Republicans Have Won 6 Million More Votes than Democrats in House Races, But Gained Relatively Few Seats

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Colleen McGrath/Public Opinion via AP

Republicans have won nearly six million more votes nationwide in races for the House of Representatives, but have flipped relatively few seats, suggesting talk of a “red wave” may have anticipated the overall mood of the country but not the final result of the election.

According to the Cook Political Report, as of Thursday morning, November 10, Republicans have won 50,113,534 votes, or 52.3% of the vote, compared to 44,251,768, or 46.2% of the vote. Republicans lead by 6.1%, which is better than their average in “generic congressional ballot” polls, in which the party led by 2.5% in the final RealClearPolitics average before the election. But Republicans have only managed to flip nine seats thus far — likely enough to control the House, but far short of a “wave” result many anticipated.

The mismatch between overall votes cast for Republicans and the actual result reflects the polarized nature of congressional maps. It also reflects the fact that Republican losses against many Democratic incumbents were very narrow. However, it could also suggest that Democrats ran a more effective campaign, concentrating resources where they were needed to defend their vulnerable positions.

In comparison, during the Tea Party “wave” election of 2010, in which Republicans won 63 seats, Republicans won 44,593,666 votes out of 86,784,957 cast, or 51.3%. Democrats won 38,854,459 votes, or 44.8%, meaning that the Republican margin of victory was 6.5%, similar to the margin thus far in 2022. However, the Republicans failed to win the Senate in that race, losing several key races.

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