The Democrats’ narrow victory in 2006

Paul Krugman writes:

For some reason a couple of people who have written to me . . . that the Democrats won a “narrow victory” in 2006. . . . In fact, it’s quite strange how the magnitude of the Democratic victory has been downplayed. . . . You might assume that this was because the Democrats barely eked out a victory. In fact, Democrats had an 8.5 percentage point lead, substantially bigger than the GOP win in 1994. . . .

Here’s some historical perspective:


and here’s an estimated seats-votes curve for the 2006 election:


Journalists respond to seats more than votes, I think, so that’s one reason they might have understated what happened in 2006.

More on seats and votes in 2006 in our article here (to appear next year in PS).

2 thoughts on “The Democrats’ narrow victory in 2006

  1. Andrew at the end it is seats not votes that tell the story in election outcomes in the US. To assert that votes is more important than seats is to confound what really is being accomplished with voting. Journalist only occasionaly get it right. This is one of the few occasions.

  2. Bee,

    I didn't assert that votes are more important than seats. I think they're both relevant. Elections have direct outcomes but they are also interpreted as indicators of public opinion, and the vote is relevant to this.

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