Dubious Democracy 1982-2010

 

dubious democracy 2010 cover

Dubious Democracy 1982-2010 provides a comprehensive assessment of the level of competition and accuracy of representation in U.S. House elections in all 50 states from 1982 to 2010. It ranks each state on a "democracy index" that is a relative measurement based on average margin of victory, percentage of seats to votes, how many voters elect candidates and number of House races won by overwhelming landslides.

In this eighth edition, Dubious Democracy 1982-2010 provides a comprehensive assessment of the level of competition and accuracy of representation in U.S. House elections in all 50 states from 1982 to 2010. It ranks each state on a "democracy index" that is a relative measurement based on average margin of victory, percentage of seats to votes, how many voters elect candidates and number of House races won by overwhelming landslides.

Use the below table of contents to read the report online. You can also download the data sheet in Excel. 

Some highlighted national facts concerning the 2010 elections include:

  • Unusually high seat changes amidst generally lopsided races. 54 incumbents lost to challengers even as two-thirds of incumbents were re-elected by "landslide" margins of at least 20 percentage points.
  • Landslide wins continue. In seven states, every race was won by a landslide margin of at least 20 percentage points. Only six states (all with one or two seats except for New Mexico, with three) recorded no landslide win.
  • High victory margins. The average victory margin was a whopping 33 percentage points. Six of every ten (64.4%) U.S. House races were won by landslide margins of at least 20 percentage points. Only 81 races (18.6%) were won by competitive margins of less than 10 percentage points.
  • Apathy and representation. Nearly two in three eligible voters did not vote for a winning U.S. House representative.