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Which House incumbents are most likely to lose?

  • analyzed the House incumbents to determine the most vulnerable in the 2012 election.
  • The list of the most vulnerable incumbents appears below; we will report on our accuracy after the elections.
  • Most vulnerable Democrats
  • Most vulnerable Republicans
  • Retiring (perhaps due to vulnerability)
  • Lost Primary (perhaps due to vulnerability)
  • Changed District (perhaps due to vulnerability)

  • Our methods:
  • We looked for incumbents whose party is a mismatch with the people in that district.
  • For incumbent Democrats, if McCain won the district in 2008, the incumbent is vulnerable.
  • For incumbent Republicans, if Obama won the district in 2008, the incumbent is vulnerable.
  • The degree of vulnerability is scored by the percentage difference between Obama and McCain.
  • We also compared the results of the 2004 election, and added in the the percentage difference between Kerry and Bush.
  • The overall score indicates the degree of incumbent vulnerability; we list the incumbents sequenced by this vulnerability score.
  • A higher score (larger negative number) indicates a higher vulnerability.

  • Our limitations:
  • The 2012 election includes redistricting from the 2010 census; that often mixes up districts and also mixes up this analysis.
  • We note which districts are shifted due to redistricting; those districts are harder to predict because they have never voted before within those district lines.
  • Incumbents work hard to ensure that redistricting HELPS them rather than HURTS them; but the results depend on the majority party of their state legislature.
  • The prevalence of vulnerable Republicans (26) over vulnerable Democrats (6) is due to Obama's large victory in 2008; districts are more likely to look Democrat than to look Republican.
  • Accordingly, we omit incumbents whose district vote in the 2004 presidential race more than compensated for the 2008 presidential race.
  • You can download the list of incumbents who fell off the vulnerability list during that process.
  • We also note if the incumbent is a freshman (first elected in 2010) which makes them even more vulnerable (but not indicated in the score).
  • This method has been used by myself and my political cronies to predict vulnerable Massachusetts House races in the past.
  • This is the first application to federal House races; come back after November to see how it works!

Most vulnerable Democrats

KY-6 Ben ChandlerD43%55%41%58%-29
WV-3 Nick RahallD42%56%46%53%-21
NY-26Kathy HochulD46%52%43%55%-18Special Election 2011; NY redistricting loses 2 seats
NC-7 Mike McIntyreD47%52%44%56%-17
MN-7 Collin PetersonD47%50%43%55%-15
NC-8 Larry KissellD52%47%45%54%-4

Most vulnerable Republicans

IL-10Robert DoldR61%38%53%47%-29Freshman; IL redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-11Lou BarlettaR57%42%53%47%-21Freshman; PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-6 Jim GerlachR58%41%51%48%-20PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-7 Patrick MeehanR56%43%53%47%-19Freshman
IL-17Bobby SchillingR57%42%51%48%-18Freshman; IL redistricting loses 1 seat
NH-2 Charlie BassR56%43%52%47%-18
WA-8 Dave ReichertR57%42%51%48%-18WA redistricting gains 1 seat
MN-8 Chip CravaackR53%45%53%46%-15
NY-25Ann Marie BuerkleR56%43%5%48%-15Freshman; NY redistricting loses 2 seats
WI-7 Sean DuffyR56%42%5%49%-15Freshman
PA-15Charlie DentR56%43%5%5%-13PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-8 Mike FitzpatrickR54%45%51%48%-12Re-elected Freshman; PA redistricting loses 1 seat
NV-3 Joe HeckR55%43%49%5%-11Freshman; NV redistricting gains 1 seat
OH-1 Steve ChabotR55%44%49%51%-9Re-elected Freshman; OH redistricting loses 2 seats
OH-15Steve StiversR54%45%5%5%-9Freshman; OH redistricting loses 2 seats
FL-22Allen WestR52%48%53%48%-9Freshman; FL redistricting gains 2 seats
NJ-2 Frank LoBiondoR54%45%49%5%-8NJ redistricting loses 1 seat
IL-6 Peter RoskamR56%43%47%53%-7IL redistricting loses 1 seat
OH-12Pat TiberiR54%45%49%51%-7OH redistricting loses 2 seats
WA-3 Jaime HerreraR53%45%48%5%-6Freshman; WA redistricting gains 1 seat
IA-4 Tom LathamR53%45%48%51%-5
FL-10Bill YoungR52%47%49%51%-3FL redistricting gains 2 seats
NH-1 Frank GuintaR53%47%48%51%-3Freshman
NJ-3 Jon RunyanR52%47%49%51%-3NJ redistricting loses 1 seat
MI-11Thad McCotterR54%45%47%53%-3Write-in
MN-3 Erik PaulsenR52%46%48%51%-3

Retiring (perhaps due to vulnerability)

AR-4 Mike RossD39%58%48%51%-22Retiring
NC-11Heath ShulerD47%52%43%57%-19Retiring
OK-2 Dan BorenD34%66%41%59%-50Retiring
NV-1 Shelley BerkleyD49%49%41%57%-16Running for Senate; NV redistricting gains 1 seat
AZ-8 Gabby GiffordsD46%52%46%52%-12Resigned; AZ redistricting gains 1 seat

Changed District (perhaps due to vulnerability)

UT-2 Jim MathesonD4%58%31%66%-53New district 4; UT redistricting gains 1 seat
AZ-3 Ben QuayleRSwitched to District 6Lost primary; AZ redistricting gains 1 seat
MI-13Hansen ClarkeDSwitched to District 9Lost primary; MI redistricting loses 1 seat
MO-3 Russ CarnahanDSwitched to District 1Lost primary; MO redistricting loses 1 seat
NJ-9 Steven RothmanDSwitched to District 8Lost primary; NJ redistricting loses 1 seat
OH-10Dennis KucinichDSwitched to District 9Lost primary; OH redistricting loses 2 seats

Lost primary (perhaps due to vulnerability)

PA-17Tim HoldenD48%51%42%58%-19Lost primary; PA redistricting loses 1 seat
PA-4 Jason AltmireD44%55%45%54%-20Lost primary; PA redistricting loses 1 seat
FL-6 Cliff StearnsRRedistricting shifted districtLost primary; FL redistricting gains 2 seats
FL-24Sandy AdamsRRedistricting overlapped with district 7Lost primary to District 7 incumbent; FL redistricting gains 2 seats
IL-16Donald ManzulloRRedistricting shifted districtLost primary; IL redistricting loses 1 seat
OH-2Jean SchmidtRRedistricting shifted districtLost primary; OH redistricting loses 2 seats
OK-1John SullivanRNo redistrictingLost primary.
TX-16Silvestre ReyesDRedistricting shifted districtLost primary; TX redistricting gains 4 seats


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