the profseitz blog

getting students to engage the news…

Not Much Competition Here…Congressional Elections

Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball » Fortress Blue, Fortress Red.

Look at each of these columns! The huge share of districts are "safe" or "likely" = Not very competitive.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball is one of the best places out there to find solid predictive information about ALL congressional races!  If you go read the whole article, and you should, you’ll find a number of really great tables, my favorite is the table above. I recommend subscribing to the newsletter on the website or following the Twitter account (@LarrySabato).

So, let’s look at some of these numbers.  Now, granted, we are just over a year away from the election, so these projections can change a good deal, but right now, this table pretty much paints a picture of widespread  uncompetitive elections all across the country. Looking at the table we see that 336 out of the total 435 races are “Safe,” which is 77.2% of the races.  If we add in the “Likely” districts we get 389 out of 435 races, which is 89.4% of the races…are you flabbergasted?  Is it any surprise that 90-95% of all incumbents win despite Congress having an approval rating in the teens? (Ranging from 11-13% last week)  How does this make you feel about the state of our democracy?

Georgia is a pretty common state in the sense that we are “polarized” in terms of electoral competition:  we have 9 “Safe R” districts, 4 “Safe D” districts, and only 1 race in the middle three options.  So, another way of putting it is that we only have 1 COMPETITIVE congressional race for 2012.  The other 13 are “safe” victories for one party or the other.  WHAT possible causes could explain why we have to explain BOTH safe Blue and Red districts?  Where do districts come from anyway?



This entry was posted on November 10, 2011 by in Uncategorized.
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