Politics Blog

Based on voter turnout analysis, DelBene should win U.S. Congress seat

Fellow political reporter Samantha Wohlfeil is covering the races for U.S. Congress in Washington state districts 1 and 2, so I hope she'll forgive this little post, based on a statistical analysis I came across from RealClearPolitics.

A reporter with a better than average working knowledge of statistics took a look at how Democrats and Republicans fared in congressional races, in the WA primary and general elections, since 1992. (He excluded 2004 and 2006, when our state held closed primaries.)

What RCP senior elections analyst Sean Trende found, not suprisingly, was that Democrats' performance in the general election tracked well with performance in the primary -- although with a small gain between the summer and fall elections.

Trende writes:

In general, Democrats in Washington state perform better in the fall than they do in the summer -- this makes sense, given what we know about general election turnout vs. primary turnout. In 2012 they performed, overall, 3.5 percent better in the fall. In 2010 they performed 5.5 percent better in the fall. The only exception is 1996, where they performed about three-tenths of a point worse in the fall. 

From Trende's trend line, he makes predictions for Washington's 10 congressional districts in 2014. Spoiler alert: No seats change political stripe. Whatcom County includes parts of CD 1 and CD 2. Congressional District 1 is held by freshman U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina. CD 2 has been represented by Rick Larsen, D-Everett, since 2001.

Democratic vote in November 2014:

WA-01 (DelBene): 56.45%

WA-02 (Larsen): 58.03%

WA-03:               43.31%

WA-04:               30.11%

WA-05:               34.63%

WA-06:               60.19%

WA-07:               76.03%

WA-08:               40.48%

WA-09:               68.31%

WA-10:               53.57%

(The percentage in the 4th Congressional District should be disregarded; no Democrats advanced to the general election. Two Republicans are facing off for that seat.)

As Trende sees it,

"The Democratic seats should stay blue -- 10 and perhaps 1 are the sole exceptions, if things take a turn for the worse for the Democrats."

On the U.S. Senate side, RealClearPolitics anticipates a seven-seat swing, which would move the Senate from 55-45 Democrat controlled to 52-48 Republican.