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Wed Feb 24, 2021, 07:59 PM

538: Why Only 16 Districts Voted For A Republican And A Democrat In 2020

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed, the current political environment is super partisan and polarized. We are in the midst of an unprecedented run of close, competitive elections, and Democrats and Republicans are about as far apart ideologically as they’ve ever been. Many of them also feel a strong antipathy toward each other, to the point that most believe the other side fundamentally differs not just in its priorities but in its core values, too.

As a result, few voters split their tickets in November. That is, if you voted for one party for president, you probably voted for the same party up and down the ballot. Take how voters cast their ballots in the U.S. House elections, the only other national election in 2020 aside from the presidential election (the presidential race is on the ballot everywhere, as are all 435 House seats). Just 16 out of 435 districts backed a presidential nominee from one party and a House candidate from the other party, according to district-level voting data compiled by Daily Kos Elections. That translates to just 4 percent of districts “splitting” their tickets in 2020, the smallest share in the past 70 years.

That number is stark, and speaks to how deeply entrenched partisanship is in our elections, but as the chart above shows, this cycle isn’t the first time this has been the case. Over the past 20 years, the share of districts splitting their House and presidential results between the two major parties has consistently fallen below 20 percent, and 2020 was the third consecutive cycle it fell below 10 percent. This represents a sea change from much of the latter half of the 20th century, when all but one cycle (1952) topped 20 percent. In fact, we’d have to go back to the start of the 20th century to find a similar period with such a small share of crossover seats — between 1900 and 1908.

What is fueling this bevy of straight-ticket outcomes is a sharp increase in the one-to-one relationship between presidential and House voting. Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, recently observed that the correlation between the presidential and House vote margin in each district was far greater in 2020 than in 2000, just two decades prior. Based on Franklin’s calculations, the 2020 presidential vote explained more than 85 percent of the variation in the House vote last November, whereas it explained only about 30 percent of the variation in 2000.


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Reply 538: Why Only 16 Districts Voted For A Republican And A Democrat In 2020 (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Feb 24 OP
Funtatlaguy Feb 24 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 08:04 PM

1. Did they look at statewide races? Maine sure split Prez/Senate tickets.

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