PoliBlog notes a Reuters report: “handicappers expect a mere 33 [House districts] to be competitive” in this year’s midterm elections.
At 7.6%, this is a ridiculously low share.
I hope that some of the readers of the blog who follow Canadian, UK, or other countries’ elections can enlighten us as to what is a typical share of seats that are competitive in elections in other single-seat-district systems.
Single-seat districts, especially with plurality rule, tend to have lots of ‘safe’ seats. It is inherent in the system, because party electorates always include some geographic strongholds. But there an be little doubt that the US House is on the low side (and that it has gotten worse over time). Of course, gerrymandering is a factor, but so are the increasing homogeneity of the two major parties’ electorates, and the greater use in the USA than in other plurality jurisdictions of pork barrel and other practices that shift voter attention away from party and towards incumbents’ district service.
Two responses already within the first twelve hours! Thanks Lewis and Alan!