March 29, 2017

Record Amount of House Incumbents Lose

Among the past 20 election cycles, including both midterm and general elections back to 1970, the party not holding the presidency averages a gain of 27 seats in the House of Representatives. More specifically, the average number of losing incumbents, including both parties, is only 17.3 in the House of Representatives, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics. This fact illustrates how incumbents are generally safer when they seek re-election. In 2010, however, being an incumbent in the House of Representatives wasn’t as quite as safe.

Current election results show that 53 Democratic House incumbents lost in the election on Tuesday, while 2 Republican House incumbents lost – bringing the total number of ousted House incumbents in 2010 to 58 (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans lost in the primaries). This result is not only far above the average turnover of 17.3, it raises the average number of losing House incumbents to 19.2. Among the past 20 elections, the year with the greatest amount of losing House incumbents is 1974, when 40 House incumbents lost; of which 36 were Republicans. Though, with the addition of the 2010 election data to the past 20 election cycles, 2010 is the new record holder for the greatest amount of ousted House incumbents. Also, Democrats now hold the record for the most incumbent losers in the House with a total of 53 ousted incumbents – 17 more than the previous record holder. The chart below lists the 58 House incumbent losers of 2010.


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  1. […] they belong in prison. And yet, in 2010, a historical election year, 86.7% of the incumbents were re-elected by ‘We the People’. And this was a record year, typically 95% or so win re-election. […]

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