So after reading Brad DeLong’s post about how the Democrats won with a 13.4% majority in the Senate (if you total all the votes cast for each party), I decided to do the same with the Congressional races, since everyone votes for a congresscritter. Before I get to the results, here’s some caveats:
- I didn’t include uncontested races. Since I was pulling data from CNN.com which didn’t have totals for uncontested races, I’m underestimating the number of Democratic votes cast (the Democrats had far more uncontested seats than Republicans). This could result in an additional 1.2-1.5 Democratic votes. In uncontested elections, partisan voters will often not vote as a ‘protest’ (or simply to save time), whereas in a contested election they will vote so it’s hard to know what to make of this.
- Where races didn’t involve a Democrat and a Republican (e.g., a Republican versus a Libertarian), I used the largest ‘other’ party to represent the ‘missing’ Democrats or Republicans, since that’s whom they might vote for. These districts are pretty much even, so I don’t think it really matters.
- Washington state is not included since they weren’t finished counting; this would yield a net gain of about 200,000 Democratic voters, tops.
Basically, the Democrats received 37,662,923 votes, and the Republicans received 33,668,227 votes. The Democrats received 52.8% of votes, whereas the Republicans received 47.2% of votes (keep in mind the caveats above). If you calculate things the way DeLong did, we can call that a 5.6% majority in the House. I just wanted to put this out there.
By the way, does this mean that the Democrats have a ‘mandate?’
If you want the Excel data file for your own Mad and nefarious purposes, I’ve uploaded it to the ScienceBlogs server.
Nicely done; and yes there is a mandate. Absolutely, there is a mandate. The point is to do what is possible to get back to the sort of vision of Franklin Roosevelt, and to get us or try to get us out of Iraq immediately.
Thanks for this info. It kinds of put to rest the frame that the “generic” ballot numbers of Dem v. Republican mean nothing because people “like their guy”. The fact is, Dems scored a decisive victory with their candidates.
Interestingly, if you adjust upwards by a half percent for unopposed races (the Democrats had more) and multiply 435 by this percentage, you get 232 – which at the moment is exactly the number of House Democrats. This suggests either that that (1) the cumulative gerrymandering by both parties is basically a wash, or (2) Republican gerrymandering is more optimistic – i.e., perhaps they’ve created more 55/45 districts that are vulnerable to a landslide, and fewer landslide-proof 60/40 districts.
The trend since 1994 seems to be #2. In 2004, the Republicans won 232 seats with only 50.1 percent of the vote (with 47.5 percent going to Democrats). In 1994, a 52.4 percent Republican vote (to 45.2 percent Democrats) translated into only 230 seats. (Percentages from http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/10/9/232648/805)