Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me?

KausFiles reports that Charlie Cook's e-mailed newsletter says the 2002 election is being "over-interpreted" as a huge GOP victory, and reproduces this passage from the letter:

Not one House seat in the country that had been rated leaning, likely or solidly Democratic in the Oct. 20, final post-election issue of the Cook Political Report went Republican. (For that matter, no leaning, likely or solidly Republican seat went Democratic, either.) Republicans simply won seven out of 11 of the toss-up races.

But the "Party In The White House" normally loses a good number of seats in the mid-term Congressional election. That's such a consistent pattern that it should be considered a frame of reference. So aren't Republican "gains" in this election best measured against such normal losses?

In other words, if the point is to gage how well the current Republicans did compared to what prior similarly situated people have been able to do, the Republicans shouldn't be taken as just having gained four House seats, they should be seen as having "gained" four plus the normal number of seats lost by the "Party In The White House" in a mid-term election.

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