In this wild and woolly election season, the White residence is by no way the only battleground. Not only are Democrats hope to regain regulate of the Senate, but some also have their sights set on the home of Representatives, even though republicans there host their largest bulk (247-186, v two vacancies) in practically 90 years. Many GOP leaders additionally are pertained to that troubles at the top of your ticket could lead to far-reaching down-ballot losses, and some have actually expressed wishes that voters will be ready to separation their tickets if the presidential gyeongju doesn’t go well.

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However, districts’ willingness to separation their ticket – pick one party’s presidential nominee and the various other party’s candidate because that representative – has been ~ above a steep decline for an ext than 2 decades. In 2012, only 26 residence districts the end of 435 (6%) split their votes, follow to our analysis of district-level choice results. Of these, 17 voted come re-elect chairman Obama but sent a GOP representative to Capitol Hill; nine opted because that Mitt Romney and additionally a autonomous representative. (On an individual voter level, a Pew research Center evaluation in 2014 estimated that about eight-in-ten most likely voters in areas with multiple major contests would certainly vote a straight-party ticket that fall. Split-ticket voting also has declined at the state level.) 

Split-ticket districts supplied to be much an ext common. In Richard Nixon’s 1972 landslide re-election, because that example, 190 districts the voted for Nixon additionally elected autonomous representatives; just three, all in Massachusetts, went for both George McGovern and also a GOP representative. As newly as 1988, at least 145 the the 435 residence districts went one way for president and also the other for representative (Mississippi data to be unavailable for the year).

This trend has not gone unnoticed amongst political observers, and they’ve said several possible explanations: boosted political polarization, self-sorting of the population, and the advantages of incumbency. However two not unrelated attributes of split-ticket districts indigenous the days once they were an ext common walk a long way toward explaining why castle aren’t anymore.

First, split-ticket districts were overwhelmingly Republican because that the presidency but autonomous when it pertained to the House (a merged 92.6% of every split-ticket districts in the five election cycles in between 1972 and 1988). And also second, tickets in southerly districts were far an ext likely come be break-up than those in any other region: Of all districts that separation their presidential and also House votes between 1972 and 1988, 41.2% were from southern states even though the south accounted for just 31.5% of all house seats. This to be well above the share in any of the various other three Census-defined regions. In 1972, two-thirds of all southern districts split their presidential and House votes; as newly as 1988 an ext than half still did.

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This to be a vestige the the “Solid South,” the decades in which most Southern states were overcame by conservative Democrats. That led, amongst other things, to long-serving Southern democratic senators and also representatives that faced tiny real the opposite at election time. Democratic dominance was currently waning through the 1970s, at the very least at the presidential level, yet took much longer to fade in Congress and also in state government. By 2012, voter in only eight southerly districts split their presidential and House votes – just 5% that the country’s separation districts that year.