BREAKING: Comparing the greatest House victory margins!

MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2018

Three years out of college:
Democrats won control of the House in last month's elections. That said:

Was it the biggest such victory ever? In an admittedly snarky performance, that's what we liberals were told:
MAJOR CABLE NEWS HOST (11/28/18): The reason I'm being a little snarky is because all this comes just as Nancy Pelosi led her party to an electoral victory that will return them to power in the House with the largest margin of victory in the popular vote of any party ever in the midterm election. No party ever in the history of the country has won a midterm election by a larger margin than Pelosi's Democrats just did in the House.
Is that true? Did Democrats win the House "with the largest margin victory in the popular vote of any party ever in a midterm election?" Is it true that "no party ever...has won a midterm election by a larger margin?"

In even a slightly rational world, no, it isn't true. According to the leading authority, here's where this year's numbers currently stand:
Popular vote, 2018 House elections:
Democrats: 60.2 million votes (53.3%)
Republicans: 50.8 millions votes (44.9%)
Margin of victory: Roughly 9.4 million votes (8.4%)
That was a substantial victory margin. But in quite a few earlier midterm elections, Democrats won the popular vote for the House by even larger margins:
Victory margin for Democrats, mid-term House elections:
1958: 12.4%
1970: 8.7%
1974: 16.8%
1978: 8.9%
1982: 11.8%
1986: 9.9%
We've checked, and all those years were part of American history. Democrats won by a substantial margin last month. But they won midterm House elections by larger margins in each of those earlier years.

(None of this actually matters, of course. Unless you dislike getting conned.)

You'll note that we're going by percentage of the vote, not by the total number of votes. We're doing that for an obvious reason:

As the U.S. population grows, the electorate gets bigger every year. It doesn't make sense to compare the total vote in 2018 (population approaching 330 million) to the total vote in 1970 (205.1 million).

That would be like comparing dollar amounts down through the years without adjusting for inflation. As a general matter, it makes no sense to perform such comparisons.

Why then did a cable news star offer that pleasing message? Simple! She was providing the kind of tribal happy talk which brings viewers back for more.

Then too, her staff may have been working from this NBC News news report, in which a youngish NBC journalist performed the pointless, inadvisable "total vote" comparison.

That youngish journalist compared the total number of votes in House elections down through the years, not the victory margin by percentages. Statistically, this procedure makes no sense. But the journalist in question is only three years out of college.

The journalist in question is on the youngish, less experienced side. Such hiring tends to keep labor costs down and corporate profits high. This allows NBC to pay its dissembling cable stars millions of dollars per year, although you aren't allowed to know how big their salaries actually are.

That cable star was feeding viewers a big dish of happy talk. The Democrats' win had been substantial; she said it had been historic.

She went on to offer a silly complaint about some reporting on the House election done by the New York Times. She was comparing an apple to an orange, but her result was pleasing and therefore good. But then, perhaps due to all the wealth and fame, the work performed by this cable star has been sliding for a very long time.

(To watch the whole segment, click this.)

We liberals! We're being pandered to all the way down. Does anybody actually think this repetitive conduct makes sense?

More such tribal foofaw tomorrow. In these highly tribal times, such bullsh*t by us "rational animals" pretty much never stops.

16 comments:

  1. "Does anybody actually think this repetitive conduct makes sense?"

    It sure does -- for a zombie cult. Which is exactly what you and your lot are...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see you're still working for the Establishment Elite. Some things never change.

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  2. Something else that might be noted.

    1958: 12.4% 1960 barely won
    1970: 8.7% 1972 huge loss
    1974: 16.8% 1976 barely wom
    1978: 8.9% 1980 substantial loss
    1982: 11.8% 1984 huge loss
    1986: 9.9% 1988 substantial loss

    I speak of Presidential elections, not the House elections of the same year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Democrats held the House in every one of those years. That changed in 1994, the same year Bob Somerby thinks our mainstream press began working overtime to undermine Clinton and Gore. Coincidence?

      Delete
  3. Times have changed since 1958. And 1986.

    In every one of Somerby’s listed midterms, the Democrats were the majority party going into the midterms, and came out of the midterms still in the majority. The Democrats were in the minority this go round.

    In the 1978 midterms, Democrats **lost** seats.

    If you look at the “swing”, only 1974 beats out 2018 (by a tenth of a percent), out of all the elections Somerby lists.

    And to look at similar cases, 2018 was the greatest margin (8.4%) for a *minority* party in a midterm election since the Republican victory in the 1946 elections.

    And in only two of Somerby’s years (1958 and 1974) did the Democrats win more seats (49 in both cases, versus 40 this year).

    Somerby may feel that “difference in popular vote totals” is not a meaningful statistic. But that doesn’t make it false, or an embellishment.

    I wonder why Somerby is singing the same tune as so much of the reviled mainstream press, as they scoff at the Democrats’ success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RM didn't say 'minority party' she said 'any party'. Your comment highlights the fact she embellished the statistic to make it sound better! Which is what Somerby is complaining about.

      Delete
  4. I also think that this repetition is completely meaningless!

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The House Democrats won the 2018 popular vote by 8.55%, the biggest margin for a minority party in a midterm election since record-keeping began.[5]"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections

    Blinded by rage at RM kept him from reading down three short paragraphs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RM did not say 'minority party' she said 'any party', so the quote pulled from wikipedia is irrelevant to the discussion.

      Delete
    2. Trivial difference. Trivial discussion. Republicans got crushed in the national popular vote. Rachel's mistakes, her salary, her "clowning" did not hurt the Dem cause. Dem turnout was up dramatically, something Bob said would not happen because of bad "media discourse" by Dems like Rachel.

      Delete
    3. It's not a trivial difference. It's aembellishing for no reason but to stoke tribal feelings. If it was coming out of Trump's mouth we'd be calling it a "lie".

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  9. Usually I would agree with you, the percent margin is the only important figure but in this case the size of the electorate isn't going uniformly up. In 1982, for example, about 43% of the registered voters voted vs 47% in 2018. Thus we got a higher percent of the registered voters in 2018 then we did in 82.

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