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Unpacking the vote for GOP U.S. House candidates nationwide (they did better than Trump)

Republicans received 51 percent of the total vote for U.S. House candidates to 48 for the Democrats, leaving room for a tiny third-party vote.

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

Here’s a fact that might surprise you.

If you’re like me, you might have guessed (or assumed) that Republicans in the midterm won their new U.S. House majority primarily through successful gerrymandering from prior cycles. 

Apparently not. They may have won it the old-fashioned way.

New York Times Chief Political Analyst Nate Cohn reported this week that Republican House candidates actually got more collective votes nationwide than Democrats did (and therefore the Republican takeover of the House majority is more small-d democratically legitimate).

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Yes, that’s right, although the nationwide margin was small (well, three percentage points if you call that small) if you mush all the 435 House races together, Republicans received 51 percent of the total vote to 48 for the Dems, leaving room for a tiny third-party vote.

As regular readers of Black Ink know, I wasn’t rooting for the Republicans. But I believe in facing facts.

You can read the details via Cohn here, if you have access to the Times.

Cohn notes that something similar happened in 2020, when the national vote for House Republicans exceeded the national vote for their presidential nominee, whatshisname. But if you click through that link above you’ll see that in 44 of the 50 states, Republican House candidates in 2022 got a larger share of the votes than Trump got during his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

(The six exceptions, in which House Democratic nominees in 2022 did a little better – although only in single digits better, percentage-wise – than Biden did in 2020 were Maine, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Kansas, Alaska and Hawaii.)

The explanation, rather obviously, is that Republican House nominees are a lot better-liked by their local Republicans than Trump was, at least after four years of experiencing Trump in the White House.

I’m not sure if this unexpected (at least to me) fact surprises you, but I pass it along for what it’s worth.