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Incumbents, Democrats in competitive districts outperform congressional district projections

A review of the final 2012 election results reveals the projections for the newly redrawn congressional districts were mostly accurate.

Among the eight congressional races that had a candidate from the two major parties, most of the predictions were within 5 percentage points of the results.

However, no incumbent was unseated, and a few outperformed their districts’ projected partisan advantage. And Democratic candidates in competitive districts did somewhat better than predicted by the Independent Redistricting Commission that redrew the congressional map in 2011.

In the state’s most competitive congressional districts, CDs 1, 2 and 9, all of the Democratic candidates outperformed the projections by a couple points, with Democratic Rep.-elect Kyrsten Sinema besting the projection for her district by the widest margin.

Sinema won CD9 by just over 4 percentage points, Democratic Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick won CD1 by just under 4 points and Democratic Rep. Ron Barber won re-election by under 1 percentage point.

The redistricting commission’s projections gave those districts near even partisan odds.

Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar beat his district’s partisan handicap by the greatest margin. Gosar opted to run in the more GOP-friendly western, rural CD4 instead of having a rematch with Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in the competitive district his home was drawn into. Where most of the IRC’s projections gave the district a 27-to-30-point Republican advantage, Gosar won by 38.5 points, besting that projection by around 10 points.

Rep. David Schweikert, another incumbent, also beat the projection for his district by a fair margin. Where the redistricting commission gave the district a 19-to-24-point Republican advantage, he came out ahead by 28 points.

Gosar was challenged by a practically unknown Democratic opponent.

Schweikert’s opponent, Matt Jette, previously ran as a Republican in the 2010 Arizona gubernatorial race, then became a Democrat to run in CD6, then switched to independent shortly before the end of the 2012 race.

Rep. Trent Franks and former Rep. Matt Salmon, both Republicans, slightly outperformed their districts’ projected GOP advantage and Democratic Rep. Raúl Grijalva performed nearly exactly as the projections predicted.

Democratic Rep. Ed Pastor was not challenged by a Republican candidate.

CD Average Projected Partisan Advantage 2012 General Election GOP Performance 2012 General Election Dem Performance Difference
1 1.1% Democratic advantage 45.10% 48.70% 2.5% Democratic overperformance
2 1.8% Republican advantage 49.50% 50.30% 2.6% Democratic overperformance
3 21.0% Democratic advantage 37.10% 58.30% 0.2% Democratic overperformance
4 28.6% Republican advantage 66.80% 28.30% 10.0% Republican overperformance
5 29.2% Republican advantage 67.10% 32.80% 5.1% Republican overperformance
6 21.0% Republican advantage 61.20% 33.30% 7.0% Republican overperformance
7 31.7% Democratic advantage uncontested uncontested uncontested
8 23.0% Republican advantage 63.30% 35% 5.3% Republican overperformance
9 1.0% Republican advantage 44.60% 48.70% 5.1% Democratic overperformance


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