Posted by Will Mantell on May 24, 2022 at 10:29 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Will Mantell, [email protected]
2022 U.S. House Projections: New Interactive Map Shows Only 9% of Districts are Potential Toss-Ups
New map allows users to toggle between different national generic ballots, test impact on House outcomes
80% of U.S. House districts uncompetitive, while 11% lean towards either Democrats or Republicans
May 24, 2022 – As the 2022 midterm primaries heat up, a new analysis projects which party will win 9 out of every 10 U.S. House seats this November – before we even know most candidates and without tracking campaigns or polls. Only 40 races are considered true toss-ups this election cycle. Produced every two years since 1997, FairVote’s Monopoly Politics analysis emphasizes what really matters in congressional elections over candidates, platforms, and issues: partisanship.
The analysis includes a new interactive map – the first of its kind this election cycle – that allows users to test how national party preference (the “generic ballot”) will impact House election outcomes this November. Users can see the number of House seats each party is projected to win in a “Default” year where the national popular vote is split 50-50 between the two parties, versus any preference between an R+5 year (55% Republican) and a D+5 year (55% Democrat). The analysis will continue to be updated as states’ congressional maps are finalized.
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“The vast majority of American voters are trapped in one-party districts – of course they feel like their votes don’t make a difference,” said David Daley, redistricting journalist and Senior Fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections. “The problem is bigger than just gerrymandering – geographic polarization means urban Republicans and rural Democrats don’t have their voices heard even in ‘objectively’ drawn districts. It’s simply not possible to have both meaningful choice and real representation with a winner-take-all system. That’s why we need to move to proportional, multi-member congressional districts, by passing the Fair Representation Act.”
"The maps are new, but the story's the same: uncompetitive districts where millions of voters' voices are ignored, and where candidates have every incentive to appeal to the extremes," said U.S. Representative Don Beyer (VA-8). "We need bold reform that builds voters' confidence and trust in our democracy, while rewarding elected leaders who actually work with one another and get things done for their constituents. The Fair Representation Act is the solution that will put us on the right track – ensuring every voter's voice is represented in Congress, and Members are held accountable at the ballot box in November."
80% of Seats All-But-Decided Months Before Election Day
Based on current congressional maps, FairVote makes “high-confidence projections” for 80% of the House (348 seats). In other words, the partisanship of these districts is so locked in that the winner won’t change, regardless of national party preference. In a “Default,” 50-50 year, these seats would favor either a Democrat or Republican by 10+ points. FairVote’s high-confidence projections have been over 97% accurate for each of the last six election cycles, and over 99% accurate for five of the last six.
Another 11% (47 seats) “lean” towards one party, meaning they favor either Democrats or Republicans by 5-10 points in a Default year. Only 8% (40 seats) are true “tossups.”
FairVote’s projections do not include polling data; rather, they rely entirely on 1) past election results in each district, 2) an “incumbency bump” given equally to every incumbent seeking re-election, and 3) a “performance over average candidate” measure specific to each incumbent seeking re-election, based on their previous election performance.
How Do We Fix It?
Regardless of the overall “partisan balance” of the House, our current system deprives more than 8 in 10 Americans of a meaningful choice for the People’s House.
Nationally, the Fair Representation Act (FRA), H.R. 3863 in the current Congress, is the single most important long-term change to challenge our monopoly politics, and stabilize and strengthen our democracy. The FRA would replace single-winner congressional districts with multi-member districts elected through ranked choice voting.
The FRA would eliminate gerrymandering and ensure real competition in every district. Every multi-member district would have representatives of multiple parties, and lawmakers would have new incentives to collaborate.
See how the FRA will provide better representation for voters, including creating opportunities for "political minorities" like Democrats in Oklahoma and Republicans in Connecticut, while still preserving majority rule for the majority party in each of those states.
The full Monopoly Politics analysis is online. The analysis will continue to be updated as states’ congressional maps are finalized, and published as a full report in Summer 2022.
FairVote is a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. We research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American.