Hogan's Alley

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Results: No Big Whoop, Standard Mid-term Loss

Well, I clearly underestimated the gains for the Democrats in the House, but I my guess was based on my sense that there would be no great national wave of change demanded by the American people. In my home state of Connecticut the three close contested seats held by Republicans split. Chris Shays won, Nancy Johnson lost and Rob Simmons has apparently lost, but in a near tie with Joe Courtney (currently leading by 180 votes).

Although some races are still officially undecided, it seems clear that, in the House, Democrats will pick up about 33 seats. In the Senate, Montana and Virginia will no doubt go to the Democrats, giving them a gain of 6 seats and the simultaneous creation of a very powerful independent in Joe Lieberman. Kos as Dr. Frankenstein?

How does this stand up to the history of midterm elections? Colleen Shogan of George Mason University has published a paper laying out the facts. The key chart from her work is on page 8 of this PDF. It shows that from 1862 - 2002 the average losses in the second year midterm election are 30.2 in the House and 1.5 in the Senate. In the sixth year midterm the average loss is 40.3 in the House and 6.6 in the Senate.

By this standard the Democrats could be said to do less well than expected in the House and spot on average in the Senate.