Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Reapportionment Election Cycles See Highest Turnover in Partisan Control of Presidency

Bookmark and Share

Political parties have lost control of the White House in years ending in '2' at more than twice the rate than all other election cycles since the 1850s

With the U.S. Census Bureau set to announce new reapportionment numbers on Tuesday, political analysts are observing how the new allotment of U.S. House seats will make the 2012 electoral map more difficult for President Barack Obama during his reelection campaign.

Solid Republican states in presidential elections (e.g. Texas, Utah, South Carolina, Georgia) are poised to gain seats (and electoral votes) while solid Democratic states (e.g. New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey) are poised to lose seats.

If Obama does indeed lose reelection in 2012, it will not come as a surprise when viewed through the lens of history.

A Smart Politics study of presidential election results dating back 40 cycles to 1852 finds that presidential election years ending in '2' have seen more changes in partisan control of the White House than any other cycle.

Election cycles with newly apportioned congressional districts have seen a change in presidential control 75 percent of the time (six of eight cycles), compared to just 34 percent of the time in years ending in '0,' '4,' '6,' or '8' (11 of 32 cycles).

Since the 1890s, only once has a political party retained presidential power during a reapportionment cycle (Richard Nixon for the GOP in 1972):

· In 1892, Democrat Grover Cleveland defeated incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison (who had defeated Cleveland in 1888).

· In 1912, Democrat Woodrow Wilson defeated incumbent Republican William Taft (and Progressive Teddy Roosevelt).

· In 1932, Democrat Franklin Roosevelt defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover.

· In 1952, Republican Dwight Eisenhower won back the presidency for Republicans over Adlai Stevenson after Democrat Harry Truman opted not to run for reelection.

· In 1992, Democrat Bill Clinton, with an assist from Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, defeated incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush.

In 1852, Democrats also pried back control of the White House - this time from the Whigs - with Franklin Pierce's landslide victory over Whig nominee Winfield Scott.

The only other incumbent party victory in a reapportionment cycle since the 1850s was Republican Ulysses S. Grant's reelection rout in 1872 over Democrat Horace Greeley.

But while political parties have had difficulty maintaining control of the presidency during years ending in '2' - the reverse has been the case in other election cycles.

Since the 1850s, incumbent partisan control of the presidency has been maintained:

· In 7 of 8 cycles in years ending in '4': 1864 (Lincoln), 1904 (T. Roosevelt), 1924 (Coolidge), 1944 (FDR), 1964 (LBJ), 1984 (Reagan), and 2004 (George W. Bush)

· In 6 of 8 cycles ending in '6': 1856 (Buchanan), 1876 (Hayes), 1916 (Wilson), 1936 (FDR), 1956 (Eisenhower), and 1996 (Clinton)

· In 5 of 8 cycles ending in '8': 1868 (Grant), 1908 (Taft), 1928 (Hoover), 1948 (Truman), and 1988 (George H.W. Bush)

· In 3 of 8 cycles ending in '0': 1880 (Garfield), 1900 (McKinley), and 1940 (FDR)

Overall, incumbent parties have won 21 elections during non-reapportionment years and lost just 11, or a 66 percent rate of holding the presidency.

That compares to just a 25 percent success rate in reapportionment years (two of eight).

Incumbent Party Success in Presidential Elections By Cycle, 1852-2008

Year
Won
Lost
Percent
Ending in '2'
2
6
25.0
Ending in '4'
7
1
87.5
Ending in '6'
6
2
75.0
Ending in '8'
5
3
62.5
Ending in '0'
3
5
37.5
Non-reapportionment
21
11
65.6
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

The failure of political parties to keep the White House during reapportionment years comes despite the fact they have run incumbents in six of these eight cycles (in 1872, 1892, 1912, 1932, 1972, and 1992).

Incumbents have run for reelection in 17 of 32 cycles in non-reapportionment years.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Could Russ Feingold Win Herb Kohl's U.S. Senate Seat in 2012?
Next post: South Dakota Edges Minnesota for Largest Population Growth Rate in Midwest

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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