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House Overview|By David Wasserman, December 5, 2014

Republicans absolutely cleaned up on Election Day a month ago. But, the swing from one election to the next is never uniform. Some Republicans did even better than could have been anticipated and "beat the point spread." And, a few Democrats successfully swam against a powerful GOP tide. All of which begs the question, isn't there a way to quantify the most and least impressive campaigns of 2014?

There's no perfect way to measure it, but here's our best crack at it: first, take the presidential performance in each district (PVI) to gauge what a "generic" Democrat or Republican should expect in each congressional district. Then, measure each House candidate's actual share of the two-party vote to determine whether a candidate over or under-performed what the "generic" candidate of his or her party should receive.

According to this metric, the most impressive performances of Democratic incumbents were by Reps. Patrick Murphy (FL-18) and Collin Peterson (MN-07), while the most impressive campaigns by non-incumbent Democrats were those of Brad Ashford (NE-02) and Gwen Graham (FL-02), all of whom won despite the GOP leans of their districts and the horrible national political environment for Democrats.

Meanwhile, the most personally popular Republican incumbents in the country just might be Reps. Pete King (NY-02), Adam Kinzinger (IL-18), Chris Gibson (NY-19), Mark Amodei (NV-02), and Scott Perry (PA-04), all of whom exceeded what a "generic" Republican should receive in their districts by more than 15 points. Of these five, only Gibson faced well-funded opposition, a fact that makes his blowout victory all the more impressive.

Among non-incumbent Republicans, John Katko (NY-24), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), and Bob Dold (IL-10) all exceeded what a "generic" Republican should get in their Democratic-leaning districts by more than nine points. Katko's 15 point over-performance in particular may be enough to make top-tier Syracuse Democrats think twice about challenging him in 2016, even though the district gave President Obama 57 percent in 2012.

But then, there are also the "under-achievers," the dubiously distinguished few who can thank the partisan makeup of their district for their victories because they might not have made it through on personal popularity alone. On the Republican side, Mia Love (UT-04) nearly lost a solidly GOP seat, under-performing what the "generic" Republican in her district should receive by 14 points. On the Democratic side, Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY-25) nearly lost a strong Democratic seat.

To be fair, not all "under-achievers" have themselves to blame - many faced uniquely strong opponents. For example, Democrat Mark Takai (HI-01) found himself in a close race because he was up against uniquely well-known and well-liked Republican Charles Djou. And understandably, Republican Bruce Westerman (AR-04) under-performed by nine points against folksy and well-funded Clinton friend James Lee Witt.

Without further ado:

Top Democratic Over-Performers

RankDistrictDemocratic WinnerCook PVIActual VoteOver-Performance vs. PVI
1FL-18Patrick MurphyR+359.78%12.90%
2MN-07Collin PetersonR+654.28%10.43%
3KY-03John YarmuthD+464.09%10.25%
4HI-02Tulsi GabbardD+2180.85%9.96%
5IL-03Dan LipinskiD+564.56%9.45%
6OR-04Peter DeFazioD+260.92%9.02%
7TN-05Jim CooperD+563.51%8.83%
8CT-02Joe CourtneyD+563.70%8.41%
9MI-05Daniel KildeeD+1068.16%8.31%
10WA-06Derek KilmerD+562.98%7.85%

Top Republican Over-Performers

RankDistrictRepublican WinnerCook PVIActual VoteOver-Performance vs. PVI
1NY-02Peter KingR+169.40%18.54%
2IL-16Adam KinzingerR+470.62%16.38%
3NY-19Chris GibsonD+165.00%15.72%
4NV-02Mark AmodeiR+570.18%15.60%
5PA-04Scott PerryR+974.54%15.57%
6OH-10Mike TurnerR+367.60%14.29%
7CA-39Ed RoyceR+568.54%14.03%
8MI-10Candice MillerR+670.05%13.79%
9OR-02Greg WaldenR+1073.28%13.53%
10NJ-02Frank LoBiondoD+162.25%13.49%

Top Democratic Non-Incumbent Over-Performers

RankDistrictDemocratic WinnerCook PVIActual VoteOver-Performance vs. PVI
1NE-02Brad AshfordR+451.76%6.23%
2FL-02Gwen GrahamR+650.57%6.14%
3PA-13Brendan BoyleD+1367.12%3.93%
4MA-06Seth MoultonD+457.20%3.52%
5MI-12Debbie DingellD+1567.49%2.84%

Top Republican Non-Incumbent Over-Performers

RankDistrictRepublican WinnerCook PVIActual VoteOver-Performance vs. PVI
1NY-24John KatkoD+559.88%14.73%
2NY-21Elise StefanikEVEN62.19%12.19%
3IL-10Robert DoldD+851.30%9.46%
4CA-45Mimi WaltersR+765.12%8.17%
5CO-04Ken BuckR+1168.88%7.46%
6IA-01Rod BlumD+551.15%6.36%
7IL-12Mike BostEVEN55.60%5.98%
8VA-10Barbara ComstockR+258.33%5.92%
9IA-03David YoungEVEN55.54%5.36%
10NV-04Cresent HardyD+451.47%5.22%

Top Democratic Under-Achievers

RankDistrictDemocratic WinnerCook PVIActual VoteUnder-Performance vs. PVI
1HI-01Mark TakaiD+1851.93%-16.20%
2NY-25Louise M. SlaughterD+750.23%-6.66%
3IN-07Andre CarsonD+1356.72%-5.91%
4CA-16Jim CostaD+750.73%-5.80%
5FL-05Corrine BrownD+2165.47%-5.36%
6MO-05Emanuel CleaverD+953.43%-5.21%
7RI-01David CicillineD+1559.66%-4.98%
8CA-43Maxine WatersD+2670.96%-4.78%
9IL-11Bill FosterD+853.46%-4.55%
10IL-01Bobby RushD+2873.09%-4.43%

Top Republican Under-Achievers

RankDistrictRepublican WinnerCook PVIActual VoteUnder-Performance vs. PVI
1UT-04Mia LoveR+1652.64%-13.60%
2AR-04Bruce WestermanR+1555.80%-9.48%
3WV-02Alex MooneyR+1151.73%-9.46%
4WV-03Evan JenkinsR+1455.31%-9.18%
5UT-01Rob BishopR+2769.81%-7.33%
6AK-ALDon YoungR+1255.44%-6.58%
7ID-02Mike SimpsonR+1761.36%-5.46%
8TN-04Scott DesJarlaisR+1862.28%-5.46%
9KS-01Tim HuelskampR+2367.52%-5.37%
10AR-02French HillR+854.32%-3.95%