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Here Comes the 112th Congress: The Most Conservative (and Most Polarized) in Decades

- November 12, 2010

Readers of The Monkey Cage will recall my post just before the 2010 midterms about how “Adam Bonica’s”:http://homepages.nyu.edu/~ajb454/ campaign finance data had predicted that the Democrats “were likely to hold the House”:https://themonkeycage.org/2010/11/a_prediction_that_the_democrat.html. That didn’t exactly work out, but look for a better prediction from the model in 2012 as Adam continues to tweak it to take account of what he learned from 2012. He writes that the shortcomings of the model:

bq. may have been more a result of my somewhat hasty implementation than the failure of rational expectations. The correlation between predicted and observed vote-share was nearly as strong as previous election cycles, but the model got the intercept wrong by 2.5 percentage points. I had a chance to create trend lines for the picking winners measure ( rather than just pooling all contributions to a candidate over the duration of the election cycle) and the predictions were much closer to reality. It missed the intercept by a little over a point.

So we’ll look forward to seeing Adam’s predictions in 2012, and will have them for you hear on The Monkey Cage. In the meantime, Adam’s has new data available on the “ideological composition of the 112th congress”:http://ideologicalcartography.com/2010/11/05/introducing-the-112th-congress/. The bottom line:

bq. The replacement effect of the 2010 Midterm Elections is unlike anything in recent memory. The shift in the House median is two and a half times what was observed after the 1994 Election, wiping out the effect of Democratic gains in the previous two elections and then some. The 111th was the most liberal Congress in the past three decades; the 112th will be the most conservative…. The 2010 Elections [also] had a profound effect on congressional polarization. Not only will the 112th House be the most polarized on record; 2010 will surpass 1994 as the most polarizing election cycle.

There is a lot more and some great figures on his blog in “this post”:http://ideologicalcartography.com/2010/11/05/introducing-the-112th-congress/. I’ll reproduce one here, which addresses the ideological composition of the House.

Bonica_median_party_means_102_1121.jpg

Sometimes a picture really is worth a 1000 words…