Home Elections 2020 election track, Part 1: American House

2020 election track, Part 1: American House


In the coming weeks, PEC will roll out new features and a new design. The most prominent will be the emphasis on local action. Our editorial stance this year is to promote your local efforts locally for the term of President (4 years), Senate (6 years) and redistribution (10 years).

This week, we started previous PEC federal monitors: the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President of the United States. The math below is mostly the same: the fastest possible snapshot of polls with transparent assumptions. The notable exception is an increase in the minimum degree of uncertainty in the last paragraph.

Today let’s get started with the simplest tracker: American Homes. As of today, the Democrats seem 5.0 percentage points above the level they need to keep control of the room.

Here’s how it works.

Despite the complexity of having 435 races for the House of Representatives, a single number of polls do a good job monitoring the House of Representatives: the general vote of Congress (“you support the Democrats or the Republicans. Race to your local Parliament? ”). There are two reasons to support this. First, counties have equal populations, and a national survey must count all counties equally. The first-past-the-post rule makes this simple. Second, regional differences averaged in how votes were cast into seats won.

The black trace is a voting divider. Its “averaging” rule is to average N weeks of polls, one poll per poll, the date determined by the last date the poll was conducted. For our Internal Tracker, N = 2 for the entire campaign season.

The next task is to convert this voting trend into representativeness. This depends heavily on how the districts are drawn. In the US, counties are redrawn every 10 years. Because they have to be contiguous, they are limited by how voters arrange themselves. Voters support 30 points Democrats in urban areas and Republicans 15 points in rural areas. That 30% -v-15% asymmetry creates a natural tendency to push Democrats into fewer counties. It also provides the raw materials for drawing lines to place them at an even more disadvantage. In other words, natural geography is the starting point for the partisan opposition we’ve seen explode since 2000.

We had to estimate what would happen in order for partisan control to shift between the parties. In 2018, I estimate Democrats need to win 6% of the popular vote (“D + 6%”). This year, due to state court decisions in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, and because Democrats have more incumbents, I estimate that the threshold is lowered to D + 3%. I use this for my comparison with the historical model since 1948, plus analysis of current one-party commanders. Think of it like a spread in golf, where the abstract ideal of authoritarian rule collides with the tradition of drawing areas.

This handicap is included in the chart above. The right axis shows the actual voting median and the left axis is the same median shifted 3 percentage points, to show the actual advantage in representation.

The seat ratio is usually about 6-8 seats per percentage point of the common coupon rate of return. So the current efficiency lead rate is D + 5% which corresponds to a difference of 30-40 seats. That is quite approximate.

There is a second feature. The orange line shows the results of special elections since 2018. In recent cycles special elections have been a good predictor of how the national vote will play out. This bill and the National Assembly’s general ballot are approximate. This is also true in Elections in 2018. Of course, conditions are subject to change. The black trace will always show a snapshot of the current conditions. We’ll see if the two measures continue to agree.

An open question in our democracy is whether the above “tolerance score” can be close to zero, achieving the same treatment of major parties, while still adhering to the principles of diffusion. system. Achieving that outcome requires bipartisan or nonpartisan control of regional redistribution. Another question is whether the candidates for either party must work for reelection, or be protected by a well-designed map. This is best done by independent commissions. To learn more about how to achieve those goals, see our work at gerrymander.princeton.edu.

In the coming weeks, we’ll explore how you can influence that process in this year’s elections. Some of the state legislative races will have a huge effect on representation equity by 2021 redistricting. They are reflected in the ActBlue and WinRed link in the right margin. In the near future, we will go into depth into this “Moneyball” analysis.

Contributors to this feature: Lucas Manning, Ben Deverett. Residential code https://github.com/Princeton-Election-Consortium/data-backend. Output result: tables and chart.

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