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Making Sense of the Numbers

November 03, 2010
9:35 am

By now, you’ve likely seen plenty of television news election maps showing a sea of red sweeping across the country. Power in the U.S. House of Representatives has not only shifted from Democrats to the Republicans, but the GOP will have its largest House majority since 1946. As of this writing, Republican House gains have crossed the 60-seat threshold with a number of other races still without declared winners. In the Senate, Republicans have picked up at least six Democratic seats (ND, AR, IN, PA, WI, and IL) with Colorado and Washington still hanging in the balance.
 
A couple of statistics from last night stand out as we examine why the Republican tidal wave took place and what it means for the 112th Congress. The first is that, according to exit polls, senior citizens made up 22 percent of the voting populace last night, compared to just 16 percent in 2008, and they voted Republican in large numbers. This tells us that attacks on health reform, particularly those focused on Medicare reductions, likely had an impact on older voters.
 
The other statistic doesn’t bode well for bipartisan cooperation in the next Congress. Of 54 conservative Democrats who are in the Blue Dog coalition, 28 of them were defeated last night. Although voters were apprehensive about federal spending and government growth, it was the moderate-to-conservative Democrats in districts won by John McCain in 2008 who largely paid the price. Seeing diminishing numbers of moderates in both parties will make progress on critical legislation more challenging.

Follow Us Election Night On Twitter

November 01, 2010
9:58 am

Sure, you can watch CNN, Fox, or one of the major networks on Election Night and be kept up to date on the Reid-Angle spotlight race or the macro trends concerning which party will have the upper hand in Congress. But, if you want to stay apprised of what’s happening in key races affecting the congressional committees with primary healthcare jurisdiction, follow the Healthcare Leadership Council (@HealthInFocus or @HLCmembers) on Twitter.
 
In the Senate, we’ll be monitoring Finance Committee member Blanche Lincoln’s (D-AR) uphill battle to hold onto to her seat against the tough challenge of Congressman John Boozman (R-AR). And in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are both in neck-and-neck races. We’ll also be looking at Republican committee members Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), whose write-in candidacy is picking up steam, and Richard Burr (R-NC), who leads in the polls but has been a Democratic target.
 
The House Ways and Means Committee has several Democrats on whom we’ll be reporting, including John Larson (D/CT-1), Ron Kind (D/WI-3), Bob Etheridge (D/NC-2) and John Yarmuth (D/KY-3). On the Republican side, we’ll also be watching Dave Reichert’s (R/WA-8) tough race.
 
And the House Energy and Commerce Committee features Democratic lawmakers in some of the nation’s most fiercely contested races, including Mary Bono Mack (R/CA-45), Rick Boucher (D/VA-9), Baron Hill (D/IN-9), Chris Murphy (D/CT-5), Betty Sutton (D/OH-13), and Zach Space (D/OH-18). We would also be remiss if we didn’t check on the progress of John Dingell (D/MI-15), facing one of the most challenging races of his distinguished career.
 
Beyond Congress, we’ll also be keeping track of the anti-health reform ballot initiatives in Arizona, Colorado, and Oklahoma. So stay with us on Twitter Election Night. We’ll be tweeting as long as the results are still coming in.