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Congressional Results 2012
Opportunities to discuss course content Thursday 10-2 Friday 10-12
Learning Objectives Analyze the theories of why people vote and apply them to the 2012 Election. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of how presidential and congressional elections are financed.
Goals of Congressperson The Primary Goal is to Get Elected The Next goal is to get re-elected (Mayhew, 1974)
PARTISANSHIP AND TURNOUT
Partisanship is Most Important The biggest factor in Congressional election Even in open seat elections
Safe Seats Seat Maximization through Gerrymandering Majority Minority Districts
Residential Self Selection
INCUMBENCY Major Factor 2
Incumbency Can Eclipse Partisanship in some places A resource that provides many benefits
Incumbency The incumbent dominates the discourse The incumbent has the advantages It is the Incumbent’s seat to lose
Incumbent Benefit #1 - Money Attract Money at Higher Rates The War Chest
Incumbent Benefit #2 - Name Recognition We Vote For Who We Know What can Incumbents Do?
Benefit 3 – Weak Challengers Run against Losers Scare off Good Challengers
Spending My Own Money
Voluntary Retirements When candidates leave office, rather than run for re-election. Why people Retire?
HOW INCUMBENTS CAN LOSE
Stop Playing the Game Get too Old Become inattentive Scandal
Strategic Challengers can Alter This They run when national trends favor their party They have local advantages as well They also have the most to lose!
How Strategic Challengers Change Campaigns Attract Money Can turn National Issues into Local Ones Are Quality Challengers as Well
What is a Quality Challenger A person who has formerly/currently held elective office Name Recognition, Access to Money, a constituuency
INCUMBENCY IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE
Senate Incumbency Senators are More vulnerable
GOING INTO 2012
Not a Wave Election
Why no wave? We hated Congress, but no one specifically The economy still wasn’t great The negative campaign Obama’s Popularity (too close to 50%)
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The Results (D+8)
The Importance of Partisanship Republican Districts voted Republican, Democratic Districts voted Democratic Balanced districts split almost evenly
Republican Exposure The Republicans had more exposure Very Few Toss-up Seats Probably would have survived a wave.
The Democrats Actually Won the Nationwide Popular Vote Did not Take Back the House – Redistricting – Wasted Votes
Winners and Losers 2012
Redistricting The process of redrawing districts within a state State legislatures control the battle Very Political
The Role of Redistricting A Result of the 2002 election GOP Legislatures controlled 202 seats Democratic Legislatures controlled 47 seats
GOP Redistricting Tactics Create safer seats Remember the lesson of 2002
Republicans Have A Structural Advantage Democrats are more compacted Democratic areas are overwhelmingly democratic Democrats are “safer”
Regional Voting Democrats New England California West Coast Republicans South Upper Midwest
Money and the House
The 2014 Election Not Many Toss-up Seats Difficult to Reassemble Presidential Coalition 6 year Itch
The Dynamics The More Incumbents you have, the more you have to Defend – 23 Democratic Seats – 10 Republican Seats Democrats have a lead
Where Were They?
What Explains the Results Incumbency Partisanship Candidate Factors
Indiana Supposed to be safe GOP Richard Mourdock. The GOP Loses by 6%
Missouri Clair McCaskill is very vulnerable Cross-over spending in the primary Todd Akin loses by 15%
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Brown Warren outraises Brown by 14 million Brown is the only incumbent to lose
Open Seats Maine North Dakota Montana
A Banner Year for Political Money 1 Billion is Spent Outside Money is important, but not crucial
Money isn’t Everything Self Financed candidates still lose Poor David Dewhurst
Looking ahead to 2014 The Republicans expected to gain…they didn’t Democrats have More exposure 7 seats are from states where Obama won
Can the Democrats Expand? Only 1 GOP Seat from a State where Obama Won Will the Republicans be “the stupid party”
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