Midwest Felt Bigger ‘Democratic Bump’ in ’06 Than U.S. Overall

The nation-wide partisan swing from the Republicans to the Democrats in 2006 was felt across the United States in a number of statewide and district races. Democrats won a majority of governorships, took back control of the U.S. House and Senate, and won back several state legislative chambers.

This change was particularly pronounced in the Midwest. Take, for example, races for the U.S. House. After the 2004 election, Republicans held 232 seats nationwide, or 53 percent, compared to 202 seats, or 46 percent, for the Democrats. After the 2006 election, Democrats held 233 seats (54 percent) compared to 202 seats for the Republicans (46 percent)—a 14-point turnaround.

Meanwhile, across a dozen states in the Midwest (from North Dakota to Pennsylvania), Republicans held 62 percent (69 seats) of the 112 House seats from this delegation after the 2004 election, while the Democrats held just 38 percent (43 seats). After November 2006, Democrats led the way winning 57 races to 55 for the Republicans—good for 51 percent of the seats. A 26-seat advantage from this Midwest delegation for the Republicans was erased into a 2-seat advantage for the Democrats—a 25-point turnaround.

In sum, the partisan move towards blue among the electorate in the Midwest was much greater than it was nationwide. The danger for the GOP in 2008 is not simply whether or not the Democrats sustain this presence in the Midwest, but whether and to what extent this bluish trend creeps further to the south and the west.

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