Posted on April 25, 2017
Despite strong anti-establishment sentiment, which contributed to Donald Trump’s election and Bernie Sanders’ strong primary performance, more than 98% of U.S. House members won re-election in November. Not only were most incumbents re-elected, they were re-elected by significantly more comfortable margins than in 2014. The “incumbency bump” -- our measure of the strength of congressional incumbents -- rebounded from a 20-year low of 2.55% in 2014 to 3.2%. In other words, incumbents earned an average of 3.2 percentage points more of the vote than the partisanship of their district suggests they would earn.