Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.
Now that Democrat Raphael Warnock of Georgia has won the final U.S. Senate race of this year’s midterm cycle, it’s clear that Senate elections continue to be very much in sync with states’ presidential votes.
Warnock’s victory means that only one of this year’s 35 Senate elections didn’t go the same way as the state’s 2020 presidential vote. The exception was Wisconsin, where Republican Sen. Ron Johnson won a third term this year by fewer than 27,000 votes – or 1% of the nearly 2.65 million votes cast – even though Democrat Joe Biden carried the state (by fewer than 21,000 votes) in 2020. Although Wisconsin’s Senate race was the lone exception this year, the midterms did reinforce the Badger State’s especially “swingy” reputation: Simultaneously with Johnson’s victory, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers won a second term by about 90,000 votes, or roughly 3.4 percentage points.
...One consequence of the increasing alignment between states’ presidential and Senate voting patterns is a decrease in split Senate delegations. In the incoming 118th Congress, just five states will be represented by senators of different parties, the lowest number of split delegations in at least 55 years.
The trend also is similar to the decline of split-ticket voting in House races – that is, voting for a House Democrat and a GOP presidential candidate, or vice versa. That development has contributed to the scarcity of House seats “flipping” from one party to the other: Although redistricting this year makes head-to-head comparisons difficult, only about 16 House seats clearly flipped from one party to the other this year.
Both the decline in split Senate delegations and in split-ticket voting in House races have been driven by the deep antipathy between Democrats and Republicans, on personal characteristics as well as fundamental political values.