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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Anti-Incumbency? Not in 2012

There was some speculation that 2012 might turn out to be an anti-incumbent year.  After all, approval of Congress was low and some polls indicated that voters were wearying of their own lawmakers.

The anti-incumbent tide never arrived.  Even if the few undecided House races turn against incumbents, the 2012 reelection rate (including primaries and the general election) is about 90 percent in the House and 91 percent in the Senate.

The House figure is a bit below the historical average, but many of the defeats stemmed not from anti-incumbency but from redistricting, which put some members in less favorable territory or pitted them in primaries against incumbents from the same party.