Thursday, September 14, 2017

It Takes A District edition

What happened?
Sure, we all know that's the title of Hillary Clinton’s new book about the election. But it’s also what Republicans are saying this week after Democrats flipped two more solidly red seats on Tuesday night.
Those two wins bring the seat flip score this cycle to Democrats 6, Republicans 0.
Wins feel good, and pickups feel better, but Democratic success since Trump’s election actually cuts a quite a bit deeper.
Analysis of these special elections reveals that Democrats are consistently outperforming the presidential elections results from both 2016 and 2012.
  • Democrats have beaten Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 28 of the 35 contested special elections this cycle, and
  • Democrats improved on Obama’s 2012 numbers in 25 of them.
Compared to Clinton’s numbers, Democrats are performing an average of 13 percent better, and they’re even performing 9 percent better than Obama. 
Don’t call it a comeback… okay maybe call it a comeback.
Living History: Lots of hand-wringing and column space has been invested in analyzing the regions of the country where the Democratic margin fell sharply from 2012 to 2016. Was this a one time thing? Is this a permanent partisan realignment? Will Democrats be able to recover? Did I leave the oven on?
  • Ten of the special elections held so far this cycle have been in districts where the presidential margin shifted 10 or more points toward the Republican presidential candidate from 2012 to 2016.
    • Briefly, they are Connecticut HD-115, Iowa SD-45, Iowa HD-89, Iowa HD-82, New Hampshire HD Grafton-9, New Hampshire HD Belknap-9,Minnesota HD-32B, New York AD-09, Oklahoma HD-28, and Missouri SD-28.
  • In all 10 of these districts, the margin has shifted back towards Democrats in the special.
  • But in eight of them, the margin has shifted past the 2012 presidential margin.
Does this mean we can expect Democrats to win everything everywhere this cycle? Nah, that’s silly. But it does mean that Democrats not only aren’t stuck at 2016 performance levels, but they’re also often improving on Democratic presidential performance in 2012.
Too many words? Check out a neat visualization of this whole section here.

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