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Glossary

Wasted Vote Index:
Total number of votes cast for losing candidates.


Wasted Votes, R / D:
Percentages of votes for Republicans and Democrats that did not help to elect a candidate.


Drop-Off Voters:
Percentage of voters who participated in a statewide race but did not vote in a U.S. House election.


Votes and Seats for:
Percentage of votes and seats won by Republicans, Democrats, and others; "O" refers to independent and third party candidates.


Seat Changes:
Number of districts that changed parties where an incumbent was defeated.


High/Low % Voter Turnout:
The congressional districts with the highest voter turnout in a state and the lowest voter turnout in a state.


Scale of Competitiveness:
  See below.
    Tight:
Won by less than 5%.
   Competitive:
Won by at leat 5% and less than 10%.
   Comfortable:
Won by at least 10% and less than 20%.
   Landslide:
Won by at least 20% and less than40%.
   No Contest:
Won by 40% or more.
   Uncontested:
Won without major party opposition (but possibly opposition from minor party or independent).


Untouchable:
U.S. House incumbents who won by landslides in the last two general elections.


Elected Women:
Measure of the number of women in a state's US House delegation.


Elected Racial Minorities:
Measure of the number of U.S. House representatives from a state who are Black (B), Latino (L), Asian (A), and American Indian (AI).


Vote power:

Measures, by party, how powerful a vote was in electing the state's U.S. House representatives. It divides the percentage of seats won by a party in a state, with the percentage of votes won by the party in the state.


 
Democracy Index:
Measure of a state’s average ranking in key categories: average margin of victory (measuring overall competitiveness), landslide index (measuring the number of somewhat competitive races), seats-to-votes distortion (measuring how well the intent of voters was reflected by the results), and representation index (weighted double, as it measures both voter participation and the percentage of effective votes that elect someone).


Average Margin of Victory (MOV):
Measure of the average in a state's House race of the winner’s percentage of the vote minus the second-place candidate’s percentage of the vote.


Seats-to-Votes Distortion:
Measure of the average by which one party wins a greater percentage of seats than votes and the other party wins a smaller percentage of seats than votes. The distortion is calculated by adding the percentage distortion for each party and then dividing by two. For example, if Democratic candidates won 10% more House seats than votes and Republicans won 6% fewer House seats than their share of the House votes, the seat-to-vote distortion would be 8%.


Landslide Index:
Measure of the percentage of all U.S. races won by a margin of victory of at least 20 percent.


Representation Index:
Measure of the percentage of eligible voters in a state who voted for the winning candidate in US House elections. The index is determined by multiplying the voter turnout in US House races by the percentage of votes cast for winning candidates.


Voter Turnout:

Measure of the percentage of the voting eligible population who voted in a state’s US House elections (as opposed to statewide and presidential elections). We use population estimates by Professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University. His figures estimate the number of voting age adults who are eligible to vote, which means they exclude non-citizens and other adults who cannot vote, and estimate eligible overseas voters from that state.

   
Incumbent Win Streaks: Records the length of time since an incumbent has been defeated.  It ranks each individual state according to the duration of time in which there has been a 100% incumbent re-election rate (all incumbents seeking re-election in general elections were successful).