by Jonathan Singer, Mon Mar 09, 2009 at 11:38:57 AM EDT
In 2004, George W. Bush carried a total of 41 congressional districts represented by Democrats while John Kerry won in just 18 districts represented by Republicans. In 2008 the numbers looked quite a bit different.
Some of the most competitive congressional races of 2010 will be in districts where voters split their ballots between Republicans for the House of Representatives and Democrat Barack Obama for the White House.
CQ Politics' analysis of presidential election returns in all 435 congressional districts shows there are 34 that split that way -- perhaps a testament to the durability of partisan voting habits in House races or maybe a further decline in the "coattails" effect.
Those split districts complement the 49 that favored Republican John McCain for president while helping the Democrats expand their congressional majority.
As you can see from this crunching of numbers, which comes some time after the initial tally by Swing State Project, John McCain carried just a few more "blue" districts than Bush did in 2004, which was to be expected given that there are about 25 percent more Democrats in the House than there were in 2004. The big change, however, came in the form of Barack Obama's performance among "red" districts, nearly doubling Kerry's showing even as House Republicans shed a significant portion of their membership.
At this juncture, these numbers have yet to affect the views of the Republican Congressmen representing these districts, arch conservatives who still believe it better to toe the party line rather than actually represent their constituents -- a determination that could very well come back to bite them in the future (the half of California Republicans representing districts carried by President Obama should be especially concerned, both because of the tilt of their districts and because of the backlash against Republicans in the state as a result of the GOP-manufactured budgetary impasses). But as we inch closer to the point at which these Republican Congressmen from Obama-districts must face the voters, I wouldn't be too surprised to finally start seeing some begin to peel away on issues, breaking up the near unanimous opposition to the President we have thus far seen from the House GOP.