Bill Clinton's Vote in State Relative to National Average
  -9% or less (<41%) -5% to -8%
-1% to -4%
1% to 4%
5% to 8%
9% or more
All-GOP (18) 6 6 3 1 2 0 0
All-DEM (13) 1 2 0 1 5 3 1
Mixed (19) 1 2 6 1 5 2 2
Total 8 10 9 3 12 5 3
Seat Split (GOP - DEM)
(55-45) 13-3 14-6 12-6 3-3 9-15 2-8 2-4


1. Presidential Winner in Different Categories:

2. Mixed States: The relatively high number (19) of mixed states could be due to a few factors:

  1. Senate races have a higher profile than a typical House race. Voters in high-profile races are somewhat more likely to vote for a different party because candidates have more opportunities to distinguish themselves (positively or negatively) as persons, not just as party representatives. Money and television advertising thus can have more of an impact in high-profile races.
  2. Senate races are staggered. The two senators from a state do not face exactly the same electorate and do not run in the same political climate.
  3. 34 of 50 states are "marginal" (Clinton 44%-54%), where the seat split is equal: 35-33, Republican. (In the marginal categories of Clinton 45%-53%, House seats are also relatively evenly split -- 84-72, Republican.) 15 of the 19 mixed states are among these marginal states.

3. A Possible Measure of House District Gerrymandering: 24 of 50 states (48%) are in the marginal category (Clinton 45%-53%) and another ten are only 1% outside this range, while only 156 of 435 House districts (36%) are in the Clinton 45%-53%. 11 of 50 states (22%) are in the two "extreme" categories, while 181 of 435 House districts (42%) are in those categories.

4. Future Control of Senate: In the immediate future, things look better for Republicans. Democrats have far more incumbents up in Republican-leaning states in 1998. In the "non-marginal" states, Byron Dorgan (ND) represents a "sub-41%" state, while Ernest Hollings (SC) and Tom Daschle (SD) represent "41%-44%" states. Among Republicans, only Alfonse D'Amato (in New York, where Clinton won 59%) represents a state where Clinton won over 50%. In marginal states (Clinton 45%-to-53%), Democrats up in 1998 on the Republican side of the state spectrum are Bob Graham (FL), Wendell Ford (KY - retiring), Harry Reid (NV) and John Glenn (OH - retiring). In addition to D'Amato, Republicans up in 1998 on the "wrong" side -- and just barely -- are Charles Grassley (IA) and Judd Gregg (NH).

Over the long term, Democrats face an uphill challenge. 18 states are non-marginal Republican states, while only 8 states are non-marginal on the Democratic side -- and Clinton received more than 5% above his national average in only four states (Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island). To win control, the Democrats have to do better in the marginal seats and keep winning occasional non-marginal seats.

5. Conservative States: Smaller in Population Than Liberal States and More Numerous: The natural conservative majority is aided by low-population states. The nine most conservative states have only 22 House members, and six of the nine have fewer than four members. The nine most liberal states have 107 House members, and three states have fewer than four members.

The conservative states are also more solidly conservative. There are only four states where Clinton won more than 5% above his national average, but 12 states where he won less 5% below his national average. No Democratic presidential candidate has won one of the 8 most conservative states since 1964. The only Democratic victory since 1976 in the 16 most conservative states was Montana in 1992 -- when Clinton "won" with 38%.


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