the Great Depression, most of which are right-leaning, may very well dampen the extent of Republican gains, to the tune of at least a half-dozen narrowly-decided races.

Projected partisan shift: GOP +62
Partisan control: GOP controls U.S. House

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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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