2012 represented the first time since 1960 that the winner of the election did not win the popular vote in a majority of congressional districts. As President Obama was reelected, the reduction of his overall percentage of the vote from 53.7 in 2008 to 52.0 in 2012 also resulted in a majority of districts voting for Romney. Obama, the Democrat, ‘won’ 209 districts while the Republican, former Governor Romney, ‘won’ 226.
Before the election, the results of the 2008 elections were reaggregated for the new districts. While these estimates are just that, they provide a benchmark for comparison of the 2012 election with the 2008 election. Based upon the reaggregated results of the 2008 elections, the number of new districts won by President Obama was 237 and the number won by Senator John McCain was 198. With President Obama winning 209 districts in 2012, this is a net loss of 28 districts.
The number of ‘turnover’ or ‘split’ districts has hit a low point compared to recent elections at 26: 17 Republicans in the House are in districts carried by Obama and 9 Democrats are in districts carried by Romney. Of course, there were two other factors at play in how many congressional districts were carried, or ‘won’, by each nominee: a) the capture of the U.S. House by the Republicans in the 2010 elections; and b) the redistricting cycle following the 2010 census.
Read the full analysis by POLIDATA's Clark Bensen here.