Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nate Silver on the House of Representatives ...

So, Nate Silver has picked up on the House of Representatives result, arguing the Democrats underperformed.

Democrats Unlikely to Regain House in 2014
"Nate Silver's Political Calculus," Nov. 16, 2012
available at
This contrasts with Paul Krugman's "The Democrats are the party of government" argument.  Nate Silver seems to catch on that, in an equally split vote, the Republicans will tend to control the House.  This seems to support the Republicans as the party of government, but that's really a minor argument compared to the bigger issue, which is the fact that it is unlikely the Democratic Party will recapture control of the House until 2022 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post continues to analyze the House of Representatives result (they are all over the issue, running their first article on Nov. 9), and their rough results indicate that the Democratic vote for House Members will exceed the Republicans, despite the Republicans maintaining control.

Aaron Blake, "The Fix"
Washington Post, November 9, 2012
available at
There are some oddities that are affecting the final result.  For instance, in a number of House districts in California the election was between members of the same party (six D v. D, two R v. R), and thus all votes cast in those races were either for the Democrats or Republicans.  When adjusting for those anomalies, it appears the Democrats will still maintain their overall popular vote majority in House elections.

The question I have is, what would the likely national popular vote have to be for the Democrats to emerge with a similar majority to what the Republicans now enjoy?  This is hardly scientific, but in 2006, they did have a similar majority in the House, but the popular vote for House was 42,082,311-35,674,808. Just doing an extrapolation from those results indicates that the Republicans can expect to get substantial majorities by merely battling to a draw, while the Democrats need to outpoll the Republicans by 8% to get a similar majority in the House.