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How many national seats did the Democrats lose under Obama?

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Approximately 24% of their national seats (weighted). Eleven seats in the Senate (19%). Sixty-nine in the House (28%).

To get the percentage we computed seats lost / initial seats for both chambers to get individual seats lost percentages. We then average the percentages together to get a single number, essentially weighting the seats (Senate vs. House) by their relative individual significance.

Origin and Prevalence

Elections are often counter-cyclical, and a recent question that has arisen is how out of line the Republican gain in the national legislature and at the state level with historical norms. Here we examine how many seats George Bush lost during his presidency at the national level.

Issues and Analysis

The theory is that while a presidential election may have coattails, they are more than offset but subsequent mid-terms, and higher mobilization of the opposition in the end of the president's term. So we will be measuring the difference between the number of seats held in January 2001 vs. number of seats held in January 2009. It is worth noting that this does not give us the greatest difference, since early vacancies generally swing towards the President's

Senate

In January 2009, the Senate was split 59-41 in favor of the Democrats. By the 2017 inauguration, the Senate was split 52-48 in favor of the Republicans, for a total loss of 11 seats.

House

In January 2009,there were 256 Democrats and 178 Republicans in the House. By January 2017, there were 187-246 for a total loss of 69 seats (we've ignored vacancies for the moment).


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