The bigger story may not be that one party or another gained seats, but rather that the number of competitive seats fell by 17, part of a decades-long trend of polarization among voters and the consolidation of power by political parties.
In the current situation, only 34 of the 435 seats – less than 10% – are competitive districts, down 17 from when maps were used in 2020.
For the purposes of this CNN analysis, which applied the results of the 2020 election to newly drawn districts, “competitive” refers to districts that President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump won in 2020 by 5 percentage points or less.
The competitive landscape of 34 districts in CNN’s analysis is more than enough to capture the 435-member House of Representatives, and a wave in either direction could put districts that were not competitive in previous elections into play.
Parties are capitalized in specific places
But there are 10 fewer competitive seats in Texas.
The Democrats got two seats there.
This is also the case in states such as Georgia, Missouri, and Nebraska.
The process is changing for the better at the national level
Princeton University professor Samuel Wang, who directs Princeton’s Gerrymandering Project, enters into his analysis several recent elections, rather than just the Biden-versus-Trump 2020 data. He also notes a decline in competitive seats between 2020 and 2022, but an increase in competitive seats since 2012, which he considers a “milestone year” for Republicans, though their advantage has gradually faded nationally.
“One of the main reasons is improvements in redistricting,” Li Wang said, referring to the independent commissions and neutral mapping processes that have taken over key states and what his organization considers better mapping for Congress in states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina and New York.
Less competitive areas. But there will be competition
Professional engineers use many factors to determine which races may actually exist.
“There may be fewer swing districts, but that doesn’t mean there are fewer competitive races,” CNN analyst Nathan Gonzalez told me in an email.
Added safer republic regions than democratic regions
There are marginally fewer very safe districts for Democrats and more districts where Biden won by 2-7 percentage points. It suggests that Democrats, more than Republicans, will be on the defensive in the new charts, perhaps even in races not on the competitive list.
The wave could reach deep into Biden’s territory
There is a difference between competitive seats, which have seen a decline, and competitive races that there can be a lot of.
“What interrupts actually ‘competitive’ changes from one course to the next,” Kyle Kondyk, managing editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, told me in an email. “For example, there are likely to be many Biden seats in double digits that Republicans will end up with a good chance of flipping this year, especially if the winds are in the back in the fall (we’ll see if that happens).”
He also made an important point that what looks like a safe zone for Republicans or Democrats today, may look very different in one or two elections.
Kondic: Many of the counties designated to be securely Republican in places like Georgia and Texas became more competitive over the 2000s as Donald Trump alienated many traditional suburban Republican voters. Likewise, Trump has made many typical Democratic districts in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania more competitive after rising to the top of the Republican Party and shaking up many Barack Obama voters. Voter alliances change over time, and they can change in ways that are difficult to predict.
The area is like the country
Parties frequently change control of Congress
In which direction is the wind blowing?
Suddenly Democrats may have some reason to be optimistic in what is still expected to be a very difficult political environment when control of Capitol Hill is at stake in November.
- In the Senate, they are about to deliver on promises of climate and healthcare legislation that earlier this year were left to die.
- They worked with Republicans to introduce bipartisan legislation on guns and support the semiconductor industry.
- In the states, support for abortion rights in the red state of Kansas suggests that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade may be a powerful electoral case.
- Stronger-than-expected employment data suggests that Americans who want to find jobs can find them.
But after all this looms persistent inflation that has made American life more expensive and helped build deep pessimism about the economy, and has helped keep Biden’s job approval at or below 40%, an important indicator as more and more regions are becoming more partisan. . .